Los Angeles

An auspicious night of revelry and musical joy!

Amanda Palmer frees Edward Ka-spel from the bonds of his “artist” wrist band.

Sometimes, even though it seems like the odds are stacked against you, problems invariably sort themselves. At least, this is what I was telling myself to keep calm after discovering that a number of unforeseen circumstances were possibly going to have ended my night before it could begin. Luckily, as I waited in the increasingly cold and increasingly dark evening, this little mantra proved to be true, and all the tribulation was made worthwhile by an absolutely stunning performance that followed.

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The music explosion concludes!

Anticipation is a tricky thing. Much like hype, it can make or break whatever it surrounds. I don’t think I can even count the number of times my anticipation of something has utterly ruined it. I had built it up so much in my head that when it finally came down to it, it was mediocre at best compared to my anticipation. However, the third and final day of DRILL LA managed not only to surpass my anticipation, but crush it outright.

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Three days of music explodes in Echo Park!

Wire’s DRILL Los Angeles Festival kicked off with a three band night at The Echo (the smaller of the two venues living in the same building) with performances by Alina Bea, Immersion, and Bob Mould. As I’ve said before, I’m somewhat of a fan of The Echo (and its basement counterpart, Echoplex). The sound is almost always on point. The only downside of the upstairs is the lighting and small size of the stage leave a bit to be desired. It’s no surprise that most of the punk rock and smaller indie acts play upstairs while the downstairs houses larger bands and equally larger stage. That said, the intimacy provided by The Echo is its strongest point, and for the evening’s performances, that was a must.

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WIRE brings DRILL back to the West Coast for the first time in 4 years!

When I was seventeen I went to “The Warped Tour” in San Francisco. I had never been to a festival and it was definitely a bit mind blowing. The concept of walking from stage to stage strategically placed in a given area, with an enormous lineup of bands, having to pick and choose which bands to see and which bands to miss, was thrilling to say the least. I continued going to bigger and bigger festivals after that (Coachella, Sasquatch, Treasure Island) until about 2010 when I ultimately began to feel jaded by them and I haven’t been to a single festival since. So here we are in 2017, I am now in my 30s and I’m going to another festival. This one, however, promises to be a whole different experience entirely. Since around 2013, English post-rockers WIRE have been curating a festival called DRILL. The catch with DRILL is that it doesn’t rely on gigantic locations and 100s of bands but, instead, focuses on smaller venues and puts more energy into bringing diverse musical styles and bands, both new and old, together. While, thematically, many of the bands are linked by the post-punk, darkwave, dream pop genre, it is safe to say from past DRILL lineups that it promises to be an exciting and unique experience.

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Russell and Ryan, a match made in dark comedy heaven.

Mr. Nice Gosling and Mr. Nice Crowe

Mr. Nice Gosling and Mr. Nice Crowe

The Nice Guys isn’t the first time that director Shane Black has dabbled in the Los Angeles neo-noir comedy genre, and not the first time his LA neo-noir comedy has featured the pairing of an odd couple solving a crime. 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a highly under-appreciated noir caper with hysterical performances from Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. Truth be told, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a smarter, funnier, and all around better movie than The Nice Guys, but the latter is very entertaining and deserves a lot of credit. Despite a quasi-tonal mess that it actually ends up embracing, the film’s laid back trivial attitude and hilarious performances from its two leads make The Nice Guys a satisfying early summer romp.

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John Doe of X and Ray Manzarek of The Doors

John Doe of X and Ray Manzarek of The Doors

As 2010 comes to a glorious end, it’s once again that time of year for annual traditions. While the New Years’ Eve shows will be gigantic and exciting, and the late November / early December weeks are filled with last-minute surprise gigs, it’s good to have a few things that can always be counted on to keep up that holiday spirit. Of course, this is not to say that said traditions can’t be spiced up with a few new flavors added to the recipe, and the Los Angeles punk quartet known as X returned to Slim’s this year to prove it.

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts, 12/23/10-12/29/10

December 23, 2010

Hey folks… Sorry, but this is a short list this week. Even musicians and club owners need to take a holiday! But, if you really can’t deal with it anymore, here are a few outings you can make:

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Show Review: Elbow at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, 7/22/09

July 24, 2009

Last night, I finally visited The Wiltern in Los Angeles to see my current favorite band, Elbow. [Editor’s note: expect lots of fanboy gushing.] They’re in the U.S. supporting Coldplay, and they added three headline dates. Since none of their shows–the support or headline ones–are coming up to the Bay Area, I decided that I […]

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