Author Archives: Rock Is A Girl's Best Friend

Writer, traveler, diver, explorer, music lover.

The Stone Foxes at The Viper Room

November 16, 2011
Los Angeles, CA

The Stone Foxes

The Stone Foxes

I like it when, upon finishing a conversation with a band, I realize I can’t actually write a thing they said.  Not that they said anything “taboo” — The Stone Foxes talk about what bands should talk about: music, playing shows, catching up on sleep in vans. . .  and drinking.

They’re not trying to sell you their latest “viral video” or a million dollar iPhone App that looks like it’s important, but means nothing.  They’re not trying to sell you anything.  The Stone Foxes are more interested in ordering pizza and reminiscing about last night’s sold-out show at The Independent.

I initially experienced The Stone Foxes this summer, at Outside Lands music festival.  As we entered the festival grounds that day, the energy radiating from the stage they were playing sucked us in.  We dropped plans to meet up with friends and stayed to watch The Stone Foxes instead.

Aaron Mort

Aaron Mort

Their show at The Viper Room tonight encapsulated everything I love about them.  They’ve obviously watched bands they admire perform.  They understand what it takes to move a crowd and they consider that.  They don’t come across as “expecting” anything.  They work for it.

Between songs The Stone Foxes may veer into lighthearted banter.  They’ll have what, on the surface, appear to be harmless, let-your-mind-relax-you’re-here-to-have-fun conversations.  Then, just when you fall for it, when you’re relaxed and laughing along – they’ll look up at you and start rocking. For real.

They’re not trying to “be” anything.  They’re a band, playing music, enjoying their time on stage.  They’re not trying to look too “pretty.”  I don’t get the sense they’re trying to prove anything.  It’s simply about the music. It’s refreshing.  It makes me trust them. The audience is authentic too.   “Are those real lighters??? You’re using real lighters! Those aren’t lighter Apps. . . That’s old school,” The Stone Foxes observed of their fans, with appreciation.

The Stone Foxes

The Stone Foxes

They’re “in it” for the right reasons – they love playing music.  They feel the weight of the long drive, but they’re not complaining.  Instead, they’re talking about being on stage, playing a great show, pushing through to a heightened level of energy, inspired by the crowd on the other side of the curtain.

Like their stage banter, The Stone Foxes’ music is serious, yet whimsical.  They’re seriously playing, but they do it so you can too.  It’s bluesy rock music you can bounce around to.  It’s rock and it’s fun.  It makes you feel like you can have it all.

It’s endearing watching Shannon Koehler play drums, with a big smile. . .  until you realize that, like a child, that smile is indicative of something noisy heading your way.  That epiphany hits you at the precise moment Koehler kicks it up ten notches.  You return the smile as if to say, “you fucker. . .  that was good.”

They seem happy.  Lately, so many musicians appear to be so pissed off.  Yeah, it’s hard.  And, you may never make a cent doing it.  People “less-talented” than you are climbing faster.  But do you love playing music or not? The Stone Foxes, setting out to prove nothing, made me believe that they love music, that they appreciate having the opportunity to be on stage, playing for us, and that they’re having fun doing it.

By the way, check out The Stone Foxes’ website, http://thestonefoxes.com. It does everything I want a band’s website to do. I can find everything I’m looking for, without having to search.  That’s what I like about their shows as well.

Win Tickets to See The Stone Foxes at The Viper Room

November 12, 2011

The Stone Foxes

The Stone Foxes (photo by Rochelle Mort)

I used to discover a lot of great bands at music festivals.  Lately it seems they’re booking more mainstream, established bands, which is understandable because it helps deliver ticket sales.  Yet, I’ve really missed the days of discovering my new favorite bands at music festivals. Thankfully, one band changed that, with their appearance at Outside Lands Festival this year: The Stone Foxes.

We entered the festival on the afternoon of the second day, walking quickly to meet up with some friends.  The Stone Foxes stopped us in our tracks with their great songs, energetic and authentic performance.  We texted our friends the new meeting location: “The Stone Foxes at the Sutro stage.”  We’ve been talking about that show since August.

One lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend reader will win a pair of tickets to see The Stone Foxes at The Viper Room in Los Angeles on November 16, 2011. Here’s what you need to know to enter:

  • The contest begins now and ends at 11:59pm EST November 15, 2011
  • TO ENTER: Visit Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend on Facebook
  • You will see there are several ways you can enter and you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do. You can follow us, tweet about us, like us on Facebook, and more. ENTER NOW
  • Winner (1) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on the morning of November 16, 2011. Winner will have 5 hours to respond before a new winner is selected
  • Your tickets will be available for pick up at Will Call at The Viper Room on the evening of the show. Please bring photo ID.
  • You must be 21+ to attend this event
  • Transportation and accommodations not included

About The Stone Foxes:
Here’s an excerpt from their official bio: It’s not just great song writing, warm guitars, a nut-tight rhythm section, and the occasional blues harp riffs that make The Stone Foxes’ second album, Bears and Bulls, so good; the Bay Area band  consisting of brothers Shannon and Spence Koehler and  Aaron Mort have captured something else that makes the whole thing huge, and very, very cool.

 There’s a genuineness here that’s rare and refreshing, and it’s something that can’t be achieved simply by grabbing a couple of vintage axes and plugging into a stack of tube amps. Because while The Stone Foxes may be influenced by the greats of the late 60s and early 70s like The Band, Bob Dylan, and Led Zeppelin, they never sound like they’re trying to be anything but exactly who they are.  What makes the  The Stone Foxes so unique is their approach to making music.

 “We’ll never be a traditional studio band,” says Aaron. That makes perfect sense to anyone that’s been to one of their shows: it’s clear the Foxes care far more about performing their music for living, breathing human beings than an empty room filled with microphones.

The band has been on the road winning over audiences all over the west coast including a opening for the  Black Keys in Phoenix, and will continue on tour doing club and festival dates, including Wakarusa, Outside Lands, Deluna Fest, Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Series and The New Orleans Voodoo Experience. The band is writing and recording to support the upcoming summer dates on which fellow Bay Area musician, Elliot Peltzman is lending a hand on keys for the recording and tour.

The Stone Foxes’ new video for their song, “Psycho”, is comprised of fan-submitted footage, cut and edited by the band:

http://www.thestonefoxes.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thestonefoxes
https://twitter.com/#!/thestonefoxes

About The Viper Room:

The Viper Room

I have many fond memories of shows at The Viper Room, as well as some foggy ones (thanks to their strong drinks).

The Viper Room is a real rock venue. It’s located on The Sunset Strip, you can still chew gum there, it’s dark, the floor is sometimes sticky (quit spilling your drinks, people), the music is loud, and I’m certain I already mentioned the drinks are strong.

When you want to see a rock show in LA, The Viper Room is your venue.

What Now?

Well, if you haven’t already done so, ENTER TO WIN TICKETS NOW.

For more info about this show or The Viper Room click here.

If you have questions or comments, please leave them for me below.

Thank you!

Colette

The Dillinger Escape Plan: Get Ready To Lose Your Shit

November 1, 2011
The Wiltern, Los Angeles

Disclaimer: This Means Nothing to The Dillinger Escape Plan

The first time I saw The Dillinger Escape Plan play live was during Nine Inch Nails‘ set at Bonnaroo, June 2009.  If you’re going to share the stage with Nine Inch Nails, you need to know how to make people lose their shit.  That doesn’t mean jumping around maniacally and screaming, merely to put on a show.  While they do tear around the stage violently, The Dillinger Escape Plan knows that in order to make people “lose their shit,” you need to genuinely connect with them.  It doesn’t matter how much the band moves if they can’t move the crowd.

The next time I saw The Dillinger Escape Plan was during Nine Inch Nails’ final show, September 10, 2009, at The Wiltern.  Here’s the brilliance of The Dillinger Escape Plan: I remember them from those two shows and made it a priority to see them again.  I hadn’t experienced the band previously, I had no vested interest in them, I wasn’t a “fan”.  They more than held their own on stage with NIN.  The Dillinger Escape Plan added something to those shows.  Nine Inch Nails is arguably one of the best live bands ever.  It takes a lot to be additive to a Nine Inch Nails show, especially the final Nine Inch Nails shows.

2 years and hundreds of live show experiences later, I found myself at The Wiltern, once again seeing The Dillinger Escape Plan. This time, it was their set; they were playing their songs.  They didn’t have to win over potentially skeptical NIN fans.  They were playing to their fans and those of Mastodon, the band they were opening for.

The Dillinger Escape Plan gives you more than your money’s worth. You feel rewarded for buying the ticket, paying the exorbitant 60% service fees per ticket, standing in line, paying $5 for a 50-cent bottle of water.  Even if you don’t like their music, what The Dillinger Escape Plan does from start to finish is make people lose their shit.  There’s no ramp up to the show.  They come out full force and do not stop until they leave the stage.  Their entire set is performed at the energetic level of an encore.  At the end of the show, feeling like the band “paid” me, I bought a sweatshirt. That’s what you want – as an artist and a fan. The money, sure, but getting people to give a shit and therefore getting them to DO something – that’s the real pay off.

The Dillinger Escape Plan is raw.  Real. Authentic. In the moment. Rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking on the edge of cliffs – all things I’ve done – force you to be present.  When you’re truly experiencing life on the edge, anything other than what’s right in front of you disappears.  You are fully immersed in what’s happening, to the point where “beginning” and “end” dissipate. The only  remaining setting is “ON!”  That’s how The Dillinger Escape Plan plays.

Access to the pit at The Wiltern is generally GA, first-come, first-serve.  You exchange your ticket for a wristband and you’re in.  Once the pit hits capacity, you can stand on any one of several tiered levels (assuming you have a floor ticket).  The first tier crowd, above the pit, was going insane.  “How come you guys aren’t down here?” Greg Puciato asked them.  “Because of the tickets you have?? That’s ok, I’ll come to you.”

The Dillinger Escape Plan knows how to express their appreciation to their fans. Yes, it includes jumping over walls, walking on heads, and screaming in the faces of fans, but that’s what they came for.  And when the fans couldn’t get close enough, the band came to them.  “I would stay out there the whole time – I just can’t do it,” Puciato added as he jumped off the hands and shoulders of fans, over the wheelchair access ramp and wall dividing the pit, returning to the stage.  When you see the videos below, you’ll understand why it’s not sustainable to play the entire show, balancing on a ledge, crowd surfing, and head walking.

That said, if they weren’t climbing in  the crowd, they were scaling the amps or somehow levitating above it all.  As ticket sales across the board continue to decline, it’s bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan who will endure.  They know how to connect with their fans. They know how to make people lose their shit.

Win An Autographed Rise Against “Endgame” Promo CD

Rise Against

Two lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend readers will win an Endgame promo CD, autographed by Rise Against!

Here’s what you need to know to enter:

  • The contest begins now and ends at 11:59pm EST November 7, 2011
  • TO ENTER: Visit Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend on Facebook
  • You will see there are several ways you can enter and you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do. You can follow us, tweet about us, like us on Facebook, and more. ENTER NOW
  • You can get additional entries by Tweeting about the giveaway each day. Be sure to Tweet from within the giveaway form so that your entries are counted!
  • Winners (2) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on the morning of November 8, 2011. Winners will each have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is selected
  • Your autographed Rise Against CD will be shipped to you directly from Universal Music

About Rise Against:

Rise Against End Game

Rise Against: End Game

If you read the band’s bio, you will find that Tim McIlrath, bassist Joe Principe, drummer Brandon Barnes and guitarist Zach Blair infuse much care into the themes and messages in their music.

“It’s about a dangerous time in civilization, the end of life,” says vocalist/guitarist Tim McIlrath about Endgame, the band’s sixt full-length studio album. “What if the life that we’re living right now is this unsustainable bubble that cannot go on and perhaps does not deserve to go on? What if the world we created is a place that is so unnatural and ugly that it is a world that needs to come to an end, so that we could have a world that is better for everybody? It sounds very utopian, but it’s not about a perfect place, but maybe some of these things we’re doing, they need to come to an end.”

Rise Against are currently on tour in the UK, heading back to the US in early December.   The band has also scheduled some stops at local record stores so they can meet more fans:

Houston, TX
Saturday, December 3rd @ 5pm
Cactus Records
2110 Portsmouth
Houston, TX

Las Vegas, NV
Thursday, December 8th @ 5pm
Zia Records
4225 S. Eastern Ave
Las Vegas, NV

What Now?

Well, if you haven’t already done so, ENTER TO WIN NOW.

For more info about Rise Against click here.
http://itunes.com/riseagainst
http://www.facebook.com/riseagainst
http://twitter.com/riseagainst

If you have questions or comments, please leave them for me below.

Thank you!

Colette

Fiona Apple at Largo

October 28, 2011
Los Angeles, CA

Largo

“I didn’t want it to end. I could have watched her for another 5 hours”

“It’s like being a fly on the wall”

“I’ve been to thousands of concerts in my lifetime and that was definitely among my Top 10”

“I’m going to need therapy to overcome this! I don’t know if I can ever feel this good again!”

The sounds of people expressing their appreciation as they filed out of the beautiful venue that is Largo echoed the voices in my head. Three of the top 5 shows I’ve seen this year have been Fiona Apple playing at Largo, on three different occasions.

As I experienced Fiona’s brilliant performance again tonight, I began to wonder: “Maybe those old-school record label execs are smarter than we’re giving them credit for – maybe they’re happy when Fiona Apple keeps a low profile, so that she doesn’t raise the bar beyond their reach.”  That would be an intelligent strategy because Fiona Apple truly does just that.

Not only is her voice impeccable, her presence engaging, and her performance magnificent, she also seems to have a visible, direct connection to the universe.  Apple is tuned-in to the environment, the present moment, the surrounding sounds and feelings. Throughout the show, Fiona seemed to be precisely responding to silent prayers of audience requests, having telepathic conversations with the musicians on stage, answering unspoken questions, and connecting with everyone individually, on a unique and profound level.  Calling it a “performance” does a great disservice as well because that insinuates it’s “put on.”   As it happens, Fiona Apple doesn’t “put on” a performance. She is the song.  They’re inseparable beings.

There’s something about Fiona Apple’s perspective, the way she engages with everyone and everything, that shows you the undeniable connection between all beings.  As the drum she played was carefully carried off-stage, Fiona gently placed the drumsticks on the head of the drum, smiled, and gave them a little pat.  She didn’t say “thank you,” but that’s what was expressed.  Little distinction is made between sentient and non-sentient beings.  The common denominator is vibration: the language of music.

I know there’s more you want to know – all those questions you’ve had all these years, but this is all you need to know.

I dare you to see Fiona Apple at Largo.  It will spoil you.

Win Tickets to See The Felice Brothers at The Satellite

October 24, 2011

One lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend reader will win a pair of tickets to see The Felice Brothers at The Satellite in Los Angeles on October 28, 2011. Here’s what you need to know to enter:

  • The contest begins now and ends at 11:59pm EST October 27, 2011
  • TO ENTER: Visit Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend on Facebook
  • You will see there are several ways you can enter and you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do. You can follow us, tweet about us, like us on Facebook, and more. ENTER NOW
  • Winner (1) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on the morning of October 28, 2011. Winner will have 5 hours to respond before a new winner is selected
  • Your tickets will be available for pick up at Will Call at The Satellite on the evening of the show. Please bring photo ID.
  • You must be 21+ to attend this event
  • Transportation and accommodations not included

About The Felice Brothers:

The Felice Brothers

“…what separates The Felices’ mud-stomping folk from that of their peers is their no-winking honesty – the sense that these songs and the places and people they’re singing about aren’t literary devices but actual people doing their damnedest to rage against the growing darkness.” – Filter Good Music Guide, 2009

Here’s what’s already known about The Felice Brothers: they are a close-knit band of two brothers and three longtime friends, all in their twenties.  They are self-taught, not one of them played an instrument prior to the band’s inception in 2006 when they started busking in New York City subway stations.  The Felice Brothers have released three full-length albums; their last, Yonder Is The Clock, on Team Love Records (2009).  The majority of their work was recorded in a converted chicken coop in upstate New York near their hometown of Palenville.  Esquire, Filter, The New York Times, NPR, Spin, Time Out New York, Uncut, and Under The Radar have praised them, among others.  They are on virtually constant tour in the States and overseas, and have performed at festivals including Bonnaroo, All Points West, Outside Lands, Langerado, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.  Recognized for their live show, The Felice Brothers will play for their audience come hell or high water; the foremost example is their transcendent performance at the 2008 Newport Folk Festival, where they soldiered on, unplugged, in the rain, and barefoot in the mud after a lightning bolt shorted their stage’s power supply.

Here’s what might come as a surprise about The Felice Brothers: their new and fourth LP Celebration, Florida is an exhilarating amalgamation of frightening horn sections, unexpected 808s, ambient synth lines, schoolyard taunts, booming, primitive drum beats, heavy bass lines, piano, violin, accordion, ringing guitars, rave beats, and sinister acid jazz that captivates and mystifies.  Recorded in the gymnasium and theater of Beacon, NY’s old high school, the band explores a multitude of sounds and instrumentation throughout the expansive album.  It’s inspired, imaginative, heady, menacing, passionate, and rollicking.  Most importantly, it’s as steadfastly authentic as ever, expanding upon the dark, woozy undercurrent of ramshackle barroom blues, vaudevillian atmospherics, and surreal storytelling of their previous albums.  Under The Radar wrote in a review of Yonder Is The Clock that The Felice Brothers find “inspiration and freedom rather than constraints in the traditions of folk music.” Celebration, Florida revels in this inventive, outlaw spirit; it’s the sound of a band that knows its roots and knows where it’s growing.  It’s a group who just might expand the definition of Americana music along the way.

Celebration, Florida casts scenes of dreamy characters and stories interwoven like a block of primetime TV.  Among the tales: a young woman who sets off to find a secret paradise; a teenager who enters a boxing gym in Catskill, NY; a late night host recounting his rise to fame to his honeybee while traveling in a private jet; shady degenerates who get lost in a mystery concerning a Honda Civic; a young girl who crimps her hair and spies her dead father driving down the road; a Wall Street scandal hits a little too close to home; and even a trip through space to find long forgotten Hollywood parties and hopefully make it back there in time to walk down the red carpet.

The Felice Brothers are: Ian Felice, James Felice, Christmas, Greg Farley, and David Turbeville.
www.thefelicebrothers.com
www.fatpossum.com

About The Satellite:

The Satellite

The Satellite is one of the premiere music venues in Silverlake, located at: 1717 Silverlake Blvd,  Los Angeles, CA 90026

Pros: 2 bars, great view of the stage no matter where you’re standing, friendly staff, strong drinks. Did I mention 2 bars?

Cons: small.  But that’s not a bad thing if you like intimate shows like I do.  I’ve seen everyone from Zwan (Billy Corgan) to Foo Fighters to The Scissor Sisters here.  Well, actually the venue was called Spaceland at the time, but my point is: this place rocks.

What Now?

Well, if you haven’t already done so, ENTER TO WIN TICKETS NOW.

For more info about this show or The Satellite click here.

If you have questions or comments, please leave them for me below.

Thank you!

Colette

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