September 15, 2012
The Joint, Las Vegas
September 15, 2012
The Joint, Las Vegas
Fiona Apple: She’s one of the most gifted, talented, exceptional musicians I’ve been so fortunate to experience. Absolutely extraordinary. Always.
I’ve heard some people say, “Fiona Apple goes crazy on stage!” I wouldn’t call it crazy; I’d call it entranced. Apple is completely overcome by the music when she performs. The reason it may feel “crazy” is that people are not accustomed to experiencing that. In fact, much of the time, society requests we “keep it down,” hold it in, smile when we want to cry.
Seeing Fiona Apple live broadens my perspective each time. Not only is every show different, every moment is different. Her shows are real and alive, unpredictable by nature, and dependable in quality. They transform, evolve, and shape-shift around you.
There’s a set list, but you can go to every show and you won’t hear Apple do a song the same way twice. It’s the rawness, the realness, the aliveness that fans connect with.
The show envelops you. It’s as if you’ve arrived at a civilized dinner party, but when you raise your hand to knock, you realize the door is wide open. Welcome. There aren’t any elaborate light shows or over-the-top sets. What’s before you during a Fiona Apple show is: music.
Apple has a way of spontaneously moving notes through her vocal range, making them sound so perfect, it’s as if that’s how the song was always intended. I don’t imagine “always” is a concept Apple is too attached to. The songs are sung as they are intended, moment by moment.
Seemingly aware that their voices would likely not match Apple’s, there was only one crowd singalong, fan-initiated: “Happy Birthday”. Apple’s birthday was the night prior to her show at The Greek. The audience’s appreciation for and celebration of Fiona Apple’s life was felt as authentically as the show itself.
It was an abnormally warm summer night, even by LA’s standards. At times Apple would grab a fistful of ice. As she sang, water poured through her hands, along with the songs.
Fiona Apple fans have grown accustomed to waiting long periods of time between album releases and tours. It’s not their preference, but fans “get it”. It’s easy to imagine executives at the record label each time Apple delivers a new album, wearily gazing at one another, shoulders shrugged, as if to say “What are we supposed to do with this?! This doesn’t fit our model.”
That’s precisely why it works. There is nobody like Fiona Apple.
Time for another ticket giveaway at one of my favorite venues, The Greek Theatre!
As always, this summer’s line-up at The Greek has been exceptional. I’m really excited about this next giveaway and am launching it early so that we can run it longer, giving you more opportunities to win!
About Grizzly Bear:
Grizzly Bear will release their first album in three years on September 18 via Warp Records. Recorded over the better part of a year, Shields represents the band’s most charged and concise collection of music to date and follows 2009’s critical and commercial breakthrough, Veckatimest. Preview the track “Sleeping Ute” here: http://bit.ly/KepO2h
Veckatimest debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Billboard Indie chart in 2009, and was one of the year’s most lauded releases. It ranked #1 on the NPR Listener’s Poll and Top 10 on year-end lists in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Pitchfork, SPIN, The Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop Poll, and many more. In March 2012, The Wall Street Journal’s Jim Fusilli declared it “one of the best rock discs of this century so far.”
About Lower Dens:
Based out of Baltimore, MD, Lower Dens is one of many side projects from singer/songwriter Jana Hunter. Hunter is also joined by guitaristWill Adams, bassist Geoff Graham, and drummer Abram Sanders. Together, the freak folk quartet has a sound that is psychedelic and murky, embodying the experimental nature of the Baltimore music scene with songs that are equal parts reverb-drenched folk and swirling ambience. After playing a string of house shows, Lower Dens went into the studio to record their first album with Chris Freeland (of Oxesfame). In 2010, the band released its full-length debut, Twin-Hand Movement, on Devendra Banhart’s Gnomonsong label. In the months that followed the group would refine their sound through touring and experimentation. Sanders stepped down as drummer in 2011, replaced by Nate Nelson. The band was also filled out with additional guitarist/keyboardist Carter Tanton. This expanded version of the band returned in 2012 with sophomore album, Nootropics. (All Music)
About The Greek Theatre:
For “official” information about The Greek Theatre, you can check out their website, but here’s my take: The Greek Theatre is one of my all-time favorite music venues. Start to finish, The Greek Theatre is an EXPERIENCE! You can get there early, picnic, and drink wine. If you don’t mind a walk, you can park on Vermont and enjoy the walk to and from the venue. If you’re reading Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend, chances are you’re not the type to leave the show early, so you can take the easy route and commit to the stacked parking option. The venue is beautiful, outdoors, surrounded by trees. The sound is impeccable. I’ve seen some of my favorite shows at The Greek and I’m very excited to share these opportunities with you.
Well, if you haven’t already done so, ENTER TO WIN TICKETS NOW.
For more info about this show or Greek Theatre, click here.
To buy tickets to this show, click here.
If you have questions or comments, please leave them for me below.
Among the things “they” say is: “Timing is everything.” Like great photographs capture and express unique moments in time, the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit at Annenberg Space For Photography is an experience of time; the constant juxtaposition of the past and the present, in more ways than one.
The exhibit is subtitled “A Photographic History, 1955 To The Present” which could be interpreted as a linear, chronological exploration of rock & roll, photography, or both. What the subtitle may not prepare you for is the impact and onslaught of emotions the exhibit inspires during and after its viewing.
The initial display is exceptionally powerful, illustrating how photographers and artists have expressed their work visually, with increasing constraints on size, as music formats have changed throughout time. Of course that makes sense when you think about it, but as you take in the iconic album covers on the wall, hear the songs playing in your head, and feel the memories that accompany them, something shifts inside. It’s all very real, as if experiencing the album again for the first time.
The exhibit takes you further through time, displaying the album art of 8-tracks, cassettes, and CDs. The graphical representation of albums comes to an abrupt halt just prior to MP3s. Who Shot Rock & Roll does a tremendous job of allowing visitors to experience and feel, at a core level, the crucial role visual art and photography play in music.
Overcome with a level of respect and awe for photographers and artists that may bring chills, visitors then travel further through time, medium, and genre. Who Shot Rock & Roll is curated in such a way that it tells a story about the stories behind the photographs, which tell a story in and of themselves.
The exhibit features prints from iconic photographers, including Amy Arbus, Diane Arbus, Roberta Bayley, Ed Caraeff, Stephanie Chernikowski, Danny Clinch, Ed Colver, Anton Corbijn, Henry Diltz, Jill Furmanovsky, Godlis, Lynn Goldsmith, Jean-Paul Goude, Bob Gruen, Ross Halfin, Dennis Hopper, Richard Kern, David LaChapelle, Michael Lavine, Annie Leibovitz, Laura Levine, Gered Mankowitz, Jim Marshall, Ryan McGinley, Shawn Mortensen, Marcia Resnick, Stephane Sednaoui, Norman Seeff, Mark Seliger, Pennie Smith, Storm Thorgerson, Albert Watson, and Guy Webster.
It answers questions you may not have previously considered. What happens when a band dismisses the photo concept on the day of the shoot? How did photographs of Tina Turner reflect her spirit as she asserted independence in her relationship with Ike? How did the iconic photo of John Lennon in his New York City shirt come to be? How did Edward Colver capture that famous “Flip Shot” of skater Chuck Burke taken during Stiff Little Fingers / Adolescents / DOA show at Perkins Palace? How was that image of Michael Jackson captured? How did that Led Zeppelin album cover come to be?
Who Shot Rock & Roll explores photo shoots along with live show, candid, and composite photography. It lends insight into the unique relationships between photographers and musicians. A wonderful documentary film, including interviews with the photographers and the musicians, can be viewed several times throughout the day. We were fortunate to catch the movie during the early portion of our visit, which added context as we made our way through the remainder of the exhibit.
The Annenberg Space For Photography offers a smart-phone guided audio tour of Who Shot Rock & Roll, with stories narrated by the photographers, further bringing the experiences behind the corresponding photographs to life. For those who don’t have a phone with a QR reader app, The Annenberg has iPod Touch units and headphones that can be borrowed from the front desk.
As we made our way toward the exit, my friend pointed at the growing line outside. “We came at the right time,” she said. The eclectic line of people waiting to get in to Who Shot Rock & Roll was also an exploration of time; a reminder of the timeless impact music and photography have on generation upon generation.
We stopped by the merchandise display before leaving. I began flipping through the striking photographs in Edward Colver‘s book, Blight At The End Of The Funnel. I noticed the books were signed and was overcome by a feeling. . . One by one, I opened the cover of every book and my intuition was confirmed – Colver had written something different in each book.
I purchased the book that included my favorite inscription and left the building. Moments later, I saw Colver lighting a cigarette near the couches outside. As we approached, Colver introduced us to his wife, Karin, and invited us to sit down. We were then treated to an opportunity I might have dreamed of, but hadn’t expected. Colver shared his thoughts about Who Shot Rock & Roll, took us through some of the photographs in his book and told us stories behind capturing each one. We also talked about life, Los Angeles, and of course, music.
Timing is everything.
Who Shot Rock & Roll is one of the more inspiring music events I’ve attended recently. Times have changed. High ticket prices and exorbitant “service fees” sometimes squash the spirit of live music. In many cases, recorded music has lost its visual counterpart. Some argue the concept of the album has died. Song titles have become track numbers. Mixtapes have been replaced by playlists on Spotify. As we become further physically removed from the true art of music, some (including many musicians) feel disheartened. Who Shot Rock & Roll reminds us: those who shot rock & roll are keeping its spirit alive. We can too.
Who Shot Rock & Roll is on display at the Annenberg Space For Photography through October 7, 2012.
2000 Avenue of The Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Wed-Fri: 11am – 6pm
Sat: 11am – 9:00pm
Sun: 11am – 6pm
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
Be sure to check out the “Iris Nights” lecture series, featuring some of the photographers whose work is on display at Who Shot Rock & Roll, as well. The lecture series takes place each Thursday, 6:30-8:00pm.