Doors: 8:00pm DJ Kevin Bronson (Buzz Bands LA): 8:00pm Little Red Lung: 9:00pm Wires In The Walls: 10:00pm Telstar: 11:00pm
The Mint: 6010 WEST PICO BLVD. LOS ANGELES, CA 90035
The Inspiration: I was on a conference call while driving to a show in downtown Los Angeles, during an unseasonably cold December night. The show was taking place at a venue that was new to me, so I enlisted the help of my vehicle’s GPS to navigate. “Turn left onto South Boyle” the GPS instructed. “Left onto Whittier Blvd” the digital voice continued. “Guys – I’ve gotta go!” I interrupted our conference call and hung up abruptly. My GPS routed me directly through Los Angeles’s Skid Row, one of the largest populations of homeless people in the United States. It’s estimated that more than 4,000 people sleep on the streets of LA’s Skid Row every night.
I didn’t hang up the phone out of fear. I’ve walked through the area at night previously. I hung up the phone out of respect. The content of the phone call was business. It was important. Yet, my mind could not handle the juxtaposition of what I was seeing on the streets with the discussions about business ringing in my ears. There was a van in front of me, driving exceptionally slow. I watched people set up their tents. They have a system. People seem to be well aware of their individual role in the community. During my drive, I witnessed how LA’s homeless population works together as a means to survive. The slow-moving van in my path forced me to take it all in. “Look at what’s happening here. . . This happens every night. . . You need to do something,” thoughts raced through my head. By the time I made my way through the area, I had witnessed a small city being built before my eyes.
Skid Row map
“What can I do, beyond what I’m already doing?” I pondered as I continued to make my way toward the venue. I felt so blessed. . . and so responsible. My life is exceptional. Everything and everyone I’m grateful for sparked in my mind, rapid-fire. I couldn’t keep up with my thoughts. “I just turned up the heat in my car, on my way to a show, to have drinks with friends, and enjoy an amazing night of live music. I need to do something. . . ” So I called upon some of the friends who popped into my mind as I was giving thanks for all that I have and the people who contribute so greatly to my life. “What do you think about doing a benefit concert, in support of LA’s homeless?” I asked. One-by-one, and without hesitation, they agreed.
Also among those I gave thanks for that night is YOU. We’ve shared live music experiences, anecdotes, and #overheard humor here, on Twitter, and YouTube. Many of us have met in person and cultivated friendships that extend well beyond a “like” button. I would love to share this evening with you, my community, as we lend much-needed support to LA’s homeless community. Details about the artists, charity, and venue are below. Tickets are available here: http://www.themintla.com/show/detail/56568 Please share with your friends, invite them to join us. Thank you!
Kevin Bronson of Buzz Bands LA: Kevin and I initially met several years ago at a Buffalo Tom show at The Troubadour. At the time, Kevin was an editor/writer at Los Angeles Times. He knew more about the music scene in Los Angeles than most people I had encountered up to that point. We hung out long after the show ended, talking about music and bands including Mercury Rev, The Shins, and Beachwood Sparks. We’ve been friends ever since. Currently, Kevin heads up BUZZBANDS.LA, an independent website focused on music made and played in and around L.A., offering news, reviews, interviews and song downloads. Buzz Bands has become the go-to source for fans seeking what’s new and who’s cool. Kevin also hosts a weekly radio program on KCSN, Sundays 7pm – 8pm (Pacific Time). If you want to know what’s happening in music before it happens, this is your guy. It’s an honor to have Kevin DJ this event.
LA-based quintet Wires in the Walls explores a textured space between Americana, anthemic indie rock, austere post-punk, and pop. Since the band’s formation in 2009, they have played many of LA’s top venues and toured the east and west coasts, with their well-received 2010 EP “Call Signs” receiving local and national college radio play. Wires in the Walls takes a hands-on DIY attitude to their promotion, including the screen printing of all of their own merchandise. The band spent 2011 writing and recording their debut full-length album New Symmetry, released October 25, 2011. Wires in the Walls is: Warren Sroka (vocals/guitar – NYC), Nick Tracz (bass/vocals – upstate NY), Bryan King (drums/horns – Virginia), Dave Irelan (guitar/vocals – Oregon), & Dave Sicher (everything – Illinois).
“We’re really excited to be a part of this show for a such a good cause. Los Angeles as a whole has been super supportive of us and our music throughout our brief life as a band, and so it’s great to be able to give back in some small way to the larger community. Plus the lineup is fantastic, so it’s like a double-whammy of awesomeness.” Bryan King said when asked about Wires In The Walls’ participation in this event.
They are among my favorite people in the world. Chris Unck, Eva Gardner, and Stew Heyduk (“Telstar”) have “official bios” and credits that include P!nk, Feist, Mars Volta, Butch Walker, and Veruca Salt. Why do I love Chris, Eva, and Stew? They are amazing, kind, supportive, brilliant artists, not constrained by convention. They have a way of simultaneously existing in the past, present, and future, like a living time machine. The energy and spirit of their live shows has been the highlight of nights full of highlights. They’re playful, funny, and experts in creating, as well as participating in, the party. Chris and Eva are also talented visual artists and will be displaying some of their work during the event.
I’ve written quite a bit about their music and live shows, some of which lends insight into the people they are, but none of which can substitute for you experiencing Telstar yourself.
It was during a show at The Mint in 1999 or 2000 that I decided I wanted to work “in music”. There were only 8 or 9 of us at the venue. As I watched an unknown musician play in a nearly empty room, I had a strong feeling he would go on to be quite successful. “If I could get paid to do this. . . to experience music, help support it, and tell people about it. . . ” I resigned from my movie studio job the following week. As soon as the musician finished his set, I approached the man who booked the venue at the time. “Who was that? You need to book him here again,” I said. “I would love to keep booking him, but he doesn’t draw (an audience),” the man responded. “What’s his name?” I pressed. “Jack Johnson,” he replied.
Needless to say, I have a long history with The Mint. It’s a wonderful venue, with a great team of people behind it. You can enjoy a clear line of sight to the stage from nearly any point in the venue. The bar is perfectly situated for optimal efficiency. They have great food. I’ve seen artists including Frank Black, Ben Harper, Jackson Browne, Joan Osborne, and Tom Morello play The Mint.
What I love most about The Mint is the people who work there and their ongoing commitment to the community as a whole. There’s a sense of Southern hospitality at The Mint. If you’re there, you’re family. As an organization, The Mint is dedicated to giving back to the community. They’ve hosted numerous fundraisers and are generously opening their doors to us on Thursday, February 23rd as we come together to lend support to the homeless.
PATH (People Assisting The Homeless): During the last six months of 2011, PATH helped 544 people in need move into permanent housing. PATH’s mission is “To break the cycle of homelessness by empowering people with the tools for self-sufficiency.” They do this by helping homeless individuals and families find work, save money, secure housing, and empower their lives. PATH provides numerous essential services to the homeless including counseling, legal advocacy, housing services, employment and outreach services. All proceeds from the door during our event will be donated to PATH. For more info about PATH, you may check out their fact sheet here: http://www.pathpartners.org/factsheet/files/Fact%20Sheet%20-%20PATH.pdf
[Updated: February 17, 2012]
We are pleased to announce an addition to our line up: Little Red Lung. “Why such high praise? Well, perhaps because vocalist/keyboardist Zoe-Ruth Erwin has seemingly been summoned from the collective wombs of Tori Amos, Amanda Palmer, and Florence Welch with as much artistic depth of her own to gain the type of devoted following each of those women have. Yet there’s something a bit more sinister about the musical magic this band conjures up, a seductive witchery of waltzes that would incite even the most devout crossbearer to do the devil dance. They’re brilliant. The band is releasing free tracks up until the release of their new album through Bandcamp. You need to download them all.”
You will see there are several ways you can enterand you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do. You can follow Fitz and The Tantrums on Twitter, tweet about the contest, like us on Facebook, and more. ENTER NOW
Winner (1) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on the morning of January 21, 2012. Winner will have 12 hours to respond before a new winner is selected
Your tickets will be available for pick up at Will Call at The Regency Ballroom on the evening of the show. Photo ID will be required to pick up tickets
This is an all-ages event
Transportation and accommodations not included
About Fitz and The Tantrums:
In just a year or so, soulsters Fitz & the Tantrums went from the living room to the main stage. The recipe for meteoric success? Six killer musicians, five dapper suits, irresistible songs, some serendipity and one vintage organ.
Since their first show at Hollywood’s Hotel Café in December 2008, Fitz and co. have toured with Maroon 5, played to thousands at Colorado’s world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre, shared the stage New Year’s Eve with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and performed on KCRW’s esteemed show, Morning Becomes Eclectic, all this on the strength of their stellar five-song EP, Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1.
For some bands, it takes a lifetime to build this success, but few performers deliver an unrestrained blast of soul-clapping, get-down-on-the-floor, moneymaker shakers like Fitz and the Tantrums. Now post-release of their debut full length, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, which has since earned them a 3 ½ star album review in ROLLING STONE, the troupe is poised to get down in dancehalls across the universe.
It all began when… [cue flashback sounds]
“I got a call from my ex-girlfriend,” Fitz explains, “And she said, ‘My neighbor is moving out in a hurry and has to sell everything. And, he has this organ…”
Fitz, the Svengali frontman of the crew, describes the find like the discovery of a compass, or that treasure map in Goonies, which undoubtedly leads to adventure. Not one to say no, Fitz called some piano movers, cashed in some favors, and seven hours later, the organ went from the curb to his living room. That night, Fitz stationed himself in front of that vintage instrument and wrote a blue-eyed soul anthem, “Breaking the Chains of Love.”
“Sometimes, the Music Gods just give it to you,” Fitz says.
The overflow of inspiration startled Fitz. He’d spent years in L.A.’s music industry, writing music and working in a studio with Beck producer, Mickey Petralia. But at those 88 keys, just seven hours after that organ dropped into his life, Fitz had finally found his voice.
“I’ve always been a singer,” Fitz says, “but with so much music, I felt that I was trying to push a square peg through a round hole. I was being not true to myself, and it never felt right until I wrote that song, and I sang like that. I thought, this feels so real, so natural.”
Fitz shared his vision with long-time friend and saxophonist, James King, who immediately connected with the sound. While the electric guitar drives rock, the saxophone takes center stage in soul, and that’s the way Fitz likes it. “We wanted to find a new vocabulary for the genre, I wanted to make a record without any guitars. Could we make a huge sound with out any guitars?”
A huge sound takes a huge studio–Motown had Studio A in Detroit, Philadelphia International had Sigma Studios, Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound was created in Hollywood’s legendary Gold Star Studios– but when it came time to capture the feeling and the soul of soul, Fitz knew of the perfect studio: his home.
There in the living room, he recorded Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1, a burst of effervescent swingers and floor-stompers, infused with the energy of long forgotten songs. The infectious, rolling rhythms of “Breaking the Chains of Love,” immediately turns your head and actually get cemented in your brain, like a good pop song should.
The sound is familiar, but distinct. That’s what grabbed the attention of Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. Levine was getting a tattoo in New York when the tattoo artist told him he had to hear this new band he had discovered. After that one encounter, Levine personally invited Fitz and the Tantrums to join their tour.
Like the EP, Fitz recorded the full-length debut back at home, to bottle the lightning that struck in those first jam sessions. He now delves into more acerbic lyrical territory, going on the offensive against gold diggers on the exceptionally funky “MoneyGrabber,” and even gets political on the piano-banging, handclap-driven call to action, “Dear Mr. President.” “L.O.V.” is a jaunt through pop music history embarking with a groovy organ intro, meandering through juicy big band breakdowns and Fitz’s svelte croons, then carrying us away with flute outro. It’s a funk-filled plea to give love a chance. These powerful songs take the band’s energy up a notch, but like their energized performances, they never loose control.
Those blistering performances are now well-chronicled for adequate ubiquity, Last Call With Carson Daly nailing the money shot for “MoneyGrabber” at the band’s sold out show in November at LA’s El Rey Theatre featuring a sea of a thousand pogoing fans and a handful of F.A.T.T. gems rocked along with blue-eyed soul vet, Daryl Hall on the band’s spot on Live From Daryl’s House. Lest we forget, an omnipresent T-Mobile HTC ad that actually namechecks the band that, for the past several months, is impossible not to see if you’re watching even an hour’s worth of television. Oh, and there are the hot spots on Criminal Minds, Desperate Housewives and a great many more, not to mention a ton of success at radio for the aforementioned runaway “MoneyGrabber,” all with the promise of more to come.
In their sound and on the stage, Fitz and the Tantrums are nothing but professionals, and never less than classy. Enter the Tantrums, Fitz’s airtight ensemble keeping it real like it’s 1969. Funky drummer John Wicks is a Motown B-side aficionado and prolific session player, Jeremy Ruzumna manned the keyboards and was musical director for Macy Gray. James King backed De La Soul and bassist Joseph Karnes is a well sought after session player. Then there’s Noelle Scaggs, the powerful voice behind Fitz’s croons. Make no mistake, Scaggs is not just there for “doo-wops” and handclaps. She shimmies and flirts, she stokes the crowd and simmers them down, and she has no qualms about keeping Fitz in check. “She is not just a backup singer,” Fitz says, “We have repartee. Onstage, we’re Ike and Tina.”
There, on the stage, Fitz and the Tantrums are not just a band, they’re an explosion. Scaggs high steps it to the tight-as-hell rhythm section, while Fitz, cooler than cobalt, croons like the aforementioned Mr. Hall for a new generation. It’s obvious that this is no tryst for the band, this is a full-blown, head-over-heels love affair.
I’m really excited about this show and here’s why: I missed all four of Vanaprasta‘s residency shows at The Satellite in November. Missing the shows due to scheduling conflicts (on my side, of course) was a disappointment. I hate to miss a show – especially an outstanding show – and I certainly don’t want to miss FOUR shows. While missing Vanaprasta every Monday night was hard, it wasn’t nearly as devastating as waking up four Tuesdays in a row to Tweets, text messages, and reviews from some of my most-trusted music sources saying how amazing these shows were.
Thankfully, I have another chance to experience Vanaprasta and so do you:
One Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend reader will win a pair of tickets to see Vanaprasta at Central SAPC in Santa Monica on Friday, December 16, 2011.
Here’s what you need to know to enter:
The contest begins now and ends at 12:01 am EST December 16, 2011
You will see there are several ways you can enterand you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do. You can follow Vanaprasta on Twitter, tweet about the contest, like us on Facebook, and more. ENTER NOW
Winner (1) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on the morning of December 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 Central SAPC on the evening of the show. Photo ID will be required to pick up tickets
You must be 21+ to attend this event
Transportation and accommodations not included
Vanaprasta knows where rock music has been, and the Los Angeles quintet knows where it wants to take it. “Someplace mystical,” singer Steven Wilkin says, “where there’s arena-sized sound.”
In less than three years, Wilkin, bassist Taylor Brown, drummer Ben Smiley and guitarists Collin Desha and Cameron Dmytryk have circumnavigated the nebulous L.A. indie-rock universe, releasing an EP, teasing with a couple of singles and turning in enough neck-snapping live performances to give Angelenos whiplash from Silver Lake to the Sunset Strip.
Finally, after three forays into the studio, Vanaprasta unveils Healthy Geometry (out Nov. 1, 2011), a forward-thinking, galactic-sounding debut that draws from the indie, experimental, psychedelic and R&B worlds to shape music that is at once visceral and visionary. Critics have name-checked the Killers (LA Weekly), Kings of Leon (Consequence of Sound) and Mew (Buzz Bands LA), but Healthy Geometry‟s broad dynamic also finds antecedents in the work of Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Muse, Modest Mouse and Black Sabbath.
“For a while, we called our sound ‘guitarwave,’ and the guys joke around that it should be ‘Indie Rock Guitar Hero’ or ‘Epic Karaoke,’” Wilkin says with a smile. “But whatever it is, I‟m glad we had the patience to find the best way to capture it, and to cultivate who we are as a band.”
And who is Vanaprasta? It is five technicians from divergent backgrounds (with equally broad tastes) who comingled in L.A.’s musical melting pot in 2008. From their first jam session, the mixing of molecules in the room generated an energy that was palpable, and end result of that night was, Vanaprasta.
The key ingredients in the quintet’s stew are the colliding guitars of Dmytryk, a former punk-rock kid from Oregon, and Desha, a native Hawaiian with a foundation in slack key guitar, which wrestle atop powerful, shape-shifting rhythms from Brown and Smiley. Wilkin’s balletic tenor (he was a child opera singer in Utah) holds the mold together.
The band’s stadium sound illuminates themes ranging from the highly emotional to the dauntingly intellectual. Vanaprasta (whose name derives
from the Sanskrit word for a forest-dweller who has given up much of his worldly possessions) is fascinated with numerology, geometry and patterns, and what any or all them might mean in a world seemingly ruled by inefficacy and chaos.
Healthy Geometry was produced and mixed by Dave Schiffman, who recorded the band using mostly live takes with minimal overdubbing. It was mastered by Howie Weinberg, who kudoed the band on what he heard. “Working with Dave was super smooth,” Wilkin says. “He came out and saw us live, and basically we let him run with his interpretation of our live show.
Healthy Geometry, which can‟t be categorized into any particular genre but stands on its own as a complete body of work, encapsulates all the different moving parts and ingredients that make up Vanaprasta.
You will see there are several ways you can enterand you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do. You can follow Tori Amos, tweet about the contest daily, like us on Facebook, and more. ENTER NOW
Winner (1) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on the morning of December 15, 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 Orpheum on the evening of the show. Photo ID will be required to pick up tickets
Transportation and accommodations not included
About Tori Amos:
At this stage, I’m assuming you know who Tori Amos is. So what’s new? Tori’s latest album, Night of Hunters, was released in September.
Here’s how Tori describes the new record:
“It’s a 21st century song cycle inspired by classical music themes spanning over 400 years. I have used the structure of a song cycle to tell an ongoing, modern story. The protagonist is a woman who finds herself in the dying embers of a relationship. In the course of one night she goes through an initiation of sorts that leads her to reinvent herself allowing the listener to follow her on a journey to explore complex musical and emotional subject matter. One of the main themes explored on this album is the hunter and the hunted and how both exist within us.”
Tori is currently on tour to support the album, including 2 sold out dates at The Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles: Tori Amos Tour Dates
About The Orpheum:
In addition to being among the first places the Thom Yorke band played (before they became “Atoms For Peace”), The Orpheum Theatre is one of L.A.’s most venerable landmarks. From a young Judy Garland’s 1933 vaudeville performance to a recent filming of the hit TV show “American Idol”, this renowned venue has hosted an array of theatrical productions, concerts, film festivals, private parties, variety shows, awards shows, movie shoots, music video shoots, television show and commercial shoots and much more.
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
You will see there are several ways you can enterand 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:
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.
“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.