Tag Archives: music venue

A Love Letter to Largo

November 30, 2011
Los Angeles, CA

Dear Largo,

Where do I begin? If I start at the beginning, at our old stomping grounds on Fairfax, they’ll know how old we are.

Largo

If I attempt to talk about the extraordinary shows. . . Neil Finn. . . Fiona Apple. . . Aimee Mann. . . Jon Brion every Friday night. . .  I won’t be able to name them all.  I’d forget to mention someone who should never be forgotten.

Speaking of someone who can never be forgotten,  I would like to bring up Elliott Smith. I used to watch him transform on your stage. He may not have wanted to perform, but you had a gentle way of reminding him how much he needed to. It went from not being sure whether he’d get on stage to being hopeful that it may not come to an end. Those were special nights. And, in addition to Elliott Smith, you offered us the space to experience the deep friendship between Elliott Smith and Jon Brion. It seemed as if they felt, on some level, that they were the only ones who understood each other.  Jon had a way of “being” with Elliott that seemed to put him at ease, or at least make him feel significantly better.  And Elliott had a way of sparking a look of pure admiration and awe on Jon’s face when he’d sing “Say Yes” with his eyes closed.  This kind of experience can’t happen everywhere.   The moments that “happen” at Largo happen because you’ve created, and consistently provide, the space and tone that are required for them to occur.

We’ve had a long history, you and me. And I only have good memories. But tonight, you outdid yourself. I was having dinner before the show at La Cienega Sushi, across the street. They’re really nice people and the sushi is great. They’re next door to the strip club and they have a sushi roll called “Spicy TT.” I fucking love that place.

Anyway, I was having sushi (and maybe some sake) and the power went out. The blackout spanned a couple blocks. There was an awkward pause as everyone waited to see whether the lights would come back on. When it became clear the power wasn’t going to come back on, the first thing each person in the restaurant said was some version of, “but. . . The Watkins Family. . . at Largo. . . oh no”

I did my best to assure everyone that the show would go on, without power. They humored me, hoping for a self-fulfilling prophecy, but also wondering just how much sake I had drank. They were convinced enough to play Frogger across an unlit La Cienega Boulevard, to see if you’d do it. They wanted you to pull it off, but it was hard for some to imagine.

You reminded them, and all of us: music pre-dates electricity.

You are one place that can confidently continue a show without electricity. The musicians who play at Largo can actually play instruments and sing. Your acoustics are great. You look beautiful in candlelight.

I do owe you an apology though. I’m sorry for using that photo at the top of this letter, without permission. . . but I know how you feel about cameras, so I’ve never taken a picture of you. Truth be told, you are the only place I’ve never felt compelled to break a “rule.” No cell phones. No cameras. No electronics. No talking. Do you have any idea how much I despise the concept “no”? No, you wouldn’t because you’ve convinced me to agree with “no” at Largo.

I remember a time, at the ol’ Fairfax home. . .  I was sitting at one of the tall bar tables, along the side of the room. “Two drink minimum” – as if that’s some kind of challenge we might not enjoy. There were some friends quietly talking at the table behind me. It happened from time to time throughout the show, but I was immersed in the music nonetheless. “Are they bothering you?” the voice of Flanagan came in from behind. That’s the thing about you, Largo, and Flanagan – you don’t have rules just for the sake of having rules. Flanagan wasn’t going to kick them out for an occasional whisper during the show.  He just wanted to make sure they weren’t interfering with anyone else’s experience. There’s a difference between “rules” and “respect”. Largo is about respect.

I watched people enter your courtyard and bar this evening, somewhat uncertain.  Their steps were cautious.  They were quiet, with frequent bursts of giggles, sounds reminiscent of a childhood sleepover.  But, as time went on, they realized you were serious.  The show tonight would happen, by candlelight, and they’d always remember it.  The volume in the bar increased by 10 decibels. People ordered drinks and celebrated.  Inside the theatre, David Garza was playing piano as people enthusiastically absorbed every ounce of candlelight and music you shared with us.

Whose idea was it to invite John C. Reilly tonight? That Watkins Family’s?

It was a really good idea.

When Fiona Apple walked on stage tonight, she scanned the room, with a “yep, this is right” smile.  ”Isn’t this amazing?” Sara Watkins asked Fiona.  ”Although, it’s kind of weird to be able to see everyone out there,” Sara continued, alluding to the irony that the musicians could see the audience better without electricity than with it.

“Yeah, I was thinking about that. . . ” Fiona replied, standing in the dark alongside her family of  brilliant musician friends. “But I was also thinking – and you guys don’t know this,” she said as an aside to those of us in the audience.  ”This is actually what it’s like when we hang out.  It’s just like this.”  ”Welcome to our living room,” Sean Watkins chimed in.

Please tell Fiona that we do know.  “It’s like being a fly on the wall”  I quoted when I wrote about one of Fiona Apple’s previous shows at Largo.  Whether the lights are dimmed or the power’s out completely, there’s a feeling Fiona, The Watkins Family, and their extended family create that makes you feel like you’ve been invited to the dinner party.  We get to sit there and experience what happens as their talents, playfulness, humor, and sounds intertwine.

I also greatly appreciated the “bear” theme tonight.  It made me feel as if you and your kind musician friends had been reading My Travel Tales and knew how important bears are to me.  Everyone sang a bear song.  There was that teddy bear, holding things down, stage left. . . Nick Kroll’s hysterical bear story. . . We all loved the dancing bear that carried Fiona Apple off stage and then returned a few numbers later to dance with John C. Reilly. As we individually solved the puzzle of who was in the bear suit on each occasion, it felt akin to the moment you first realized what’s  going on in The Sixth Sense.

Tonight we sat with you in candlelight.  The musicians performed without mics nor amps. Flanagan and Michael lit our way with flashlights if we needed to get up during the show. The music was exceptional as it always is at Largo.  Each of us who was there tonight will “remember that time when. . . ”

“Ladies and Gentlemen, could you please light up your cell phones. Help each other out of here” Michael suggested as we attempted to file out of the theatre in darkness.  Yep, that happened. We were instructed to use our cell phones at Largo.  *That* tells you what a special night it was.

Love,

Colette
Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend

PS – please tell Flanagan: “thank you.”

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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.

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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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Win Tickets to See Har Mar Superstar at The Satellite

September 22, 2011

One lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend reader will win a pair of tickets to see Har Mar Superstar and IAmBlakeMiller at The Satellite in Los Angeles on September 24, 2011. Here’s what you need to know to enter:

  • The contest begins now and ends at 11:59pm EST September 23, 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 September 24, 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 Har Mar Superstar:

Har Mar Superstar

Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, Har Mar Superstar returns this fall with Dark Touches, his first album since 2004’s critically acclaimed The Handler. The new Har Mar retains his defiant sexiness and uncanny knack for irresistible R&B hooks, but fans his colorful wings in the spirit of inclusion. “Har Mar has always represented the most out-there and outrageous and in your face aspects of me,” says Sean Tillmann, the Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter and producer behind the Har Mar Superstar moniker. “I’ve gone through phases where there’s been angry Har Mar and different versions of this guy, but lately it’s all been this vibe that everyone’s included and everyone’s part of this thing, and you feel like you added something to it just by being there. It’s about me going out and getting as sweaty as possible, moving around as much as I can, and in a sense glamour-ing everybody for the night and making them feel better about themselves.” More at: http://harmarsuperstar.com/

About IAmBlakeMiller:

IAmBlakeMiller

Indie rocker meets broken robot.
Art weirdo meets disco slut.

Blake Miller has been the voice behind LA’s Moving Units, the brains behind Weird Science (feat Steve Aoki) and the balls behind Lies In Disguise (feat Le Castle Vania).

He’s played Coachella (twice), toured with rock legends (Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies and Blur) and DJed around the world (including Electric Daisy Carnival).

And, he’s garnered his share of notoriety in print (Rolling Stone, NME, AP and Nylon) and the blogosphere (Big Stereo, Palms Out Sounds, Discodust), to name a few.

His philosophy is simple:
“Life can be weird, complicated and beautiful. Music should be the same. Just dance, scream and fuck until it’s over.”

New Music will soon be on its way direct to fans through iamblakemiller.com and with a Dim Mak single (“Thunderwall”) in early 2012 and a full LP of new tracks to follow, it doesn’t look like he’s scheduled much time for sleep…

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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Win Tickets to See Atmosphere at The Greek Theatre Los Angeles

August 19, 2011

Atmosphere

Atmosphere

Three lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend readers will each win a pair of tickets to see Atmosphere at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on August 26, 2011. Here’s what you need to know to enter:

  • The contest begins now and ends at 11:59pm EST August 23, 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
  • Winners (3) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on August 24th, 2011. Winners 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 Greek Theatre on the evening of the show. Please bring photo ID.
  • Transportation and accommodations not included

About Atmosphere:  In the three years since Atmosphere’s dropped a full length record on the world, they’ve been far from stagnant, staying at the top of their game in every respect. For the better part of two years, Atmosphere toured the globe in support of their critically acclaimed – and #5 Billboard Top 200 charting – album, When LIfe Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. And in their “spare” time, the group returned home to Minneapolis in 2009 to record their 2010 double EP, To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy, an homage to their friends.

In 2011, Atmosphere is taking that feeling one step farther with this long awaited LP, The Family Sign, a tribute to their true extended family: their fans, their loved ones, and each other.

http://rhymesayers.com/atmosphere
http://twitter.com/atmosphere
http://www.facebook.com/Atmosphere

About The Greek Theatre:

Greek Theatre Los Angeles

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.

What Now?

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 or any other show at The Greek Theatre, click here.

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

Thank you!

Colette

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