Do you know what day it is? I’ve been waiting for this day all year. It’s March 18, 2012 – one quarter of the way through the year – and the night I experienced the first show I’d write about in 2o12.
It’s not that I haven’t experienced a lot of wonderful shows this year; I have. I see live music nearly every night, and I don’t go out with the intention of seeing a shitty show. So, I have experienced some truly amazing concerts in 2012. I wish I had written about some of them. But I haven’t.
Why Puscifer? Because there’s nothing “standard” about it. I’ve seen this show previously, during an earlier leg of the tour. Yet, it feels different every time. I think about that often – musicians who tour around the world on the same, 10-song, “hit” album for 2. . . or 20 years – wondering if they get bored; experiencing, via their shows, that many of them do. Maynard James Keenan and the brilliant musicians who make up Puscifer have no time for boredom. They’re busy setting the stage – literally, metaphorically, physically, and intellectually – for the show to come. The show-to-come follows the hysterical, thought-provoking (sometimes thought-revoking) pre-show, which comes after Carina Round’s opening show, before she joins Puscifer.
Escondido? It makes sense. Maynard James Keenan invites you to go places you’ve never been. Bring your sense of humor or you’ll miss some of the best parts.
It’s not about politics. Puscifer carries with it conversations about ideas. That’s where the fun and creative solutions originate: conversations about ideas, rather than arguments about politics. Puscifer is not about pushing an agenda. It’s not the “I’m a musician and you’re going to pay me a lot of money to use this time as my platform to push something on you” approach. Instead, Puscifer offers you the platform to create new ideas. Puscifer doesn’t insult the intelligence of the audience. You made it to the show – you know what’s up. Or, you don’t know what’s up, but you’re open to exploring ideas.
Puscifer provides a premium sound experience. I don’t know whether there’s any scientific evidence of this, but I’m of the belief that you should never have to wear earplugs at a concert. If the sound is properly mixed and amplified, it consumes you, not your eardrums. I’ve never needed earplugs during any Maynard James Keenan incarnation: TOOL, A Perfect Circle, nor Puscifer. The sound envelops you, rather than hurt your ears. So, as opposed to hearing muffled music through a set of silicon ear plugs or cringing with every drum beat, you feel elevated. You’re able to have a full experience of the show, as intended by its creator. The sound is so consistently exceptional, regardless of venue, that you’re aware of, and grateful for, the intention and effort put forth to make it so.
Yeah. . . I bought a Puscifer hoodie. I’m considering adding an English sub-title on the back of it: “Yes, I paid $65 for this hoodie and it feels like a steal.” We’ve got to support art. We don’t have to agree on which art we appreciate, but it is our responsibility to support the art we do appreciate.
Maynard James Keenan weeds out the cattle. Tonight’s show took place in Escondido. If you’re of the belief – or holding onto hope – that aliens may some day come for you, Escondido is the type of place they may touch-down first. Only those people with a great deal of faith in the process, the adventure, and the outcome, would actually commute to Escondido. It’s just far enough outside the comfort zone of the people who go to a Miike Snow show – not the people who actually like Miike Snow – the far larger population: people who go to a show just because it’s “the place to be” and they have to look cool on Facebook. Puscifer is not for them.
It’s Sunday night. A rock concert and a 2-hr drive, on a ‘school night’?! Puscifer reminds everyone: music doesn’t stop because you have somewhere to be in the future. Your presence is rewarded.
I’m not going to tell you how the show goes, what Maynard wears, nor regurgitate the set list. Puscifer is an experience one should have for themselves. I will tell you this though: he fucks you with his music. Take that any way you like. It’s Puscifer.
“ Life is too short NOT to create something with every breath we draw” – Puscifer
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.”
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’ve been looking forward to seeing Beady Eye, fronted by Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer and Andy Bell of Oasis, since May 2010, before they settled on a band name.
I was also excited when Beady Eye released their album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, on Dangerbird Records earlier this year. Dangerbird is one of my favorite labels. They’re artist-friendly, fan-friendly, good people, who give back to the community in numerous ways. In addition to being genuinely good people, the team at Dangerbird Records knows how to develop and launch artists authentically.
Beady Eye is kicking off a tour in the U.S. next week and will be hitting The Wiltern in Los Angeles on Saturday December 3rd.
One lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend reader will win a pair of tickets to see Beady Eye at The Wiltern in Los Angeles.
Here’s what you need to know to enter:
The contest begins now and ends at 11:59pm EST November 30, 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 Beady Eye, 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 1, 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 Wiltern 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 Beady Eye:
Watch “The Roller” official music video
Here’s an excerpt from their official bio: “Music, it’s all about the music, we could all have sat at home after Oasis split but what would have been the point of that. We had a couple of weeks off and then we were back in the studio demo-ing. We’re musicians, it’s what we do, it’s how we define ourselves.”
That’s Andy Bell, one of the two guitarists in Beady Eye, explaining why the band had to happen.
“We love music,” enthuses Liam Gallagher, Beady Eye’s lead singer. “We’ve got these songs, we go in and we do them. We’re fired up, not because we thought we’d show everyone it could happen without you know who [Noel Gallagher], we’re fired up because we’re doing music.”
And with the line-up completed by second guitarist Gem Archer and drummer Chris Sharrock, and with producer Steve Lillywhite [The La’s, Morrissey, U2] also in tow, Beady Eye entered London’s RAK Studios back in June and over 12 weeks put down what Gem calls, “the best thing I’ve ever been involved in.”
“It was important not to sit and dwell on the past,” says Liam. “We’d just come off an Oasis tour and we were on fire, if we’d said, ‘let’s do something in a few months, or next year’, the flame would have burned out or we’d have got the fear.”
“It’s the best way to do it,” says Gem, “straight off the back of a load of gigs.”
And the results are nothing short of astonishing. Thirteen songs that are loud, vibrant, exhilarating. It’s raw rock’n’roll one minute, and classic pop the next from the raucous Jerry Lee Lewis and Stones inspired Bring The Light to the Merseybeat wonder of For Anyone, to the stomping T-Rex glam of The Roller to the pounding Millionaire and Four Letter Word. It sounds like a debut record by a band just starting out with a huge appetite for music, and despite individually all having made records for two decades or more as Chris Sharrock says, “that’s exactly what it is.”
I have numerous fond memories of shows at The Wiltern.
The Wiltern is where Nine Inch Nails played their final show. I’ve seen tons of rock shows there, including QOTSA, Wolfmother, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Mastodon. Most recently, I was inspired and moved by The Civil Wars’ show At The Wiltern.
As with most venues, there are parking tricks, secret bathrooms, and easy access to bacon-wrapped hot dogs after the show.
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.