Show Reports Archive


SXSW 2013 Recap

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South By Southwest is by far the most overwhelming festival/conference out there. But it involves everything I love – tech, games, music, and film over the course of nine crazy days in Austin. Since I went for the Platinum Badge this year, I tried to do everything. Literally.

I quickly realized that wasn’t possible, but I sure gave it my darndest. For posterity’s sake, I tried to jot down every film, panel, and music set that I saw (or caught a part of) over the week. Add on all the parties and meet-ups with friends both new and old and it adds up to an exhausting, but amazing week.

A few notable highlights/awards:

Best Movie – Short Term 12

I don’t have the words to describe this incredible, emotional film, but Film Critc Hulk does.

Funniest Movie – Don Jon’s Addiction

Most Thrilling Movie – The East

Best New Song That I Have Been Playing On Repeat Constantly Since SXSWBastille – Pompeii

Top Three New Bands – Bastille, The 1975, CHVRCHES

I swear I’m not biased towards UK bands, it just turned out this way.

Most Emotional Song Performance – Stevie Nicks/Dave Grohl – Landslide

I have to admit getting a bit teary-eyed and having chills the entire time. Stevie Nicks has an amazing voice.

Coolest Song Performance – Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence

Singing along in unison with a packed crowd to Depeche Mode’s arguably most iconic song in a venue that has less than 900 capacity was pretty damn cool.

Best Panel – Jeffrey Tambor’s Acting Workshop

Despite never acting (or having ambitions to act), I laughed and learned more with Jeffrey Tambor about life and career than anywhere else during the week.

Best Food – Rachael Ray’s Feedback Party @ Stubbs

The menu was not only delicious, it was free!

Here’s the master list of events I participated in:


  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Drinking Buddies – Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Jake Johnson, Joe Swanberg
  • Downloaded – Alex Winter, Shawn Fanning, Sean Parker
  • Short Term 12 – Destin Daniel Cretton, Brie Larson, entire cast
  • Don Jon’s Addiction – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brie Larson, Tony Danza
  • euphonia – Danny Madden
  • Some Girl(s)
  • Linsanity – Jeremy Lin’s Agent
  • The East – Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgard, Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij


  • Andrew WK @ Viceland
  • Talib Kweli @ Samsung Galaxy Soundstage
  • Shakey Graves @ The Parish
  • Atlas Genius @ The Main
  • Tegan & Sara @ The Main
  • Lord Huron @ Clive Bar
  • Family of the Year @ ACL Moody Theatre
  • Lord Huron @ ACL Moody Theatre
  • Bastille @ Club de Ville
  • The Chevin @ Buffalo Billiards
  • Ash @ Buffalo Billiards
  • Bastille @ Cedar Street
  • CHVRCHES @ Hype Hotel
  • Pusha T @ MTV Woodies
  • Trinidad James @ MTV Woodies
  • Joey Bada$$ @ MTV Woodies
  • HAIM @ MTV Woodies
  • Meat Puppets @ Stubbs
  • Sound City Players @ Stubbs – Foo Fighters, Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Rick Springfield, Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine), Krist Novoselic, Chris Goss, Corey Taylor (Slipknot), Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age), Lee Ving (Fear)
  • Local Natives @ Mohawk
  • Divine Fits @ Radio Day Stage Austin Convention Center
  • Alt-J @ Mohawk
  • Feathers @ Brazos Hall
  • The Neighbourhood @ Brazos Hall
  • Depeche Mode @ Brazos Hall
  • Fitz and the Tantrums @ Lustre Perl
  • Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls @ Blackheart
  • Eagles of Death Metal @ Stubbs
  • The 1975 @ Stubbs
  • Frightened Rabbit @ Stubbs
  • Blue Sky Riders @ Stubbs
  • Kenny Loggins @ Stubbs
  • Talib Kweli @ Lustre Perl
  • Chuck Ragan @ Cedar Street
  • Matt Pryor (Get Up Kids) @ Cedar Street
  • Twin Falls (Chris Carrabba) @ Cedar Street
  • Frank Turner @ Cedar Street


  • Machinima & Rooster Teeth Present “Blood, Sweat, and Online Videos: How to Achieve the Digital Dream”
  • Virtual Reality: The Holy Grail of Gaming – Cliff Bleszinski (Gears of War), Paul Bettner (Words With Friends), Chris Roberts (Wing Commander), Nate Mitchell (Oculus Rift), Palmer Luckey (Oculus Rift)
  • A Conversation With Danny Boyle – Danny Boyle, Rick Smith (Underworld)
  • Much Ado About Much Ado – Joss Whedon, Amy Acker, Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion
  • Innovation & Leadership in the Agile Age – Scott Cook (Intuit)
  • Jeffrey Tambor’s Acting Workshop
  • The Signal & the Noise – Nate Silver
  • The New Serendipity? – Joichi Ito (MIT Media Lab), Kevin Rose (Digg, Google Ventures), John Perry Barlow, Colin Raney (IDEO)
  • The Future of Google Search in a Mobile World – Guy Kawasaki, Amit Singhal
  • A Conversation With Steve Case
  • Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal) Keynote
  • You Are Not A Lottery Ticket – Peter Thiel
  • Deadmau5 & Richie Hawtin – Talk. Techno. Technology
  • The Anatomy of Amanda Fucking Palmer: An Inside Look
  • SXSW Keynote – Dave Grohl
  • Music Curation in 2013 – Ryan Scheiber (Pitchfork), Steve Blatter (Sirius XM)
  • SXSW Interview: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

9 movies, 17 panels, and 37 shows in 9 days? I think I can do better next year.


The Roots and Gary Clark Jr. UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival 5-27-12

Funny how they call it the “UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival” since there wasn’t any true “jazz” music to speak of, but I’m sure the crowd didn’t mind much, especially given that someone as talented as Gary Clark Jr. was just shredding on the guitar. He has a full length album coming out in September and I can’t wait to hear it, although I imagine his music is best experienced live.

The Roots did what they always do by playing a crowd-pleasing set including several covers and snippets of recognizable songs. Particularly cool was their rendition of the Beastie Boys’ Paul Revere dedicated to MCA:


I Saw Bruce Springsteen Chug A Beer In Front Of Me And Stage Dive

Not bad for a 65 year old.

Both videos are from his 4/26/2012 show at the LA Sports Arena. Overall, I was really impressed by the breadth of music that The Boss and The E Street Band played. Songs touched upon almost every genre including soul, folk, rock, rap, and big band. It’s a shame Bruce didn’t convince the band to do some dubstep songs, though I imagine the older crowd would have found it in poor taste.

Tom Morello was a guest on three songs, content with playing in the background until he was featured front and center for an amazing rendition of “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” It ranked among my top 5 live guest appearances, musically speaking. More raw and impassioned than Bruce’s album cut, yet not as abrasive as the Rage Against the Machine cover, the performance created a version of song that stood above the sum of its parts.

The following video is a clip of “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” which closed the encore set. It includes a great tribute to Clarence Clemons.


Show Report: Chromeo 11-17-11 @ The Wiltern, Los Angeles

One of the signs that you’ve made it as a live band is if the crowd has a custom chant for you as you take the stage or during the encore break. By that token, Chromeo has really made it, since the crowd at the Wiltern was already primed to let out a choral “CHRO-MEE-OH WHOAAAAAAAA OH” as soon as the lights dimmed. We came to the show to get our electro-disco inspired dance fix and we got what we came for, no more, no less.

There’s only so much a duo can do on stage musically and even backed up by three Rockette-like lady dancers/singers, Chromeo didn’t do much to distinguish their sound from their recordings. That’s not necessarily a knock on the band, as their recordings are very fun affairs, though it is noteworthy that the material from their latest album, Business Casual, sounded much more polished and alive. If your goal at the show was to get drunk, dance, and have a good time, you probably got your money’s worth. If you were looking for a dynamic stage presence or transcendant live music revelation, though, you’re going to to want to keep looking.


Bootlegged: Local Natives – Sun Hands @ Henry Fonda Theater Hollywood 9/17/10

From time to time, I like to whip out the ‘ol iPhone 4 HD video camera and capture some highlights from the shows I go to. Sometimes they don’t even end up half-bad.

This is one of those times.

Here’s a live video bootleg of one of my favorite singles of 2010 so far, “Sun Hands,” by Local Natives. I was a bit surprised that the band sold out the ~1,500 person capacity Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood two nights in a row, but they are “local natives” of Los Angeles, after all. More dynamic than the droning buzz of “Chillwave” indie rock, yet less conventional than your meat and potatoes Rock – you’ll find yourself head bobbing, air drumming, and possibly singing along to this track.


Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti 7/09/2010 @ Echoplex, Los Angeles

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti is perhaps one of the more “buzzworthy” bands so far this year, garnering a “9.0” review from Pitchfork and landing on many other music blogs’ “Best of 2010 so far” lists. At $15 for a ticket including fees we’re in the impulse zone where there’s not a substantial risk even if you’re not a diehard fan of the band.

I’m all about seeing live music, especially at affordable prices, so I gave it a shot. I had given Before Today a couple of listens and while it didn’t “wow” me as much as the “Indie Blogosphere,” it also didn’t repulse me either. “Round and Round” has some pretty infectious melodies contained within and I will admit to waking up some mornings with the song in my head.

Some bands are just not meant to do live shows.

Ariel Pink cavorted around stage like a lifelong wino in an outfit that can best be described as a cross between Mario’s red overalls and Borat’s one-piece swimsuit. His voice cracked more times than an 18-year old going through puberty. Their set sounded lifeless and amorphous. None of the Before Today’s eclectic lo-fi charm came across on stage.

I stayed through each successive song with hopes of finally hearing the performance that would redeem the band. After about 45 minutes or so, it became apparent that this was never going to happen. I cut my losses and headed up to Two Boots for some delicious pizza.

Hey, for a $15 investment it wasn’t any worse than walking out of another shitty summer movie.

Disclosure: I was about three scotches in by the time Ariel Pink took the stage, so I had the musical equivalent of “beer goggles” going for me. Despite this I could still tell that the band was putting on a forgettable show.

I snapped a video of “Round and Round” in which you can hear this for yourself below:


Coachella 2010 As Told By Lost Tweets

Well, due to the ineptitude of AT&T in providing adequate SMS or data service at Coachella this year, most of my tweets during the festival didn’t get out.  All in all, I enjoyed the music and the festival.  At least, when I could actually be in the venue.

Here’s a rough timeline of what would have been sent out (some of them actually did manage to squirm out):

Day 1

2:15PM – Left house at 12:30 and still stuck in immovable traffic. Had to pee on the side of a main road, public be damned.

3:30PM – Stuck in a immovable line to get wristbands for event entry. People are cutting in the front because there’s no security.

4:30PM – Officially pissed that I missed one of the bands I wanted to see the most, Yeasayer. Regretting coming to this thing.

4:45PM – Line is finally moving. Apparently the ticket scanning system went down for a couple hours. Heads better roll for this bullshit.

5:15PM – Feel a bit less cranky after eating some surprisingly good Thai BBQ. I can hear Tom Morello playing a song I don’t know.

6:00PM – She & Him is surprisingly entertaining. The songs are a lot more uptempo and fun than I was expecting. Delightful festival warmup.

6:05PM – Have to admit, zooey deschanel is lookin pretty adorable on stage

7:45PM – Even a mediocre live band like Passion Pit can be great fun with the right crowd. Dancing/singing with the chorus of Little Secrets was a great moment.

8:15PM – I know everyone swears by Grizzly Bear, but I’m finding his set boring. It’s one of those “you have to know the material” situations. I didn’t.

8:25PM – Stopped by La Roux. She sounds okay, nothing extraordinary. Not going to wade through that crowd for “In For The Kill”.

8: 45PM – I only know the Echo and the Bunnymen hits. They’re not playing them, so I’m getting out of here.

9:15PM – The sound for LCD Soundsystem is amazing.

9:30PM – James Murphy is incredibly awkward on stage. He could have command of the crowd, but he’s rambling like a insecure nerd onstage.

10:15PM – LCD Soundsystem had a couple chances to be an epic set, but never quite got there. Going to walk by Vampire Weekend.

10:20PM – Heard Cousins being played and promptly turned around to get a beer.

10:30PM – Pretty ridiculous that the main stage is playing a recorded Vampire Weekend song while the actual band is on the other stage.

11:15PM – Jay-Z makes his entrance by rising from under the stage floor to the intro of “We Run This Town”. As the bass kicks in, he authoritatively commands the audience to bounce. We obey.

11:45PM – The soundsystem here is unreal. Hiphop bass has never sounded so clear. Best mainstream rap show I have seen so far.

12:25AM – Big Pimpin’ starts. The crowd starts to go nuts before Jigga stops it, telling us that we aren’t ready yet. He then continues on with another song. Fucking awesome.

12:35AM – No Dr. Dre or Alicia Keyes appearance, but we get Beyonce as the surprise guest.

12:45AM – Damn, I didn’t plan on staying for all of Jay-Z, but I couldn’t resist.

12:50AM – I have to make a decision to see the end of The Whitest Boy Alive or deadmau5 – I go with Whitest Boy, but really wanted to do both. Damn you, scheduling!

12:55AM – Erlend Oye looks like a dweebier young Bill Gates, if that’s even possible. Still, this set is really good. I gotta see them when they tour next.

3:30AM – Fuck traffic and crowds and lines and godawful parking infrastructure.

Day 2

3:15PM – Well that wasn’t as bad getting in this time. Took a back route and lot. Missed my boy Frank Turner, but a noon start time is untenable.

3:30PM – Day two starts with bluegrass from old crow medicine show. Haven’t seen a guy string his own guitar in awhile.

4:45PM – Have a nice spot by the soundboard for Beach House.  The music is inoffensive, but not really grabbing me. Guess it’s a similar situation to Grizzly Bear.

5:40PM – Man does the girl from Gossip have pipes, this is an awesomely fun set. Crowd loves them.

6:20PM – Holy shit, the entire LCD Soundsystem band is on stage, along with more people I don’t recognize. It’s madness in here.

6:35PM – Stayed for the last couple songs of The Raveonettes set. I like them, but the end of their set was a far cry from the energy level of Gossip’s.

6:45PM – Well, The XX is good music for listening to while you’re eating dinner.

7:15PM – Seem to have found a great spot for Hot Chip with a raucous group of South Americans who sing and do chants. This is going to be awesome.

7:45PM – Steel drums are back, baby! I was wondering where they had gone, but I’m positive I’ve seen at least 3 bands use them so far.

8:20PM – Using Aterciopelados’ set to recover. They’re actually not bad rockers.  Too bad I don’t understand Spanish.

9:35PM – Some kid tries to move past me in a crowd. He says he’s trying to get away from his mom who’s in the crowd behind him for fear she’ll ground him from video games for 2 weeks. wat.

9:45PM – Spent the last 50 minutes in the dance tent with Kaskade and David Guetta. Sensory overload. Bass made my entire body shake. Wish I had drugs.

9:55PM – Major Lazer is fucking amazing!! There’s two Chinese dragons onstage with a black chick in a wedding gown. This is a real party.

10:15PM – Get news that Danny Devito ran shirtless across the stage during Faith No More. That sounds fun.

10:30PM – Muse is way less intense than that dance tent was. They still rock though.

11:20PM – Man, The Dead Weather really vacillate between awesome and boring. Love the blues stuff, hate the slow shit.

12:00AM – F. Dee and mac from it’s always sunny in Philadelphia bumped into my friend wearing a paddys pub shirt at the beer tent and I wasn’t there!

12:15AM – Eating pizza while on a bench with a view of Tiesto on the main stage. I think I’d need to plan my day around Tiesto to properly enjoy his set.

12:18AM – Is it just me or does Tiesto look like Christian Slater? Also, lasers.

12:20AM – Someone brought the wrong visuals for Tiesto, the screen just addressed “Austin”.

12:22AM – There we go, Coachella lets make some noise!

12:50AM – Having to decide between the end of 2ManyDJ’s or Devo, I go with Devo in the hopes of getting “Whip It”. Got old dudes stripping into tshirts and boxers instead.

4:00AM – Fuck traffic and crowds and lines and godawful parking infrastructure.

Day 3

2:45PM – Really surprised to have made it inside the venue in time to catch the end of Local Natives. They were pretty good.

3:45PM – No idea what to have expected for Mayer Hawthorne, but this is kinda cool. Fairly young white dude singing soul. People are dancing, including shirtless pothead in front of me with a gut and no pectorals.

4:10PM – My friend explains to me the lols of Mayer introducing his “break up song” with “Coachella I’m sorry to do this to you but…” Hilarious.

4:15PM – Walk by Deerhunter, didn’t look like a meat jackpot Deerhunter set so continued to De La Soul.

4:20PM – De La Soul is pretty boring.  Nothing else to do but sit on the grass and chill.  Too lazy to walk to Florence and the Machine for a couple minutes.

4:50PM – Surprised to hear Sunny Day Real Estate play Seven so early in their set. Not complaining, this song rules.

5:20PM – Decided to check out Yo La Tengo. Love the pop songs and synchronized light dancing, really dislike the masturbatory jam sessions. Cool how all 3 band members play everything.

6:15PM – Really dig the soundscape that Jonsi/Sigur Ros create. The songs seem a bit more uptempo than Sigur Ros. Plus he’s got a really cool festive outfit and headdress.

6:50PM – Made it into a nice spot by the soundboard for Miike Snow. The band comes out in masks and amidst smoke.

7:15PM – The album is good, but the live show is amazing. This stuff needs to be turned up LOUD!

7:30PM – Would definitely see Miike Snow again.

7:45PM – There’s a ridiculous amount of people for Phoenix, not going to bother getting close for this.

8:00PM – Just realized I only really like 1901 and If I Ever Feel Better from Phoenix anyway. Glad I got to hear those at the end.

8:15PM – Holy laser light show at Little Boots! She’s pretty fun too.

9:05PM – Caught the last few minutes of Orbital’s DJ set. Heard an amazing mix of Halcyon with Belinda Carlisle and Bon Jovi. Lamp shades baby!

9:30PM – As much as I love Radiohead, I’m pretty sick of The Eraser. Some of the songs just don’t translate well to large venues.

9:30PM – That being said, adding someone like Flea really makes the bass come alive for songs like Harrowdown Hill.

12:30AM – Forewent gorillaz to beat the coachella traffic. Surprisingly it worked! Already at the daily pint in Santa Monica playing shuffleboard.

Click through for a photo gallery. (Caveat: They’re iPhone camera pics.)
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More Thom Yorke Videos From The Echoplex Show

Thanks to my retardedly slow internet, it’s taken me a few days to get my HD videos from last Friday’s Thom Yorke show at the Echoplex up.

For your enjoyment (more videos after the break):

Harrowdown Hill

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Thom Yorke with New Band 10-02-09 @ Echoplex Los Angeles

thom yorke solo echoplex los angeles 10-02-09

Maybe years of concert going in Los Angeles have made me a jaded cynic, but I have to admit some trepidation when I intially heard that Thom Yorke would be playing the ~700 person capacity Echoplex in the heart of LA’s hipster haven.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to several Radiohead shows across the country.  I’ve met and spoken with Thom himself.  I know firsthand how great of a stage performer this awkward looking Englishman can be.  It’s just that… well, solo albums from celebrated frontmen usually end up being a disappointing affair.  I wasn’t a huge fan of The Eraser, the album came off to me a bit flat and soulless.  Plus, how in the world could this new band work out?  Nigel I can understand, but Flea??  Is he going to come out on stage in nothing but a tube sock, and start slappin’ da bass I Love You Man style?  I was worried the show would degenerate into an 80 minute masturbatory jam session with famous musicians.

Fortunately, Thom and the boys proved I was a complete douche for even entertaining those thoughts.
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The Airborne Toxic Event @ Troubadour, LA 3/03/08

“Hi, we’re an unsigned band from Los Angeles,” introduces The Airborne Toxic Event singer/guitarist, Mikel Jollett, to the frisky and diverse sold-out crowd at the Troub.

Two songs into the set, you would have been hard-pressed to believe that this Los Feliz quintet wasn’t signed by a Major or Major Indie (your Merges and Sub-Pops of the world), much less completely unsigned. Joined on stage by Noah Harmon (bass), Steven Chen (guitar/keyboard), Anna Bulbrook (viola), and Daren Taylor (drums), the soft-spoken Jollett crooned with his Morrissey-esque baritone and we soaked it in. The band members weren’t just going through the motions like so many other typical indie-xerox bands. They were playing with stage presence, with exuberance, with gracefulness.

This was not your ordinary hype-band.

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