“We’re going to play a few songs now that you might know. You’ve been very patient; thank you very much. You also might not know them as well…” Dave Gahan, bridging the main set of Soulsavers material and their encore, which featured two songs from his first two solo records and two from Depeche Mode’s Songs of Faith and Devotion. Making his debut performance with Soulsavers, they previewed the newly recorded material from Angels & Ghosts, which will be released on Friday. Dave Gahan has reunited for a second album as Dave Gahan & Soulsavers, as well as announced a very limited set of concerts with a 10-piece band at very small and intimate venues in the U.S. and Europe, with this first one happening at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on Monday night. The album, Angels & Ghosts, is his second collaboration with producer Rich Machin and the tour takes them to New York, London, Berlin, Paris, and Milan. It all creates a framework to showcase Mr. Gahan’s ability to transcend the work of Depeche Mode into territory that allows him to reveal his own unique gifts, artistry, and vision. A peek into the soul of a man who is very complex, as well as a foundation with which to truly hear his voice soar to new heights and lyrics that provide real vulnerability. Decidedly not “a Depeche Mode show”, but a rare experience for fans to see another side of one of the most talented artists of our generation. Unforgettable.
“Is that the new iPhone 6?” Roland Orzabal, early on in the show, as he and Curt Smith looked out over the sea of cell phones in the air, held by an exuberant sold out crowd at the historic Wiltern in Los Angeles last night. Tears for Fears, best known for their collection of timeless and classic New Wave hits from the 80s, do not tour very often, and when they do, the tours are usually not too many dates and cities. So there was a bit of an “event” feeling in the air, and based on some of their comments later in the show, they both seem to have quite an affinity for the City of Angels. As such, it seemed to be one of those special sort of shows, that unfold in a different sort of way. About halfway through the show, Curt even gave a shout out to Richard Blade, who was at the front of the GA crowd in the pit… if you didn’t know him by his own lifetime in music, you would think he was the band’s biggest fan (and maybe he is). Perhaps the development that represented the biggest point of fan service, prefaced by Roland with “nothing like changing it up for L.A.; obviously this is a special place for us…” was the surprise encore opener, a song that “we haven’t done for many, many years”. He said that this version will be included in their deluxe reissue of Songs From the Big Chair in November. He said it has been impossible for them to do live “until now”, and then proceeded to play “The Working Hour”. Definitely a special show by a fantastic band, and the place was certainly buzzing when it all came to a close after upwards of a two hour show.
“I just want to say, I used to see this guy at really crappy clubs right down the street. And now that it’s come to this, I’m like blown away. There is no better person to spend Halloween with, than him…” A few words from Tim Burton, paying tribute to Danny Elfman, the man who has accompanied him on quite the filmmaking journey that began with 1985’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. I don’t know if I can say that I’ve ever seen and heard such an impressive display of music than with last night’s special event at Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live. With the 87-piece Hollywood Symphony Orchestra and the 45-member Page LA Choir, conducted by John Mauceri, it was amazing. I feel like Danny Elfman was a key figure within pop culture in my formative years, as Oingo Boingo was the band I saw more than any other in concert in the late 80s and very early 90s, and as a huge fan of Tim Burton’s films and those consistent themes and quirky characters, I feel like I was along for the ride as well. So when I heard about this event, I knew it was one that I could not allow myself to miss, and I am thrilled to have had an opportunity to be part of it. Words really can’t describe; if you were there and are now reading this, I am sure you can agree.
2013 is maybe the best year since the early 90s to be a Pixies fan. Interestingly, having been in attendance now at the first two of three consecutive shows this week at El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles (and a fourth coming right after at the Mayan Theatre), the crowd overall skewed very young, which really underscores my long held belief that the Pixies were way, way, way ahead of their time, and also had bad timing (maybe in an alternate universe they could have had Nirvana-sized mainstream success). In any event, as I’ve often referenced in countless articles here on the Rock Subculture Journal, the Pixies are solid in my Top Three favorite artists of all time. Before going into recent and ancient history, the big question those reading this are probably wondering is, ‘how were these shows?‘ The short answer is, absolutely phenomenal. Everything one could hope for in a Pixies concert has been present in Night 1 and Night 2. With their new touring efforts and new music (music that is on par with their classic material), it is an awesome time to be into the Pixies, whether you were around back in the day or not. A time to celebrate, and the band and the fans all brought the party to El Rey Theatre this week.
Having seen Florence + The Machine at the Mondavi Center back in April – which still remains as one of the best (of many, many) concerts I’ve been to this year, I was committed as I walked out of that venue that I would see them again soon, hopefully before the close of the year. That dream became a reality last night at the historic Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. It was one of those circumstances in which you feel that you’ve already seen the best possible concert for a particular artist, and wonder if it is a good idea to see them again when it would be impossible to measure up to the experience that you already had. Somehow, Florence + The Machine defied all of my expectations and put on a somewhat different show, but one that at least measured up to the first experience I had seeing them months ago. They are an unbelievable band, and the most fascinating thing is that listening to the studio albums, you couldn’t know how amazing that it all translates into live music. I already gave them my highest recommendation in my first review. Whatever you might think of their music, whatever preconceived notions you may have about the live experience, I can’t imagine someone seeing this band live and not being blown away. Even one of the venue staffers I was talking with before the show was won over by them with their first of two performances at the Hollywood Bowl the night before – and let’s just say he’s not someone you would guess is a Florence + The Machine fan by any stretch of the imagination – and even he thought that they were one of the best bands he’s ever seen, and he’s in the business of working tons of shows every year. They are that fantastic, and in my opinion, one of the very top acts touring today.
Last night was the second show of New Order’s 10-date North American tour (spanning the U.S., Canada, and Mexico). One of the most important bands of my lifetime, they played classic New Order and Joy Division songs at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, which had a stage that dwarfed the one that they played last December at their concert at Troxy in London, which I was fortunate enough to have attended. Having been front row center for both shows, it was a bit surreal for me to see them from the exact same vantage point at such different venues and in different countries – both in their own country (which, at the time, was their first date there in five years) and now here in the United States. As the band is among my all-time favorite groups, I feel a bit challenged to evaluate the night, as the band and their music means more to me than I can put into words. It was really a stellar show, and it of course leaves me wondering, in a hopeful way, about the future of this legendary band.
Santigold has been on my “must see list” for a while, and with their latest tour, they did not schedule any Northern California shows, so I made a special trip to Los Angeles to see them last night, at one of my favorite venues, Club Nokia. I have been a fan since the release of their first album, and have become an even bigger fan with the release of their second album, Master of My Make-Believe. It was an absolutely fantastic night that felt like a giant celebration, with two great opening artists, so enough with the preface and I’ll get right to it. The thing that most struck me about Santi was her natural ability to make those magic connections with individual members of her audience, one by one – her eyes seeking out and locking onto people with a special smile, expression, or gesture. Wonderful stuff, and her music is so uniquely her – rare when a newer artist can produce and deliver such genuine art. I really can’t recommend enough picking up her albums and seeing her do her thing live, with her awesome band. [Read more…]
On May 31st, MusiCares held their eighth annual MAP Fund benefit in Los Angeles at Club Nokia, which honored Jerry Cantrell and Neil Lasher with the Stevie Ray Vaughan award. The award is given to those who help fellow musicians through addiction recovery. As part of the celebration, a number of artists performed the Steve-O MC’d and Moby DJ’d event, including Billy Idol, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Duff McKagan, Mark Lanegan, and Alice in Chains. [Read more…]
I was fortunate enough to attend a very special Coldplay benefit concert tonight, which took place at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, in collaboration with iHeartRadio and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Los Angeles radio stations KIIS FM, 98-7FM and MYFM. The proceeds of the show benefit two charities – A Place Called Home and Youth Mentoring Connection. [Read more…]
August 3, 2011, I caught a special one off Coldplay show benefiting MusicCares at UCLA – the Samsung AT&T Summer Krush Concert Series. This was another great Coldplay show, and I had the benefit of VIP tickets and some special perks and front row in the seated section. Two of the songs were recorded for the Jimmy Kimmel Show!, which aired later the same night (with some funny video with Jimmy Kimmel at the very bottom). [Read more…]