The G-Funk Fest - The Observatory - March 15, 2014

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Yes, that's Spice-1 and MC Eiht on the same stage at the same time.
The G-Funk Fest
The Observatory
March 15, 2014

It's been three years since west coast hip-hop's most respected crooner Nate Dogg passed away. Like all other hip-hop artists who have passed, his death only seemed to bolster his impact and bring it back to the spotlight. It's well deserved too; what would California summers and springs even be like without hearing a Nate Dogg hook somewhere during your daily routine?

Though the G-Funk era seems pretty dated in 2014, it lives on through the artists of the era who still produce music and do shows, and through its impact on the current West Coast revival. The Observatory celebrated the life of Nate Dogg and and his contemporaries in the fashion it knows best: hip-hop bills filled with west coast rap veterans, including Warren G, MC Eiht, Spice 1, Kokane & Big Hutch of Above the Law, and 2nd II None. That's four musical sectors of California -- Long Beach, LA, the Bay Area, and Pomona -- covered within a few hours.

See also: The Top Rappers in OC


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together PANGEA Acoustic Performance - Fingerprints Records - January 22, 2014

Categories: concert review

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Lucas Chemotti
together PANGEA Acoustic Performance
Fingerprints Records
1/22/14

With a name change and a fancy major label, together PANGEA is gearing up for a successful launch into mainstream music culture. Critics such as Rolling Stone, Yahoo! Music, Stereogum, and Brooklyn Vegan, together PANGEA have been creating huge buzz that normally doesn't come to a band on their third record release. Alongside Fidlar and The Garden, these Burger Records based bands are jumping onto bigger and bigger music blogs almost reaching the popularity of an earlier version of the Southern California garage-rock band Wavves. Normally loud, obnoxious, and intoxicated together PANGEA (and their audience) are known for incredibly rowdy sets. However, last night at Fingerprints was a totally different story.

"This is like storytellers," bassist Danny Bengston said after the band played a song from their latest record Badillac. Lately, the band is trying to differentiate themselves from the stagnating Burger Records scene. With lo-fi record after lo-fi record being put onto cassette, the band has been taking their music to a more high fidelity jumping onto promotional projects like Redbull's profile and premier of the original recording on their new album's title track.


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Brand New - The Observatory- December 10th, 2013

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Brand New
The Observatory
12/10/13

Brand New decided to resurrect their entire discography at the Observatory for a two-night event that until now, their diehard fans could only dream of. The only way you can describe that is--a gift. Brand New packaged their whole career into two set lists and handed to their fans wrapped with a bow. Brooklyn punk outfit the So So Glos provided opening support.Tickets went fast. Within 10 minutes, they were completely sold out. On the day of the show, Craigslist had tickets for around $200 each.

For some, Brand New's particularly sad songs provided a soundtrack to middle school and even high school angst. Unlike the frienemies of the band's front man Jesse Lacey, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New's music pushed boundaries and experimented well past their emo roots. The eclectic group of twentysomethings who congregated at the Observatory that night all had at least one thing in common, a melodramatic view at their childhood.

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Justin Timberlake - Honda Center - November 27, 2013

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Sugarwolf
Justin Timberlake
11/27/2013
Honda Center Anaheim

I went to the Church of Justin last night. His sanctuary? The Honda Center. And his followers -- guys dressed in their suits and ties, women in classy cocktail dresses, teenagers seeking redemption from Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus -- were not disappointed.

Timberlake entered the stage -- a futuristic, white honeycomb backdrop that projected images -- decked out in a sleek, three-piece suit with a bow-tie and white shoes with black trim, was the high priest of sexy. (And really, we all have to admit that sexy never left JT.) Despite the SNL overexposure, his sophisticated style and smooth dance moves onstage make you forget that he ever had a boy band persona.


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Desaparecidos - The Glass House - November 3, 2013

Categories: concert review

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Lucas Chemotti
Desaparecidos
Desaparecidos
The Glass House
11/3/13

Joyce Manor's energetic set seemed like the pinnacle for the evening. The crowd piled on each other as the band ended with their song "Constant Headache." The security guards at the barricades were hardly being able to snatch all the crowd surfers. However, Conor Oberst's ability to follow up with a completely different, but equally overpowering set with his band Desaparecidos at the Glass House last night proved that both bands have a pretty interested indie rock alliance going right now.

While Oberst's band had the entire crowd focused on the moment with every politically charged lyric and aching crescendo, Joyce Manor's energy brought teenage angst and aggression to the sold out crowd that stretched all the way up into the balcony last night.


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Wavves - The Observatory - October 14, 2013

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Wavves
The Observatory
10/14/13

The buzz surrounding the career of Nathan Williams and Wavves has always seemed to overshadow the music, but after a disappointing reaction from their latest album, Afraid of Heights, the blog-induced popularity leveled off and is now taking a dive. But what would that mean for the music? We got a chance to find out last night at the Observatory during his set presented by Burger Records with support form King Tuff and Jacuzzi Boys.

Somehow, Williams turned music that sounds like its been recorded (and probably was) from a Macbook microphone into one of the biggest indie acts of the mid aughts. The constant clipping of the album Wavvves pushed the band out of the bedroom and onto its first major tour. In a concoction of drugs and inexperience, Williams self-destructed and the whole band came to a stop. The American indie media swallowed it up and the band managed to survive and grew from the experience. The band then came out with King Of The Beach reaching MTV level popularity and it still seemed the hype outlived the bands' songs.


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Modest Mouse - The Glass House - October 4th, 2013

Categories: concert review

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Modest Mouse
The Glass House
10/4/13

Waiting a few extra minutes for a headlining band is always gonna be part of the concert-going experience. It's certainly something Modest Mouse fans are used to. But in a crowd of sardine-packed twentysomethings at the Glass House on Friday, 30 extra minutes seemed like forever. After pumping out fog and playing thunderstorm background music over the speakers, the crowd showed their restlessness up until the point they were vocally angry when the 10:15 p.m. headliner didn't take the stage until about 10:45 p.m. Not always known for their bedside manner when it comes to their fans, Modest Mouse puts on shows for themselves, not playing their most popular songs or caving to what the fans desire. But as annoyed as people might've been in the pit below, there were more than a few times when it was clear that the sentiment between the audience and the band was mutual.

Vocalist and songwriter for the band Isaac Brock made repeated remarks at how terrible the crowd was at the Glasshouse last friday night. "That's good, I'm glad you can name our songs" he said when fans shouted at him titles like "Cowboy Dan" and the ever popular "Float On" which almost they refuse to play these days. However, fans kept the requests coming. This prompted Brock to respond "Do you have any idea how much I hate requests?!" about halfway into their set and really kept the mood for the whole night at about 75%.


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The Lemonheads - The Constellation Room - September 28th, 2013

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Lemonheads
The Constellation Room
9/28/13

In a room surrounded by people at least twice my age and their children not even half my age I was completely out of place during the Lemonheads set on Saturday. The Constellation Room was half filled, which was actually a feat considering the band hasn't released an album of original songs in seven years.

The Lemonheads peaked in success with their 1992 album It's A Shame About Ray. Driving to the show I was excited to hear some of those songs specifically. Having never seen the band live, I was nervous they would not live up to an album they recorded 21 years ago. However, from the moment Evan Dando stepped on stage at the Constellation room to the moment he stepped off, It didn't matter that the band hasn't released music in a decade or if the original members backed the songs. Dando's voice brought the songs to a complete new life and attempt at bringing a new audience.


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Depeche Mode - Staples Center - September 28, 2013

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Andrew Youssef
Depeche Mode
Staples Center
9/28/13

Depeche Mode shadow danced into town aboard the Delta Machine tour at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday. On the first of a three-night stint, the arrival of the Essex-bred quintet was sure to make every aging goth/emo/new wave fan around SoCal bust out the eyeliner and black, patent leather corsets.

Clocking in at 33 years together as a band, Dave Gahan and his posse of darkwave dance mavens put on a highly theatrical two-hour show that left little to be desired when all was said and done. Fabulous sound quality? Check! Did they come out on time and play many of their old hits along with the new? Check and check!! Can Dave Gahan still shake his money maker and slither around on stage like a white viper in heat? You bet your sweet twerkin' ass he can!


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Title Fight - The Glasshouse - 9/26/13

Categories: concert review

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Last night, the floor of the Glasshouse floor was packed. Pushed tight up against the stage, crowd surfers climbed over, jumped on, and smashed into one another. For one hour, Pennsylvania punk rockers Title Fight put on an amazing performance. The set included older songs like "Symmetry" and "No One Stays on Top Forever" along with the single "Be A Toy" from their upcoming release Spring Songs.

It was a high energy show. There were crowd surfers standing up and head walking, there were people who jumped from the five foot stage and fell flat on their back, their feet pushing off faces and rolling over the tops of heads. Through it all, Title Fight never stopped playing. The show was relentless.

See also: Title Fight Embraces the '90s

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