With Dark Matter, GZA Thinks Big--Really Big

Categories: festivals

gzapic1.jpg
Sometime in the early 1970s, Gary Grice's younger cousin did something incredibly foolish and potentially fatal: He stuck a pair of metal tweezers into an electrical outlet, which violently shocked him, burnt his hand and blackened the wall around the outlet. A doctor later told Grice's aunt her son would have died if it weren't for the rubber sneakers he was wearing. Hearing about this strange turn of events intrigued a 7-year-old Grice. "How can rubber have saved him?" the now 48-year-old says. "Why does electricity travel through some things and not through others?"

That boy would grow up to be GZA (a.k.a. the Genius), one of the original members of Wu-Tang Clan, the iconic Staten Island rap clique. After Wu-Tang forced their way into hip-hop prominence with 1993's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), its members began to fire off solo albums. GZA's Liquid Swords (1995) quickly emerged as one of the best of the pack, owing to its gritty, barbed beats; inventive rhymes; and sordid, minutiae-heavy tales of crime and power. It was as close as we'll ever get to The Wire of hip-hop.

More »

Moon Block Party - Pomona Fairplex - October 18, 2014

mbp_2.jpg
Corners performs at Moon Block Party (Photo by Scott Feinblatt)
Moon Block Party
Pomona Fairplex
10/18/2014

The ethos of Phil Pirrone's Moon Block Party music festival is that it is "like a block party on the moon." This third annual event was thrown at the Pomona Fairplex, last Saturday, by Pirrone and his collective of artists and musicians. The event's website encouraged attendees to come dressed in "astronaut gear" or in an "alien 'costume,'" but while no one seemed to take the encouragement literally, plenty of colorful concertgoers turned up for this terrific festival.

The program for the one-day music festival consisted of 22 acts, performing on three stages; clothing, art, and food vendors; and a costume contest. The sets of the multitudinous bands lasted from a half hour to just over an hour -- the headlining bands' sets were the longest. Throughout the day, there were typically two performances occurring at any given time, and none of the set times were completely identical; so, upon the completion of one band's performance, its audience would collectively shuffle across the fairground of the horse-racing track / field and see what they had been missing at one of the other two stages.

See also: Creating Moon Block Party's Spacey Vibe Takes a Lot of Focus

More »

Creating Moon Block Party's Spacey Vibe Takes a Lot of Focus

Categories: festivals

moonblockpic1.jpg
Courtesy of Moon Block Party
Deap Vally
Phil Pirrone knows you've got to take a chance when the universe presents you with an opportunity. In 2011, the longtime musician and maverick event organizer lived in an apartment in downtown Pomona that required him to contribute to the city's popular monthly Art Walk. With the help of friends, Pirrone threw a huge block party, booking a long roster of bands and securing a shopping-center stage.

"The second we plugged in the PA and put on some music to test it, it was so loud everyone was like, 'What's going on?'" he recalls. About 5,000 people showed up for the first installment of what has become one of the most anticipated alternative music festivals in Southern California: Moon Block Party. The third edition--featuring headliners the Black Angels, Band of Skulls and Black Lips, as well as several up-and-coming local acts--hits Pomona's Fairplex on Saturday.


More »

'90s Shoegaze is Alive and Well in Pioneertown

Categories: festivals

Dandys1.jpg
Steven Dietrick
The Dandy Warhols
Some of the best DIY festivals tend to have one thing in common: the adventure of getting there. The thrill of the trek was definitely on Tommy Dietrick's mind when he settled his Desert Stars Festival in the cactus and boulder-infested oasis of Pioneertown, at storied venue Pappy and Harriet's. Over 115 miles from OC, the freedom of a quick weekend road trip to the annual psych rock/shoegaze festival on Oct. 3-4 is second only to the aural head trip induced by cranked up amplifiers, thwacking drums and rippling delay echoing through the glinting sky of no man's land.

"Once you start driving through those mountains, you can really feel yourself getting into the region," Dietrick says about passing through the forest of giant wind turbines in Palm Springs off the 10-E Fwy. on the way to Indio. "The event begins then, the experience begins then."

With the resurgence of '90s shoegaze and psych rock, it's a good time to also discover the Desert Stars Festival's grassroots community if you haven't already. Now in its 8th year, it continues to draw fans and bands from all over SoCal along with various exports from around the country. This year, bands range from Santa Ana-bred opening act Drinking Flowers to headliners The Dandy Warhols and He's My Brother, She's My Sister.

More »

Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival- Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre- September 13, 2014

OdballSign.jpg

Holy hotness! Despite the ridiculous overload of funny comics on tap at the 2nd annual Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, there was nothing funny about the heat. "Sweat" was the theme and it was seen on everyone from patrons, workers, and even the comics themselves. So yeah, it was hot. That aside...

While this year wasn't 100% sold out, it was certainly packed with the most eclectic mix of comedy lovers that you could imagine. Of course the line-up pretty much had something for everyone so the diverse audience was to be expected. Although, I did see two babies there and I'm not sure at all who they came out to see. Maybe they just came out for the beer and food trucks. Who knows?


More »

Santa Ana's Konsept Art and Music Festival Is a Launching Pad For Local Talent

Categories: festivals

konseptcrew1.jpg
Courtesy of Tyson Pruong
The Konsept Festival crew
Orange County has a reputation for lacking in racial diversity, but that's less apparent as you look at the dozens of artists, musicians, photographers, DJs and designers who have come together for the second annual Konsept Art and Music Festival in Santa Ana.
There's Shawn Nguyen, a.k.a. DJ Sarisuk, who is the resident DJ at Sutra. There's also Jackie Estrada, a photographer who organizes monthly showcases in the Arts District. There's Dave Allen and Kevin Ferrer, founders of Orange-based, hip-hop-loving, media and art group Locally Grown Collective. Then there's Tyson Pruong, the Cambodian-American who binds all these young creatives together as Konsept, an art collective started by the Santa Ana native three years ago.

"I love my city, and as an artist and musician myself, it was hard to find opportunities to get out there," Pruong says. "I just wanted to build a free network to help people find those stepping stones for where they want to be. I wanted to focus on people in our area so we could build a scene together here, rather than trying to leave to LA. Santa Ana was a growing art scene, but they never had people our age pushing."


More »

The Best and Worst of FYF Fest 2014

Categories: festivals

FYFDebiDelGrande.jpg
Debi Del Grande for FYF Fest
Another FYF Fest has come to an end. It's likely one that people will remember for a host of reasons, good and bad. After all, it's hard to forget those times in our lives when we've encountered a major growth spurt. That's exactly what Sean Carlson's annual festival endured over the weekend after moving from LA State Historic Park and settling on a newer, bigger location at the L.A. Sports Arena and Exposition Center. It doesn't take more than a few seconds on social media to see how the crowds and the press reacted to the changes. And while there's much to be discussed regarding how things went, we narrowed our praise and complaints down to a select few. Here's our recap of the Best and Worst of FYF 2014.

More »

The Best and Worst of Outside Lands 2014

IMG_2112_opt.jpg
Daniel Kohn
Now in its seventh edition, San Francisco's Outside Lands festival has become a reliable, regular staple on the summer festival calendar. Though it's not quite in the same stratosphere of Coachella, Bonnaroo or Lollapalooza, OSL has its own distinct quirks that reflect its Northern California home. This year's lineup was curated to reflect the eclectic nature of the city, with headliners ranging from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis one night, to Kanye West and Arctic Monkeys another, to lastly, The Killers and Tiesto the final evening. Besides the music, per usual, there was plenty of food samples, beer to guzzle and wine to sip. The culinary aspect has helped define the festival as a true arts festival. While we were up by the Bay, we took in the sights and sounds, and decided on what we loved and hated over the weekend.

More »

With Bleached, the Clavin Sisters' Rock 'n' Roll Story Gains Another Chapter

Categories: festivals

bleached.jpeg
A photograph of a woman adorns the cover of Ride Your Heart, Bleached's 2013 debut album. She's leaning out the window of a car's backseat, head pointed toward the wind. Her long hair is whipping in strands, totally obscuring her face. We don't know who she is or why she's here -- Bleached's Jessie Clavin has never known who the subject was either -- but Chloe Aftel's striking, blue-tinted photo instantly brings a few adjectives to mind: young, upbeat, hopeful, free. Even with such limited information, it's enough to start telling a story. "You look at the picture and you know there's more to this," Clavin says of the photo. "When I look at it, I feel like I'm looking at a snapshot of some really cool movie."


More »

Burger-A-Go-Go Shaping Up to Be a Fine Femme Fest

Categories: festivals

Thumbnail image for bestcoast.jpg
Courtesy of We Get Press
Best Coast
The past few years have been kind to Lee Rickard and Sean Bohrman of Burger Records. Their Fullerton shop is a success, and Burger is becoming a sought-after label and brand. Just before the company's trademark Burgerama concert in March, though, Rickard scribbled an idea in the small notebook he uses to record passing thoughts: What if the label hosted a whole festival dedicated to female-fronted bands?

"I think it's going to be really inspiring to young people to see a ton of awesome female-dominated rock groups," Rickard says from a couch at Burger's headquarters.

Rickard and Bohrman threw out the idea to the Observatory, the site of many Burger productions. Rickard relied on his trusty notebook for his preliminary vision for the show when he spoke with Observatory personnel. The Santa Ana venue's team suggested an Aug. 2 show date; that Saturday was already slated to be headlined by one of the most recognizable female-fronted indie rock bands: Best Coast.

More »

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Events

Links

Loading...