Robert DeLong - The Constellation Room - January 30, 2014

Katrina Nattress

Robert DeLong
The Constellation Room

I do not like EDM concerts. A DJ masking the fact he's simply pressing "play" on his laptop by distracting his audience with mind-bending visuals does not impress me. Rolling on ecstasy to enjoy live music does not appeal to me. That sick bass drop does not make me lose my shit. Let's face it, we all saw it coming. But these are generalities, and as with any genre, EDM is more than the sum of its stereotypes. It has an underground. There are outliers. And one of those is Robert DeLong.

The Los Angeles by way of Bothell, Washington electronic musician is not your typical EDM mascot. Sure, he flashes safety-cone-orange "X"s on his clothing, his gear, and his face (or at least a variant thereof). Yes, the average age of his standard fan is 20 years old. It's true, his songs are poppy and dance-inducing. But here's where he's different: He's actually a musician, and a damn talented one at that. The 27-year-old studied drums at Azusa Pacific University and played in numerous indie rock bands while in college. Last night, both of these influences and more shined at The Constellation Room.

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Of Montreal - Art Theatre of Long Beach - January 23, 2014

Katrina Nattress

Of Montreal
Art Theatre of Long Beach

Before the holidays, Kevin Barnes and his band embarked on an extensive national tour, including a stop in Los Angeles. And now, after the celebrations have waned, the troupe decided to give a few smaller cities in Southern California a show before heading to Asia and Europe. One of those cities was Long Beach. And the venue was an old theater aptly titled the Art Theatre of Long Beach.

But you see, this wasn't one of those theater-turned-venue types. This was an actual theater. Like, movie theater. Like, Inside Llewyn Davis played there at 1:30 this afternoon kind of theater. (Hell, it even served popcorn and candy at the concession stand.) And by the time Of Montreal stepped foot on stage, the snack laden aisles transformed into a dance floor. Well, gradually.

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The Jenni Rivera Tribute Drag Show Was As Awesome As It Sounds

Categories: Last Night

Sarah Bennett
Ms. Luna as Jenni Rivera
After a full day of watching banda music videos and drawing mariposas on our hands in honor of Jenni Rivera's first deathaversary, we hoofed it over to the new Hamburger Mary's in downtown Long Beach last night for an opening night so perfect, it couldn't help but fill the house.

For its first full day in business at the Pine Ave. location, the Mary's usual Latin-themed Margarita Mondays drag show became a massive tribute to La Diva de la Banda--an honor in the drag world--with nearly 90% of the show dedicated to lip synced performances of her top songs.

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Albert Hammond, Jr. - The Observatory - November 19, 2013

Categories: Last Night

Katrina Nattress

Albert Hammond, Jr.
The Observatory

"It was, like, oxycontin and cocaine at 24, 25, 26. and then I became [addicted to] heroin around then," Albert Hammond, Jr. admitted to NME in early September. "So from 26, 27 'til 29. It's not so much that I wasn't in a happy place. I was just... God knows where I was. I was just very high. That's where I was." In the revealing interview, The Strokes guitarist discussed his drug addiction in depth for the first time. And now, four years sober, the songwriter has embarked on his first solo tour since getting clean, and from the crowd's reaction at The Observatory last night, it's been a success.

Last month, Hammond, Jr. released AHJ, an EP to follow his 2006 debut full-length, Yours To Keep and 2008 sophomore effort, ¿Cómo Te Llama?. Released by bandmate Julian Casablancas' label, Cult Records, the new five-song collection sounds oddly reminiscent of The Strokes' front man's own solo material - a blast from the '80s. And though I'm admittedly not all that into the new songs (except "St. Justice," how could you not like that track?), the singer/guitarist couldn't have done a better job translating them into a live setting.

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Arrested Development Album Release Has Bluth Fans and Mitch Hurwitz Chicken Dancing

The Record Parlour is normally the home to 15,000 vinyl discs, but Tuesday night the Hollywood shop was taken over by just one, which isn't really a vinyl disc but a digital download: At Long Last ... Music and Songs From Arrested Development.

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Chance The Rapper - The Observatory - November 18, 2013

Katrina Nattress

Chance The Rapper
The Observatory

It's impressive to see a hip-hop artist sell out a space the size of The Observatory based solely on the strength of his mixtapes. It's more impressive to see that same rapper rise to the occasion and perform with a full band and choreographed projections. Last night, Chance The Rapper accomplished both feats. The young Chicagoan received his big break earlier this year after releasing his lauded Acid Rap project. Though technically a mixtape, the 13-song collection features the likes of Childish Gambino, Twista, and Action Bronson, as well as clean production and a cohesive flow, giving it the vibe of a properly released full-length album.

As hype poured in, Chance received nods from critics and hip hop's heavy hitters, landing him supporting spots on tours with Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. Late last month, the eccentric rapper/crooner set out on his first headlining tour, the "Social Experiment Tour," and has been selling out some venues (read: Los Angeles' El Rey) so quickly that he added another date (December 19 at Club Nokia for any of you who missed out the first time around). And the buzz is for good reason.

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Kreator - City National Grove of Anaheim - November 15, 2013

Categories: Last Night

Alex Distefano
The Legends of Thrash Tour (Kreator, Overkill, Warbringer)
City National Grove of Anaheim

The City National Grove of Anaheim was a thrasher's paradise on Friday night as the Legends of Thrash Tour, featuring Kreator, Overkill and Warbringer, made its only Southern California stop to thousands of rabid head banging fans.

By the time Overkill went on just before 9:00 p.m., fans in the front near the pit were already pumped up and ready for action. The New Jersey thrash band has been on the scene since 1980 and still know how to thrash better than younger bands today. Lead singer Bobby Blitz can command an audience with a twisted sense of humor and charisma that not many front men in thrash can compete with.

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Danny Brown - The Glass House - November 8, 2013

Danny Brown
The Glass House

Detroit rapper Danny Brown must be on one of the best naturally induced highs of his life right now. He just dropped his new album Old to a suffocating wave of acclaim from critics and fans, and his career is at an all-time high, with features on him by virtually every major outlet and venues across the country booking him as if he's about to retire. A few years ago, he had to embark on a long bus ride just to grab a cheesecake, and now we're sure he has people who would probably pay to bring him a wholesale supply of cheesecakes.

Today, Brown is one of the best live performers in hip-hop. He doesn't have the budget of Jay-Z and Kanye, but he has enough charisma and sheer energy to flip a festival crowd from stagnant to starstruck by simple letting out his out high-pitched cackle. He can play alongside bands, DJ's, or whoever else is booked that day, and usually outshine them as if he's always the headlining act wherever he goes.

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Flatbush Zombies - The Constellation Room - November 1, 2013

Patrick Montes
Flatbush Zombies
Flatbush Zombies
The Constellation Room
Nov. 1, 2013

The past two times we've witnessed Flatbush Zombies have been at huge outdoor festivals put on by hip-hop monolith Guerrilla Union. They have always managed to rile up the crowd and perform as a punk band would, and each time, they have drawn enough of an audience to warrant their own small venue. Their psychedelically infused, unorthodox style of hip-hop has translated well to listeners across California, and for their first headlining tour, we were fortunate enough to have them book a show in the smaller, more intimate Constellation Room. This allowed for a better experience for all involved, with plenty of contact highs and mosh-pit injuries to go around.

See also: Flatbush Zombies Bring Plenty of Blunts and Brains to the Rap Game

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The Naked and Famous - Fox Pomona - October 26, 2013

Photo by Brenda Wong
The Naked and Famous
The Fox Theatre, Pomona

New Zealand synth-indie-rock-alt-pop-something-or-other band The Naked and Famous gave North America a damn good farewell last Saturday, as the five-piece ended their North American tour in Pomona and is headed off to Europe.

The band weren't particularly known for their live performances in support of their debut album, Passive Me, Aggressive You. But after playing those songs for 200 shows over two years, the band set out to write something that would translate well live. And with sophomore album "In Rolling Waves," they succeeded.

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