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

Categories: Last Night

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Katrina Nattress

Albert Hammond, Jr.
The Observatory
11/19/13

"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

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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

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Katrina Nattress

Chance The Rapper
The Observatory
11/18/13

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

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Alex Distefano
Kreator
The Legends of Thrash Tour (Kreator, Overkill, Warbringer)
City National Grove of Anaheim
11/15/13


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

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Danny Brown
The Glass House
11/8/13


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

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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

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Photo by Brenda Wong
The Naked and Famous
The Fox Theatre, Pomona
10/26/13

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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Tiger Army - City National Grove of Anaheim - October 26, 2013

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Tiger Army
City National Grove of Anaheim
10/26/13

Tiger Army assured us that their OC Halloween tradition still had plenty of bite this weekend, performing for a sold out crowd at the Grove of Anaheim two nights in a row for their 6th annual Octoberflame concert. Though we admit they caught us a little off guard by starting their set just before 9 p.m.--well before the witching hour. But our lateness sort of paid off when we walked into the venue during the opening chords of "True Romance," which was a splendid song to walk into. And despite Nick 13's vocals being just a little heavy-handed on the reverb, the band put on an amazing set.

See also: The 10 Best Tiger Army Songs


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Phantogram - The Observatory - October 21, 2013

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Katrina Nattress
Phantogram
The Observatory
10/21/13

Phantogram's Sarah Barthel wasn't exaggerating when she told the packed Observatory that the band hadn't played in Orange County for awhile. In fact, last night was the duo's first headlining show in our fair county. The last time they played was to support The Antler's at Detroit Bar in 2010. And judging by the amount of people who showed up, it was definitely a success.

So much has changed for the New York-based two-piece of Barthel and Josh Carter since the last time they performed in OC. Most obviously, their fan base has grown (drastically), but they also have two more EPs under their belts and now tour with a drummer and guitarist/keyboardist/sampler. As a quartet, Barthel can focus more on her vocals and less on playing keys, and naturally, the addition of live drums gives the songs a much fuller sound. Phantogram was good live in the past; now they're great.

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Peter Murphy - The Observatory - October 20, 2013

Categories: Last Night

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Kelsey Bowen
Peter Murphy
The Observatory
10/20/13

Peter Murphy arrived in front of the Observatory on Sunday night to play an all-Bauhaus set that reaffirmed his place as the Godfather of Goth Rock. And despite all of his recent legal troubles, he hit the stage with unfazed charisma, kicking things off with "King Volcano," before diving into a lengthy, well-attended set.

Murphy picked a large selection of Bauhaus songs to play from across his catalog. And at one point Murphy had his bassist, pull out and play a violin for the first half of " A Strange Kind of Love," one of his solo classics. It was beautiful to hear it in person and it was fantastic that he had made sure to play the violin with it. It was a very nice added touch to the set list.

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