Jenny Lewis' Great Voyage Ends in Santa Ana

Micah Wright/OC Weekly
Walking through the parking lot of the Observatory in Santa Ana, I pondered just who the touted "very special guests" accompanying Jenny Lewis for the last night of her "Voyager" tour might be. Recalling past performances by the Queen of indie rock, I ran through her Royal Court of regular special guests: Conor Oberst, Tim Kasher, Ben Gibbard, M Ward, the Watson Twins and more recently, LA's latest and greatest girl power group, Haim.

It was fittingly Womens' Equality Day, here on this auspicious day of the 95th anniversary of womens' right to vote in the US. And in a way, it was apt that Jenny Lewis was performing the last vestige of the tour for her latest album, The Voyager.

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Rapper Lupe Fiasco Bores Instead of Roars at The Observatory


Lupe Fiasco
The Observatory

Lupe Fiasco can be a bit on the unpredictable side. Just ask concert organizers in DC who pulled the plug on his Barack Obama pre-inaugural 30-minutes straight protest performance of "Words I Never Said" two years ago. Or bring it back to OC at the Anaheim House of Blues in 2008 when he waited until the encore to perform cuts off his then-newly released The Cool.

A few songs into last night's performance at the Observatory in Santa Ana, though, it became readily apparent that the set list would be the tracklist from his latest album Tetsuo & Youth, and that didn't bode well for the rest of the show.

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Matt and Kim - The Observatory - April 30, 2015

Photo by Jennifer Wang
They twerk hard
Matt and Kim
The Observatory

Matt and Kim are fucking crazy.

And that's a good thing. I had long heard about the pair's amazing live shows and was bummed when they were scheduled against Death Cab for Cutie at Bumbershoot 2013. Since then, they haven't toured, so when I heard they were going to play the Observatory, I knew I had to go. After years of anticipation, I stood there with hundreds of other people, and man, I was totally unprepared.

Because Matt and Kim are fucking awesome.

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Violeta Parra Tribute - Walt Disney Concert Hall - April 25, 2015

Anita Tijoux rapping on stage
Violeta Parra Tribute
Walt Disney Concert Hall

Violeta Parra, godmother of the New Chilean Song Movement, is almost too grand an artist for any homage show. The late musician, who spent the 1950s and 60s documenting folk culture in Chile's countryside while voicing political protest songs, has a lasting influence. It's one that crosses generations and genres. That point was driven home Saturday night at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

"Gracias a la Vida: The Rebel Spirit of Chile's Legendary Voice" brought together folk, hip-hop and Latin Alternative in paying tribute to Parra.

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Kevin & Bean's April Foolishness - Shrine Auditorium - April 4, 2015

Christopher Victorio
Kevin & Bean's 7th annual April Foolishness show played out at the Shrine Auditorium for the second year in a row with all of the proceeds being donated to Fisher House and Cedars-Sinai NICU. Okay, now that we have those details out of the way, let's break down the show because it was phenomenal once again.

The doors of the Shrine opened at 6p.m. and with the show starting at 8p.m., everyone was good and saucy when Mike Relm got on the turntables to mix extraordinary music with video clips. Of course putting up his tribute to "School of Rock" was the biggest crowd pleaser because, well, Tenacious D. Honestly though, we sense he could've put up a video of a gal barfing and mixed it to music and people would've loved it. Oh wait, he did. Mike Relm is a god damn wizard.

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Ibeyi - Masonic Lodge - April 1, 2015

Lilledeshan Bose
Ibeyi at the Masonic Lodge

April 1, 2015
Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever

Ibeyi is a French-Cuban duo made up of 20-year-old twins Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz. To understand the context of their music, we first need a glossary, and some history. Ibeyi (pronounced "ee-bey-ee") means "twins" in Yoruba.

Originally from Nigeria, the Yoruba people were brought to Cuba during the slave trade, and had lasting impact on Cuban culture, language and religion. It was from this culture that the twins' father, Buena Vista Social Club percussionist Anga Diaz, drew his Afro-Cuban beats and rhythms -- a gift that he evidently passed on to his beautiful daughters, even though he passed away when they were 11 years old.

But last night's performance at the Masonic Lodge was less a history lesson than an immersion; it was passionate, and pure and gripping in all ways you never really expect music to be anymore. More »

Motion City Soundtrack Delivers Pop Punk Nostalgia in Anaheim

Taylor Morgan
Motion City Soundtrack
House of Blues Anaheim

Crowds rushed into Anaheim's House of Blues last night to see punk-pop legends Motion City Soundtrack. Nostalgic about their teenage angst, couples sang along to Brand New and All-American Rejects tracks playing throughout the venue speakers before showtime. Huntington Beach based band Hellogoodbye took the stage and performed a set of their favorite tracks including a rendition of "Here (In Your Arms)," a mix of Nintendo bleeps and synthesized rock, as a guy in the audience spanked his girlfriends butt to the beat.

Finally, for the main event, Justin Pierre (lead vocals, guitar) Joshua Cain (guitar), Claudio Rivera (drums), Jesse Johnson (moog aka synthesizer) and Matthew Taylor (base) took the stage to perform their second album, 2005's Commit This To Memory. A decade ago, it became the band's breakthrough album, selling over 285,000 copies and peaking at number two on Independent Albums chart. Most importantly it was the soundtrack of millennial youth, reminiscent of breakups, making out, goofing off, and growing up.

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Hail Mary Mallon - Constellation Room - January 10, 2015

By: Taylor Morgan

Aesop Rock & Rob Sonic are Hail Mary Mallon
The Constellation Room

Underground hip-hop lovers stood shoulder to shoulder Saturday night at The Constellation Room for supergroup, Hail Mary Mallon. Emcee/producers Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic hit the stage and immediately began to spit rhymes like ear candy as DJ Abilities spun the instrumental beat creating an art form in-and-of-itself. "Mother fuckers, what's good?" Aesop screamed into the mic in the midst of performing their first track "Jonathan" off their 2014 album Bestiary.

The group has been making music since 2009 with a name that pays homage to Typhoid Mary, the asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever who infected over 50 people in NYC during the 1900s. With a seamless transition into their second track, "Krill," a feeling of an underground hip-hop scene began to infect the room. Aesop wore a yellow T-shirt with a black bat centered across the chest reading, "Zero Friend." Tattoos covered his arms that flailed to the beat as he moved his head back and forth in an ostrich like motion.

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ScHoolboy Q - The Observatory - December 16, 2014

By: Taylor Morgan
ScHoolboy Q
The Observatory

Class was definitely in session last night at the Observatory when West Coast gangster rap's crowned prince ScHoolboy Q took the stage for a packed crowd in Santa Ana. The LA rapper, whose album Oxymoron debuted at #1 on Billboard 200 album charts last March, strutted out from the back of a smoky stage just before 11 p.m. Appropriately, he started his set with the gun-clapping track "Gangsta," jumping up and down across the stage in his Toronto Maple Leafs Jersey with 'Kessel' monogramed across the back.

Blunts were consumed as the audience belted "crush a bit, little bit, roll it up, take a hit". Q held the mic in his right hand, leaning forward towards the audience and asked, "How many of you got Oxymoron in here?" Taken back by the response he noted, "I never thought I would be rapping. I never thought I would make an album and people would love it. I never thought my ugly, finger nail ass, would be up here." The crowd went wild and he shouted, "let's get to some Oxymoron!"

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The Best and Worst of KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas

Daniel Kohn
Over the weekend, KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas celebrated its 25th anniversary at The Forum. It was the largest venue to host the event featuring Bush, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, No Doubt, and lots of the biggest names in the iconic station's history that came out to pay tribute to the place that gave many of them their break. Here are the best and worst things that happened over the two days.

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