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Jenny & Johnny

It’s been a month since I’ve been to a show.  A month. What is wrong with me?  Thankfully, that will all change tomorrow as I head from behind the Orange Curtain and into LA to see the Avett Brothers and Brandi Carlile.  That should be a great Friday night show: chill, with a few songs to get me going.  My days (and nights) have been busy to say the least lately, and it should be nice to sip a drink, sit down, and listen to Brandi and the Brothers Avett.

There are tons of other shows playing this week, and I’ve narrowed it down to about two a day for you guys.  If you have a ticket to any of them, I covet that confirmation code.

Friday, 10/1

The Avett Brothers and Brandi Carlile (w/ Grace Potter and the Nocturnals) @ Nokia Theatre [of course I’m going to list the show I’m heading to.  Say hi, yo.]
Listen: The Avett Brothers – Slight Figure Of Speech

Aimee Mann @ Largo [great, intimate venue for her.]

Saturday, 10/2

Matt & Kim [left] @ Music Box, L.A.

School of Seven Bells @ Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa

Sunday, 10/3

Belle & Sebastian with Jenny & Johnny @ The Palladium [anyone have a free, extra ticket?  This should be a great show. Jenny & Johnny is, of course, a duet consisting of Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) and Jonathan Rice.  Their debut album is fantastic.]

Listen: Jenny & Johnny – Scissor Runner

The Soft Pack @ Detroit Bar

Monday, 10/4
Tired Pony [members of Snow Patrol, R.E.M., Belle & Sebastian] @ El Rey

Tuesday, 10/5

Jenny & Johnny @ the Troubadour

Wednesday 10/6

Broken Bells [left] @ The Wiltern [James Mercer of the Shins teams up with Danger Mouse for a positively unique sound.  Loving their album.]

Jay Nash @ Hotel Cafe, 9pm slot [update: he’s married]

Thursday, 10/7

Lissie @ Troubadour [Newcomer solo artist is the darling of indie radio stations.  Check her out.]

Listen: Lissie – Bully

The Like @ Detroit Bar

Going to any shows this week?  Excited for any coming up this month?  Leave a comment.

Photo Credit - Carlton Beener

Photo Credit - Carlton Beener

I first saw Death Cab For Cutie at the Glass House in Pomona.  This was in 2001, and they were the opening band.  I can’t, for the life of me, remember who the headliner was.  “Who’s this Death Cab band?” I asked my friend.  “Oh, they’ve been around a couple years, they’re from Seattle.  I don’t know how far they’ll go.”

Pretty damn far.

Steph and I have been looking forward to this show for months: Death Cab for Cutie at the Hollywood Bowl, accompanied by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  And the two opening bands – the New Pornographers and Tegan & Sara – were nothing to scoff at, either.  So we packed our food (and wine, and red party cups because we’re classy like that), and headed to LA for a night of post-July 4th relaxation.

The New Pornographers were, sadly, a let down.  And I have a mad crush on lead singer A.C. Newman.  It could have been my (nosebleed) seats, and the fact that it was hard to connect with the band from that far.  But they were just… boring.

Tegan & Sara – indie music’s favorite lesbian twins – were incredibly engaging.  They bantered with the audience between every song.  They played favorites from their most recent album, and generally got a better reception than the previous band.

Photo Credit: Michael Didyoung

Photo Credit: Michael Didyoung

But it was apparent that everyone (except the middle aged season ticket holders who were noticeably very alarmed by the abundance of plaid, tattoos, and skinny jeans) was there for Death Cab.

The band played over 10 songs without the Philharmonic.  A lot were classics like “This Is The New Year,” Photobooth” (the song that caused me to fall in love with lead singer Ben Gibbard, back in college), and “I Will Possess Your Heart.” Halfway into the set, I turned to Steph, disappointed, and asked if the Phil was EVER going to appear.  What can I say… patience is not a virtue of mine.

After playing “Sound of Settling,” the band began to leave the stage and Gibbard announced that they would soon be back with “50 of our closest friends.”  Soon, the Phil (conducted by Beck’s dad… niiice) appeared and Gibbard, without accompaniment from the rest of his band, sang “I will follow you into the dark”.  Beautiful.  Other blogs complained of timing issues and other problems with the song, but I guess my ears are not refined enough, because that song was worth the price of admission, alone.  The song was beautifully composed.  A harp was played at the right time.  A harp!  With Death Cab!

When the band got to “Soul Meets Body”, the listless audience finally began to perk up, and sing along a bit.  This had to be one of the most boring audiences I have ever been a part of.  Attention, people in cheap seats: what you lack in money, you should make up for in energy.  I’m pretty sure I made dozens of enemies as I swayed back and forth, sang along, and bobbed my head (because that’s how white people show they like the music).In the late ‘90’s, Death Cab was grouped in with bands like The Juliana Theory, and, most notably, Dashboard Confessional.  Their musical style was known as “emo” – short for “emotional.”  Death Cab is still an emotional band… so get emotional, bleacher seats!

“Highway” was a perfect example of why only one rehearsal with the Phil could prove to be a mistake.  During the height of the horn section, Gibbard’s voice could not be heard at all.  The whole song, while gorgeous in parts, was a bit awkward.

Yes, my seats were far.  Photo Credit: Veronica Ramirez

Yes, my seats were far. Photo Credit: Veronica Ramirez

The concert closed with “Transatlanticism,” with Gibbard starting on keyboards and then easily transitioning back to the guitar.  Midway, the fireworks started, and as Steph pointed out (since I can be horribly unobservant at times), the fireworks were timed perfectly w/ the beats of the song.  Did I say “I will Follow You Into The Dark” was my favorite part of the show?  I lied.  This song was one of the best musical experiences I’ve had in a long while.

I didn’t want the show to end, but part of the reason is because I didn’t feel that Death Cab had really played their heart out yet.  I felt that they were still holding out on us, and there was more to be delivered.  The set also felt a bit rushed, with one song awkwardly bleeding into the other.  A perfect contrast would be T&S’ set, which was full of banter and engagement with the audience, and careful transitions.
Kevin Bronson put better than I could, writing “I need you so much closer” (to quote a Death Cab lyric).  Too true.

However, it was freakin’ Death Cab with the freakin LA Philharmonic, which was led by freakin’ Beck’s father.  It was a great experience and I can’t wait to see what next summer’s pairings hold.

This Sunday, my friend Bams and I will be back at the Bowl to hear the sexiest voice alive, Ray Lamontagne.  Holy yes.

If you like music and you live near LA or Orange County, June is a good month for you. Even if you don’t live around here (and I must admit, I am a bit jealous if you don’t), then fret not… check out a few bands you may not have heard of before, and see if they’re stopping in your area.

Want free mp3’s of each of these songs?  Then join the newsletter, and I’ll send you a link.  Hooray.

Laura Jansen
I was very, very, impressed with her set at Saint Rocke in April.

June 2 @ Hotel Café (LA)
June 12 @ Hotel Café (Record Release Show)

Listen to “Elijah”


Butterfly Boucher

She was part of the Ten Out of Tenn tour, and has many bloggers and indie radio stations singing her praises.  Let me know what you think.
June 1 (w/ Castledoor and others) @ Spaceland (Silverlake) [FREE SHOW]
June 3 @ Hotel Café
June 10 @ Hotel Café
June 17 @ Hotel Café

Listen to “Gun For A Tongue”

Sara Watkins (Watkins Family Hour)(pictured)
Go to this show and make me jealous.  Watkins (and her brother, Sean) are part of the bluegrass group Nickel Creek.  Say what you will about country… it’s already well known that I’m not usually a fan.  But this group is amazingly talented.  God bless the mandolin.
June 3 @ Largo at the Coronet (LA)

Listen to “Long Hot Summer Days”

The Dandy Warhols
June 5 (w/ Meek) @ The Glasshouse (Pomona)

Listen to “The Legend Of The Last Outlaw Truckers”

Parson Red Heads
I featured their song “Got It All” on my April Playlist.  Expect to hear a lot more of this band in the future.  They’re not going anywhere.

June 4 (with Cotton Jones and Linda Draper) @ Spaceland (Silverlake)
June 23 (w/ the Boat People) @ On The Rox (Hollywood)

Listen To “Out To Sea”

Camera Obscura
June 9 @ the Glasshouse (Pomona)
June 11 with Agent Ribbons @ the Henry Fonda (Hollywood)

Listen to “Lets Get Out Of This Country”

Au Revoir Simone
(pictured)
June 10 @ the El Rey (LA)

Listen to “Knight of Wands”

Nikka Costa

June 12 (w/ JD Webb) @ the Troubadour (West Hollywood)

Listen to “Stuck To You”


White Rabbits

June 18 @ the Troubadour (West Hollywood)

Listen to “Navy Wives”

Grizzly Bear

I forsee their newest album being on my top 10 list for 2009.  They only have one stop in Socal, so get your tickets.  Now.  And one for me, while you’re at it.

June 19 @ the Wiltern (LA)

Listen to “Cheerleader”


Explosions in the Sky

Everyone I know who has been to an EITS show labels it as a “spiritual experience.” “One of the best shows ever.”  I’m not exaggerating.  Everyone.

June 27 @ Hollywood Palladium (LA)

Cursive
I wasn’t a huge fan till this past album.  Now I’m a believer..

June 28 @ the El Rey (LA)
June 29 @ The Glass House (Pomona)

Listen to “Mama, I’m Swollen”


Greg Laswell
(pictured)
Digging his stuff.  The venue and ambience is perfect for his Ben Folds-styled piano rock.  Added bonus: he’s not bad to look at.
June 28 @ Saint Rocke (Hermosa Beach)

Listen to “Sweet Dream”

Katie Herzig

Um.  I like her a lot.
June 29 @ Hotel Café

Listen to “I Hurt Too”

Tallest Man On Earth
More proof that the Swedes are taking over the world, at least musically speaking.  Not necessarily a bad thing.
June 29 @ Troubadour

Listen to “Pistol Dreams”

May is here! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping… and new shows are on the calendar.  Here are a few shows to see if you have a chance.  Most are under 20 bucks, and if I had unlimited gas money and got paid to be a music blogger, I’d go to all of these.  But I’m not, so I won’t.  Unless you are buying my ticket?

Never heard of these bands with strange names?  Listen. Like.  Trust me.

Black Lips (pictured above)
5/1 @ The El Rey (Hollywood)
5/2 @ The Glass House (Pomona)
5/3 @ Detroit Bar (Costa Mesa)

Listen to “Starting Over”

Mike Doughty
5/2 @ The Coach House (San Juan Capistrano)

Listen to “I Just Want The Girl In The Blue Dress” 
Free Download – Mike Doughty – I Just Want The Girl In The Blue Dress

The Shins with Delta Spirit
5/10 @ Hollywood Palladium

Listen to Delta Spirit – Trash Can
Free Download – Delta Spirit – Trash Can

Loney, Dear (pictured… kind of.)
5/16 @ Spaceland (Silverlake)

Listen to “I Was Only Going Out”

Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s
5/18 @ The Troubadour (West Hollywood)
5/19 @ Detroit Bar

Listen to “As Tall As Cliffs”

Zee Avi
5/20  @ The Roxy (West Hollywood)

Free Download – Zee Avi – Bitter Heart
Listen to “Bitter Heart”

M83
5/20 @ the glass house

The Virgins with Lissy Truillie and Anya Marina
5/21 @ The El Rey

Free Download – Anya Marina – Vertigo
Listen to “Vertigo”

The Kills
5/21 @ The Glass House
5/22 @ Music Box @ The Fonda

Listen to “Sour Cherry”

Little Dragon (pictured)
5/22 @ Detroit bar
5/25 @ The Glass House

Passion Pit
5/28 @ The Troubadour
5/30 – @ The Glass House

Listen to “Sleepyhead”

Excited for any of these shows?  Did I leave other worthy ones off the list?  Leave a comment.

On October 25, I can die happy.  I will be at the Rose Bowl, watching the glory that is U2.

Say what you will about Bono and U2.  Go ahead and use the words “trendy” or “sell outs.”  I think that they are brilliant musicians, and Bono has a way with words that few songwriters do.  I am 99% sure that their new album will be in my top 5 for 2009, if not my top 5 for the past decade.

And now, I have tickets to their only California show this year.  After, ahem, some of the outdoor shows I’ve been to recently, I can not wait to see U2 at the Rose Bowl.

Hi.  My name is Veronica and I am very, very, happy.

Buy U2’s Newest Album – No Line On The Horizon

Fine, I admit it:

I had a lot of fun at the Rascal Flatts show. Of course, it had a lot to do with the company I kept (don’t let that get to your head, Mark), and the highly entertaining opening act. Would I ever spend half as much money on tickets to a country show as I plan to spend on U2? No. But the cowboys put on a good show, there were enough rednecks for me to laugh at, and I was able to be my obnoxious, yet lovable, self. Fun was had… despite the fact that my cardigan was covered in a sticky mixture of Coors, Miller, and some other fluid I prefer not to identify.

But onto better things. Last night was a wonderful girls night at Saint Rocke in Hermosa to see Laura Jansen and Emily Wells open for Meiko (review of the show to follow.)

I had never been to the venue, so was not sure what to expect. I couldn’t find many reviews or anyone who had been there before, so I expected the worst.  had a rather stressful week that involved the flu virus, finals, telling a boy “I’m just not that into you,” a few migraines, a family reunion, a country show, and driving too many miles under the influence of too many pain medications. Bottom line: I didn’t want to stand all night, didn’t want to be in a rowdy crowd where I was the oldest person in a room full of pre teens, and wanted a better selection of alcohol than beer, beer, lager, and beer.

Saint Rocke, I love you.

For those who live in the immediate area, this lounge is perfect for happy hour. The food is reasonably priced (kobe beef burgers and most appetizers come in generous portions and are 10 bucks or less), the lighting is dim but not too dark, and the crowd is… get ready for this… this may be a shocker… NOT ANNOYING. Take this from someone who has been to many an all-ages show at the Glasshouse: Saint Rocke is 21+ and the people who were there tonight were there for the same reason: chill and talk with friends at a reasonable decibel level, listen to some good music, and mentally prepare for the insane week ahead.

My two friends and I settled in a comfy booth and stayed there the whole night. The server checked on us countless times, but never did we get the feeling we were pushed out. There were a handful of people who stood for all three acts, but they probably didn’t need to. Saint Rocke is deceptively large, and though some tables were out of view of the stage, the majority had a pretty clear view. And there were flat screen TV’s all around. Though they didn’t do much because the camera was not zoomed in at all, it was a nice touch and hopefully that can be fixed soon.

I’m sure that the above could more or less be said for any night at Saint Rocke. But here is why I plan to head to this venue again on a Sunday night. Sundays are dubbed “Rhythm on the Rockes” and feature singer/songwriters. Everyone in attendance is expected to refrain from talking during sets, and flash photography. The guy who announced Laura Jansen asked that all phones be on vibrate or silent and I DID NOT HEAR A CELL PHONE GO OFF ALL NIGHT (yes, the caps and bolding are necessary.)

Girls, we all know that the bathroom experience is the ultimate test: how many looks and gropes on the way, how long is the line, and what mysterious puddle or fungus is going to greet you in the stall?
The restrooms were incredibly clean.  All hail Saint Rocke.

Saint Rocke, I love you. I already decided I shall celebrate my birthday at this establishment, as Tuesday nights are dubbed “The Piano Bar.” Bonus points if 1)no beer is spilled on me, and 2)I’m allowed to dance on the baby grand.

More Info:

Saint Rocke

142 Pacific Coast Highway – Hermosa Beach – CA – 90254

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Any MP3 posted here is available to stream and/or download for two weeks or less, so get it while it's hot. Hopefully I can help steer you towards music you've never heard before. If you like what you hear, please purchase the album, and support the artist at shows. The music posted here is for sampling use ONLY. If you are a band or representative of an artist who is featured on this site and would like your music removed, please contact me directlyand I'll be happy to immediately remove the song(s).