Saturday, May 28, 2011


Black Flamingo
Black Flamingo performs at Silver Lake Jubiliee
photos by picksysticks

by JPegg

May 21, 2011. The Rapture did not occur in the normal sense of the meaning. Jesus was walking the street of Hollywood Boulevard, but that was nothing uncommon. The closest event of being taken to heaven in Los Angeles was happening in the Silver Lake district at the second annual music and arts festival, Silver Lake Jubilee. Live music, grilled foods, and a lot of beautiful scenery on an amazingly cool and clear sunny bright sky day. It was close enough to feel like the sounds and sights of heaven, not in the usual sense of white clouds and chiming harps type of way, but rather a bit of heaven on earth for a few days celebration kind of style. Another good feeling about this show is that it felt like it was kicking off the start summer. The starting line was a go for the annual summer of street festivals, like sparking the upcoming memorial weekend full of action packed big budget blockbuster movies. The multiple stages, multiple bands, big entertainment, big all daSexy Iliza Shlesingery season of fun in the sun and sound has begun!

There were a lot more female fronted bands this year, and for the most part, their sets did not overlap one another, which was great. It was a day to night of back and forth walking from the Sunset Stage to the Santa Monica Stage, while grabbing a tasty charred meal and a few minutes of laughter and poetics in between at the microphone stand only Community Stage. A few earlier bands were missed as things got started with Black Flamingo.

The females of Black Flamingo (Los Angeles) were like a band of three vocally enchanting witches clad in black turning daylight into shadows around them as they cast their spell of spooky sounds onto the listening crowd. Yielding instruments instead of flying brooms, they tell tales of ghost, zombies, and other creatures that go bump in the twilight. It is a Monster Mash kind of morbid delight, not found deep in the forest shrouded in fog, but rather like three witches of the west gathered around a bonfire at the beach with waves foaming around their pointed black boots. Midnight Goth surfacing odd creatures in the low tide.

Neverever's Jihae
Neverever at this year's Silver Lake Jubilee
photo by picksysticks

At the bright end of the surf was Neverever (Los Angeles). Jihae twisted and shouted her beach ball sound, somewhat of a 60’s let’s go beach party dancing in cheetah skin bikinis, horn-rimmed sunglasses, and bare feet kicJihae of Nevereverking up glittering sand. It is an uplifting tropical delight, like the feeling of lounging in a cabana hut with a heat wave chilling strawberry daiquiri topped with a puffed pink umbrella. Neverever was a mobile beach, bringing inland their long board surf wave sound with ocean breeze vocals, like a cool and refreshing oasis rising out from the hot cracked concrete and trash stricken streets.

Then it was off to relax with some smoky grilled eats with extra sauce and take in the soothing performance of Mia Doi Todd (Los Angeles). She with her acoustic guitar and side mate on bongo, the stage was oversized for the duo as though it was missing at least a dozen candle lit dinner tables. The spotlight of the sun was too bright. Her soft warm sound would be more fitting for a sunset in the canyons as tRainbow Arabiahe sky soaked with watercolor brush strokes of oranges and reds, relaxing the sun into darkness to reveal a sprinkling of stars. They among nature’s ambient vastness creating romantic intimacy.

The night soon progressed into Rainbow Arabia (Los Angeles). They are a husband and wife duo, Danny and Tiffany Preston, playing a sort of mystic industrial reggae with super reverb. She sounds like she is singing in Arabic, but rather it is a strong accented reggae reminiscent voice. Her guitar gives the industrial sizzling through steel as though it was strung with different gauges of electrical fence set at a different voltage, experimenting and releasing a variable frequency of electrical discharge as a long audible musical note. A steel structure of sound filled in with psychedelic mysticism on keys. Music to add to the smoking bowl play list for sure. It has that herbal smoke cloud flowing into deep relaxation type of vibe with a blend of curry spice incense.

Ximena Sariñana
Ximena Sariñana
photo by picksysticks

The foreign vibe continued with Ximena Sariñana (Mexico). She sang both English and Spanish songs that had a playful whimsy to them. With her on keyboard and computer tracks near at hand, it was as if she was the puppet master charming her instruments to dance and toy along as she sang. The stage lights danced, too, as she seemed to give life to all inanimate objects that wanted to join in on her performance. It would not be a surprise if she could talk to animals as well for she growls and roars between verses, making the audience smile and shout along. However, her lyrics are not as jovial as the sound. They are rather an insight into issues with communication and relationships. Her new song "Different" expresses the barrier between languages as she echoes, "Sorry if I don’t see you/Mind me if my eyes cross you/Keep in mind I’m not here/I’m in a different zone." A happy skipping tune, revealing deep truths about getting along. Inspired for sure by her personal struggles to communicate between languages.

Ximena Sarinana performs "Different."
Ximena SariñanaXimena Sariñana
Ximena Sariñana
photos by picksysticks

Sacramento's Sister Crayon
Sacramento's Sister Crayon performs at this years Silver Lake Jubilee.
photograph by picksysicks

Ending the evening with the last band standing was Sister Crayon (Sacramento). They are a unique sound of hip-hop beats mixed with electronic symphony aberrations and the operatic vocals of Terra Lopez. She begins by easing into a recitative rap, thuggin with the beat in her black hoodie, and then she starts to take flight, lifting into a vocal soaring aria. It is unexpTerra Lopez of Sister Crayonected yet smooth. Lopez is able to transition the two together, like a musical where the dialog suddenly break into a song. It is amazing how her voice lifts like a helium balloon slipping away from its owner, being held grounded in a grasp momentarily before it escapes into the heavens. It feels like she is going to tweak ears and shatter glass, but then she settles back on beat into lyrical rap. An Urban Opera.

So, what was different about Silver Lake Jubilee this second year? There was sadly, no El Cid participation. The El Cid stage last year was a nice inside place and patio to get out of the streets and heat, a nice place to drink, relax, and take in a performance or few with the 21 and over crowd, without the feeling of being corralled on the streets in a fenced in Beer Garden. This year the bar stage was at Eagle. There was no entrance from the festival to this stage. People had to leave the festival and walk around the corner. There was a likely reason for this hard to find stage. It is a leather bar. Very eye-opening. Their website has a list of hanky codes for those seeking this side of sexual gratification. Entering the bar felt like making a wrong turn into a red light alley with the sudden flooding emotion of interrupted mood and alert awkwardness. It is doubtful that Eagle will be participating in next year’s Silver Lake Jubilee. The all ages and female fronted garage crunk band, Peter Pants (Los Angeles) tried to play on their compact, crowd heckling stage, performing a set that quickly got their power cut, causing it all to end poorly unexpected and abruptly.

Sister Crayon
Sister Crayon performs at Silver Lake Jubilee
photo by picksysticks