ALESSIA CARA MAKES HER LOS ANGELES DEBUT @ THE TROUBADOUR

Canadian Alessia Cara made her highly anticipated Los Angeles debut at The Troubadour. Signed to Def Jam records based on her Soundcloud page that included covers of Lorde, The Neighbourhood, Sam Smith and Justin Bieber, this show marked Alessia's first headlining gig.

PINS ANNOUNCE U.S. SUMMER TOUR

Ahead of their June 9th release of their upcoming album Wild Nights, UK's PINS have released their new single "Young Girls." Also, they just announced their U.S. summer toiur which kicks off June 13rh in New York.

ZELLA DAY @ THE TROUBADOUR

Zella Day has released her debut album Kicker and she celebrated with a sold out show at LA's famed Troubadour last week.

MAKE MUSIC PASADENA SHINES IN ITS 8TH YEAR

Last Saturday, over 150 bands made their journey to downtown Pasadena to take part in Make Music Pasadena (MMP), billed as the largest free, all-day music festival on the West Coast.

WINTER @ THE ECHO

Winter's new album Supreme Blue Dream is the ideal soundtrack to your summer..

Friday, June 29, 2012

"LOVE WILL SAVE YOUR SOUL" BY GROUPLOVE

Grouplove's Hannah Hooper
Grouplove's Hannah Hooper performs at this year's Make Music Pasadena.
photo by picksysticks
Here's a great song to kick-off the weekend. "Love Will Save Your Soul" is off of Grouplove's debut album Never Trust a Happy Song.

A live performance from the Bing Bar at the Sundance Film Festival 2012.
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

GIRLS ROCK VANS WARPED TOUR - IRVINE

We Are The In Crowd's Taylor Jardine
We Are The In Crowd's Taylor Jardine
photo by picksysticks

Siouxsie Medley of Dead Sara
Siouxsie Medley of Dead Sara
by Jeff Pegg

Vans Warped Tour. The annual apocalypse for the music world has once again arrived! It's hundreds of live bands down pouring across America. It’s been happening every year, seasonal, summer time, since 1994. But, this is the good apocalypse, the storm to destroys old barriers and walls in order to bring forth the new and to refresh the old.  The whirlwind to revolutionize, rejuvenate, and create new music genres in the industry. 

“Music Makes The World New” is the theme for this 2012 Vans Warped Tour. It’s not just about music making the world new, but new music breaking habits and yet finding its place into the world, into the world of the next generation of youth, the next generation of sound, and the next generation of culture. Music is the influence and inspiration that makes the world new.

Female fronted bands abound this year to kick-up the music scene. Each wields their own unique weapons of mayhem. Each band having their own style of attack, but their mission is the same, to explode the mold of the old and to forge forth a new sound.

Dead Sara's Emily Armstrong
Dead Sara's Emily Armstrong.
photos by picksysticks
At Vans Warped Tour, location Irvine, the frontline of female attack starts early, slightly before noon, with Dead Sara. The rising heat begins to sweat the valley as Emily Armstrong, Siouxsie Medley, and the rest of the band descends upon the stage.  

There's nothing like rock from future past to begin the barrage. They are the new sound of classic rock. The dead has risen, but with furious vengeance. Armstrong’s vocals invigorates with vintage soul of a Janis Joplin, but with amped vigor and faster rhythm, especially with her seeming sidekick guitarist, Medley, leading the burn. Dead Sara has the inner hunger of the ‘60’s meets the Lita Ford energy hair band of the ‘80’s, and forth comes this new force of female rock.       


Young London's Matt Rhodes and Sarah Graziani
Young London's Matt Rhodes and Sarah Graziani.
photograph by picksysticks
Neo Geo's Rainy Terrell and Jesse SuaveNext, a glimpse of music future that is to come with Young London. They perform on a stage of a silent dream, visuals without audio, dancing to an unheard beat, the show raving, but on mute. That is how it appears from the outsiders looking in at those on the dance floor wearing headphones at this Silent Disco. Slip on the wireless headphones provided and the scene blares alive as if diving into a pool of sound. The feet begin to disco, as the silent scene is suddenly understood.  Sarah leads with cover vocals backed by her DJ remixing pop dance, dubstep, electro, along with a few originals of their own. 

This is Silent Disco’s first year on Warped, and from those viewing outside the barriers it looks too revolutionary, afraid of different until it accepted by the masses. More people seem to watch than to want to experience.               

Then new earth, or rather Neo Geo. This is not the video game system. Rainy Terrell leads with an enchanting operatic voice like that of Evanescence. Goth rock, of sorts, but with electro dance guitars like that of Shiny Toy Guns. Instead of electro-punk, Neo Geo leans more towards electro-Goth metal. It's a music high-energy fusion of genres, yet with dark quality, which adds depth. Music for the darkness that likes to release in dance, rather than screamo and rage with aggression.


Taylor Jardine of We Are The In CrowdWe Are the In Crowd's Taylor Jardine
We Are The In Crowd
We Are The In Crowd performs on the Tilly's Stage at Warped Tour, Irvine
photo by picksysticks
Nevertheless, there is comfort in finding a new friend among the chaos. We Are The In Crowd feels like the rescue team among the rubble, among the bombardment of bands that attempt to attack and pierce the ears. Front woman, Taylor Jardine, comes off genuine and real in her performance. This is happy positive pop rock for maturing young adults with lyrics to lean on when one needs an emotional lift or when feelings of love get confusing. 

Krysta Cameron of iwrestledabearonce
They are not from the big city of New York bad asses, but rather happily expresses hometown in Poughkeepsie, New York, where girls like Jardine loves broccoli. It’s hard to say Poughkeepsie without the tickling in the throat and breaking a tiny smile. We Are The In Crowd has that same effect amplified. On this year’s Warped Tour, a special appearance may occur, Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, siding vocals with Jardine in the song, “Kiss Me Again.”

As all things feel right with the ending of the world, the dust begins to settle, new friendly sounds are forged, and rummaging through ashes finds a mix of familiar genres that gives new comfort, but there is silence. Soon there falls a distant whistle from not sure where. The whistle turns into a screaming nuke bomb from the sky. It has something painted on it. It doesn’t say Fat Man or Little Boy. It says iwrestledabearonce. Boom! Their performance is nothing less than a chain reaction of mushroom clouds that spreads throughout the crowd. Krysta Cameron is 95% demonic possession convulsing and 5% angelic soothing vocals. She sounds like Bjork trying to sing as metalcore beats the shit out of her. This band is not painted in black, but rather covered in pink dinosaur cartoon characters and other cuddly animals with smiles. She spits and tosses stuffed animals into the crowd that appear to be sacrifices, to be torn and shredded, but are instead adopted with delight as they are snatched from the air. IWABO vibes of Happy Tree Friends.

Tonight Alive's Jenna McDougall
Tonight Alive's Jenna McDougall from Australia.
photos by picksysticks
The sun began to sink into the red horizon. Darkness soon consumes upon the arrival of Tonight Alive. This final attack comes from down under, Australia. They are softer punk rock, but with a bold message of breaking barriers, ripping the emotional red tape, and standing strong. Jenna McDougall’s lyrics are a screaming ego in your fighting corner that will not let you get down, will not let you cower. The theme of their music is, “What are you so afraid of?” The music of Tonight Alive is like a pat on the shoulder and a big shove in the back. Go forth, proud warrior!

The day of Warped Tour apocalypse ends just after nightfall. Many stages are without lights, ending their sets in shadows and silhouettes. Crowds disperse, tents fall, and stages die one after another. Posters are torn, spillage, empty food trays, and flyers galore litter forgotten on the empty pavement. Only a few stages still play like an air raid in the distance while the tired head towards home. The battle of choosing a day of apocalyptic bands has come to an end.   


CHECK OUT MORE PICS FROM WARPED TOUR ON OUR FLICKR PAGE HERE!

We Are The In Crowd
Young London
Dead Sara's Emily Armstrong
We Are The In Crowd



Warped Tour photo gallery. 

CHECK OUT MORE PICS FROM WARPED TOUR ON OUR FLICKR PAGE HERE!

See also:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CADY GROVES DROPS NEW SONG "LOVE ACTUALLY"

Cady Groves
Cady Groves performs at The Roxy, when she opened up for Hot Chelle Rae in February.
photo by picksysticks

Cady Groves
Cady Groves
We've been waiting for Oklahoma-native Cady Groves' new album for like, forever now. She's teased us with rare shows, an EP and few Youtube clips of new songs here and there.  Now, she teases us yet again.  Here's Cady Groves' new single "Love Actually," she officially released today which may or may not be in her upcoming debut album from RCA records.  

22-year-old Cady Groves is one of those artists that comes once in a blue moon. Cady became a household name when  country superstar and The Voice judge Blake Shelton agreed to be  in her video for "This Little Girl" after the two traded drunk texts with each other. 


Super talented who writes her own songs, doesn't need auto-tuning and could take you in a fight even though she's a little over 5 feet tall.  Unlike most pop stars today who patronize their fans with an air of fakeness, it's not unusual to see Cady curse on stage as she did when we saw her open up for Hot Chelle Rae at The Roxy earlier this year .  


She's the anti-pop star. A scrapper with an attitude.  So when you listen to her songs, you'll understand where her temper comes from.  It seems she had to grow up quick, living in a family of seven kids, she graduated high school at the age of 16 and went to culinary school. She moved to Los Angeles to write her album and fell in love with an older man who, she later found out, was married.  Writing of breakups and revenge became her therapy and  when she sings of hard breakups and being alone you can sense that she's lived through it.  


"Love Actually" by Cady Groves.
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CHELSEA WILLIAMS @ HOTEL CAFE

Chelsea Williams
Chelsea Williams performs at The Hotel Cafe.
photo by picksysticks
Years of  perfoming day after day at such places as Universal's CityWalk and Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade has finally paid off.  Saturday night, singer/songwriter Chelsea Williams announced to the crowd, filled with friends, family and her loyal fans, that she recently signed to Interscope Records.

For those not familiar with Chelsea Williams, you've probably already heard and seen her without knowing.  She was featured on the very popular Chevy Cruze commercial singing a cover of the Travie McCoy / Bruno Mars song "Billionaire" and subsequently as a part of a full, two-page advertisement in Billboard magazine.

If you are familiar with Chelsea Williams, then Saturday was a big change from watching her in the bustling sounds of Third Street Promenade, alongside other buskers vying for the attention of passer-bys.  In the six years she's been performing on the street, she's sold over 100,000 albums independently on the streets, saying "I do like the fact that I actually have met every single person that bought my album,” Chelsea says “It makes it more personal for me, and hopefully for them too.  And sometimes I get tips.”

This night, there was no ambient traffic noise, no buzzing of hundreds of converastions drowning out her voice, this night, at the intimate Hotel Cafe in the heart of Hollywood, Chelsea had the attention of everyone inside, who were there just for her.

She sang her originals like "Huckleberry Sky," some newer songs like "Stealing Horses" as well as covers such as Melanie's "Brand New Key. "  The addition of a full band behind her added a warm, richness to her set as songs like the playfull brush strokes of a mandolin and the hearty flavors of an accordian or even the soothing strokes of the stand-up bass   - all there to fully showcase Chelsea's talents as a singer, a writer and above all else, a performer.

And it was this talent that led one passer-by to give Chelsea the chance of a lifetime.  Toby Gad, a nominated producer behind such artists as Fergie, Alicia Keys and Beyonce, was so moved by Chelsea's talents and took her under his wing and eventually paved the way for Chelsea to perform for Jimmy Lovine, the head of Interscope who, it's said after just just one song, signed her on the spot.

No date as of yet for the debut of her new album from Interscope & Kite Records but Chelsea did hint that her new record would be much more pop than what we've come to know from her. And for those who are afraid that they may have missed her performing for free?  You have another chance this weekend when Chelsea will perform on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, the place where it first began for her.

Thanks to our sister site Guerrilla Nights for the video below. Check out their pics and write-up of Chelsea's show right HERE.

Chelsea Williams performs "Never Grow Up."
video by GuerrillaNights

Also check out:
Chelsea Williams Featured in New Chevy Commercial
Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade Breeds Future Stars
Third Street Promenade

Monday, June 25, 2012

BEST COAST TO PERFORM SANTA MONICA TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES

Best Coast announced to play the Twilight Summer Concert Series.
photo by picksysticks
The Santa Monica Pier  just announced that Best Coast will be performing on September 6th as part of the Twilight Concert Series that kicks off July 5th .    The event is free and takes place on the deck of the pier but a large screen will be provided for people sitting on the beach who want to have a picnic and relax under the stars.  Also on hand will be HAIM on July 19th and Kasey Chambers on August 2nd. 

“Sonoma on the Deck” will be on hand and will feature locally-owned, award-winning Solsticio Wines from Argentina, California labels, specialty beer and more! Beer and wine will be offered for $5 and $8 respectively. Of course, you must be 21 years of age and present an I.D. “Sonoma on the Deck” is a perfect place to enjoy a summer’s night with great wine, friends and entertainment!

Last year, security had to close off the gates after thousands showed up to watch 80's rock legends, The Bangles.  A highly anticipated summer tradition now in its 28th year, the series will present, for free, concerts across the musical spectrum drawing an audience as diverse as the acts onstage. Click HERE for more info and to see the rest of the summer lineup.

People start gathering for The Bangles Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier.
photo by picksysticks
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KREWELLA 'PLAYS HARD' ON NEW EP

Krewella
Krewella are Kris "Rain Man" Trindle, Jahan Yousaf and Yasmine Yousaf.
photo via Facebook
Last night, Chicago-based dubstep trio Krewella were special guest DJs at SMOG Sundays at Dim Mak Studios  in Hollywood. It was about this month, two years ago, that the trio quit their jobs, dropped out of school to dedicate their lives on music.

Now, they just released their debut EP Play Hard which premiered on top of the Beatport chart when it was released last week.  Comprised of Kris “Rain Main” Trindl and sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf, ‘The Krew’ as they’re known to their fans, broke out in a big way with their single “Killin It” after it went viral via Facebook and Twitter and are now readying themselves from playing small venues to larger clubs and festivals in less than a year’s time.   Mixing pop infused with the in-your-face, blaring bass and drum beats, Krewella presents a unique and infectious sound to their electro-dance-music which are delivered over catchy female pop-vocals. Currently, their EP is streaming on Soundcloud and you can listen to the whole right HERE. And you can catch them when they return to Southern California on July 29th when they play the Ten Nightclub in Newport Beach.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

VANS WARPED TOUR: IRVINE, CA. - PART 1

Pierce the Veil guitarist Tony Perry
Crowds at Vans Warped Tour, Irvine
(Top) Pierce the Veil guitarist Tony Perry reaches for a fan in the crowd. (Bottom) Fans watch iwrestedabearonce at the Ernie Ball Stage.
photos by picksysticks
by Jeff Pegg


Attention all aspiring musicians and music fans: Is it going to be the end of the world this year or the beginning of the next generation of sound? Vans Warped Tour 2012 explodes on the scene this year as though the big bang is all about fresh starts. A day at Warped Tour is like fan appreciation day and a musician’s career day all rock and rolled into one.  For the ever consuming fan experience, a plethora of awe amazing live performances on multiple stages is the obvious, but throughout the venue there are the other lesser known attractions to seek-out, for both avid fans and aspiring musicians. Yes, it looks like many promotional name drops to come, but don’t forget to pick-up and experience their free offerings.

Kia Soul Lounge will host autograph and acoustic sessions with bands such as Taking Back Sunday and All Time Low. That’s amore music, much more, but also add here body-painting, spots to Create Your Own Beat, and play Find Your Tribe to win backstage passes. Or, you might just walk out of the lounge with VIP passes to access those KIA private risers, full shade, near the main stages. All free with only luck required to win.  


Bandhappy Music Lesson Tent. This is the new add, must attend for aspiring musicians, and to get lessons from actual band members. Yes, members of Yellowcard, The Streetlight Manifesto, iwrestledabearonce, and others will be giving real lessons! Wow WTF! Learn from these professionals on anything from instruments, vocal lessons, to music industry related stuff about songwriting, marketing, image, management, and gear. Many informative insights, no classroom pop quizzes or tests afterwards. It is not free, like $30 for 30 minutes. A sign shows all the band members involved and the specific instrument lesson they give. However, for free, there will be a master class meet and greet, if you want to drop a curious look-see.


iwrestedabearonce

Ernie Ball Stage and tent will be hosting unsigned bands. This is the start before hitting it big, or before hitting it bigger on another Warped Tour stage.  Ernie Ball hosts Battle of the Bands each year. Get to the tent, get more information on the sign-up if you think you’re good enough, and your band might be on tour with Warped Tour, this year, this tour! 


The deadline is two weeks prior to the tour date your band is entering to play. If you are just a fan, become a judge. If you just want fun in the tent, there will be giveaways, autograph signings, or learn some chords using a real guitar plugged into the video game, Rocksmith.



Acoustic Basement presented by Full Sail University will also have performances by Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands contest winners. Each city will here host three of their own local singer songwriter talents, acoustic style. Hang here in the shade when it’s time to chill away from the sun.      

KROQ stop is the best experience for those dreaming to be on stage. They actually have a full-sized stage with instruments, including guitar, drums, and a vocal microphone. Are you ready to rock? Just ask. Get a group of friends together, pick-up the instruments, and show what you got! Show your favorite rock pose, that is, because it’s actually only props for a photo-op.

Fat Kid Rules the World will have a massive semi-truck to promote their upcoming summer film. The flick is about a down luck teen that finds his path into punk rock and through life.  This independent film will be recruiting to get screenings into as many theatres as possible. Tugthefatkid.com. Get on board. Promote the film. Get your city to play it in your theatre. Be a part of the team. Be a promoter. Enter here.


We Are The In Crowd
We Are The In Crowd performs at The Tilly's Stage at Vans Warped Tour in Irvine, California.
photos by picksysticks.
Other notable spots to hit: AP Tent and Tilly’s Booth will have daily free signings. Many other unmentioned booths will have free signings as well. American Rag booth will have an exclusive meet-and-greet with We The Kings (get there early for a wristband), free copies of Ragged Magazine “Vans Warped Tour” edition, and jump into the photo booth to show-off your style for a chance to win a $500 American Rag shopping spree.



The House of Marley will host and have a fully restored Marley-inspired 1958 VW van. At the Vans Warped Tour Label Tent pick-up unfree tour merchandise like a t-shirt and this year’s tour $5 CD (or for free music from this year’s tour bands, check-out the Warped Tour website for over 30 free song downloads on iTunes).



Places to hit for bodily pleasure include the Trojan Condoms Pleasure Discovery Lab. Here will find free fun and samples, enter lab to find out exactly what. Klean Kanteen will have free filtered water, kinda warm. On the other hand, checkout the Monster Energy hospitality lounge for free samples in a sports bar type atmosphere, but there is usually a slow line to get in. The fast line is at the 7-Eleven truck that will be serving up free Slupees, ice cold!  

Oh, and speaking of the meaning of all things Vans, don’t forget the Amateur Mini-Ramp Skate Jam. For other all things Vans Warped, find banners to click on atWARPEDTOUR.COM. (Hey! Go search to find the Vans Secret Code Word before heading early to the show.  First 200 fans each day to hit the Vans Tent with the code word gets a free gift. It’s a Warped cape! Ha!) Ok. Be nice. And have a good day!






Check out Part 2 of our Warped Tour coverage:  Girls Rock Vans Warped Tour - Irvine
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NEW SONG: SUSANNA HOFFS' "RAINING"

Susanna Hoffs
Susanna Hoffs performs with The Bangles at Santa Monica Pier.
photo by picksysticks
Rolling Stone has just posted the new single from Susanna Hoffs called "Raining."  Hoffs reveals to Rolling Stone that "Raining" is an old song she wrote way back in 1989 with Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "I rediscovered the song when I was sorting through a box of old demos and decided to update it with my writing partner, Andrew Brassell."   Rolling Stone goes on to say that "Raining" is indicative of the Sixties vibe the singer is known for, from a female vocalist who isn't afraid to pour out her heart.   Now, it's going to be included in her  upcoming solo album called Someday which drops July 17th.  Click HERE to listen to "Raining" or follow this link: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/song-premiere-susanna-hoffs-raining-20120619

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

GIRLS ROCK 'MAKE MUSIC PASADENA 2012'

Grouplove
GROUPLOVE'S Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi at Make Music Pasadena performing on the Main Stage.
photos by picksysticks
For this year's Make Music Pasadena, 35,000 attended the largest free music festival in the country.  Over 100 bands, performing at one of the over 30 venues and stages located in Old Towne Pasadena.  From Grammy nominees, platinum recording artists to up-and-coming artists from all over the world, Make Music Pasadena boasted A-list acts featuring The Cults, Grouplove, Grimes, Honeyhoney, Dengue Fever, Soko, Dam Funk and many others. This all-day, twelve-hour event is becoming popular each year.  Last year, 20,000 showed up for the event that celebrates the spirit of music while providing top quality shows for free.

Grouplove
Hannah Hooper of GrouploveGrouplove's Hannah Hooper

MAIN STAGE – OLD PASADENA INDIE ROCK STAGE

Happy Hollows' Sarah Negahdari
The main stage, better known as the Old Pasadena Indie Rock Stage, hosted Grouplove, the Los Angeles-based band that made Colorado Avenue swell with dancing crowds.   The group, quickly becoming one of music's exciting live bands have been touring non-stop these past few months on the strength of their debut album Never Trust A Happy Song.  Currently, their single "Tongue Tied" has moved up to #2 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart while it crept up to #4 on the Billboard's Rock Songs chart.

Earlier in the day, another LA-based band The Happy Hollows started the day.  The power-pop indie band fronted by Sarah Negahdari mentioned to the noon-time crowd that this was the earliest the band has ever played – thus the red, bumblebee sunglasses.  These guys have been through some change since last I saw them opening up for Siversun Pickups awhile back.  For one thing, the once trio is now a four-o, losing drummer Chris Meanie and adding Richy Epolito and Matt Fry.  Charlie Mahoney and Sarah, the two original members who anchors the group, has also kept its identity their fans, including myself, have grown to love about The Happy Hollows – frenetic, fast and experimental with a melodic twist to boot.  Sarah is still a beast on guitar, shredding her steel strings like no one I've ever seen.

The Peach Kings' Paige Wood and Steven Trezevant Dies
Paige McClain Wood and Steven Trezevant Dies of The Peach Kings.
photo by picksysticks
Having never seen The Peach Kings, their set was a pleasant surprise making them my 'I gotta tell everyone about them' band. Classic rock with a southern twang, Peach Kings lets their songs breathe like fine wine. Why rush when you have the attitude-laced, sultry vocals of Paige McClain Wood making this hot day even hotter. An ice-cold beer would've been perfect at this moment.
The Cults
Fans rockin' out to the Cults at the Old Pasadena Indie Rock Stage during Make Music Pasadena.
photos by picksysticks
Madeline Follin of The Cults
The New York based The Cults' rise to stardom came rather quickly, forming in 2010 and signing to Columbia Records a year later after they posted a song on their Facebook page that somehow found its way  to Pitchfork, who, if any band out there knows, a thumbs up from Pitchfork jump starts your career and gets you noticed, especially by the record labels.  Hipsters rejoiced when their highly anticipated debut album was released in June of last year to rave reviews, praising their girl-group sounds laced with electro-pop melodies which were showcased in front of the thousands who waited to see the New York duo.

Festival organizers planned well, scheduling set times to start either at the top of the hour or bottom but when bands started late, it made a mess with my perfectly planned attack.  Leaving after a few songs for each band was required if I wanted to watch as many as my favorite bands I could.  Having never seen Correatown, for instance, now was my chance.  A hop-step away around the corner was the Majestical Roof Courtyard Stage and majestical it was.  A courtyard, surrounded by boutiques and bathed in a warm, orange glow, tree branches and leaves brought refuge from the hot sun.  I got there just in time to catch her last three songs, one being "Further," the dream-pop ballad that is on a constant loop on my iPod.

Correatown
Correatown performs at the Majestical Roof Courtyard Stage
Correatown performs at the Majestical Roof Courtyard Stage.
photo by picksysticks
PLAYHOUSE DISTRICT ECLECTIC STAGE

While Pasadena Art Buses were on hand to shuttle music-goers  from venue to venue, my first year at Make Music Pasadena taught me one thing about this festival. Bicycles are a necessary mode of transportation if you want to watch anything at either Vroman's Bookstore or, in my case, The Playhouse District Eclectic Stage which, by foot, takes fifteen minutes to walk.

Soko

Make Music Pasadena's strengths is also bringing together, in one big event, all types of music from all over the world, from different cultural and social backgrounds.  This year, there were three bands I had to see at this stage – Soko, Dengue Fever and Grimes.

First off was Soko, the melancholy, indie-folk artist, originally from France was often times touching and soft, playing her acoustic guitar in a barely there whisper, stringing  beautiful, warm melodies in an already warm day.  Soko, whose real name is  Stephanie Sokoliski, recently released her debut album I Thought I Was An Alien and her performance was presented by the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles which is fitting because  Make Music Pasadena is modeled on the Fete De La Musique event that got its start in 1982  in Paris as a way to celebrate music.

And in a stark contrast from Soko, Canadian electric-dream pop artist Claire Boucher, AKA: GRIMES made use of the speakers, shouting into her mike as her beats echoed while the parking lot overflowed with fans, some even taking up prime real estate on a nearby parking structure for the chance to catch a live performance from GRIMES.  One couple I met drove all the way from Mexico just to see her.   Spacey electronics from the Canadian-born musician, Grimes floated her sonic landscaping over her wispy vocals.  She announced to the crowd that she just officially moved to Los Angeles

Crowds wait for Grimes
Grimes
Grimes performs on the Playhouse District Eclectic Stge during Make Music Pasadena 2012.
photos by picksysticks
Claire Boucher of Grimes
Since the release of their self-titled album in 2003, Dengue Fever has received rave reviews all over the world, their songs fusing East Asian pop with Western retro-60's lounge and surf music gaining them a large international fanbase while creating music that is partly traditional yet so refreshing in many ways.  Since their critically acclaimed debut, they've released three more albums, Cannibal Courtship being their most recent and released last year.  Those in attendance got to see why LA Weekly named them Best New Artist and why their albums have been heralded by publications and critics alike.

With over 100 bands performing on this day, it's impossible to watch every single one, spanning over 30 stages.  So many great bands and so little time.  One stage that I always end up at is at the Mercantile Alley which, I think, is the best kept secret of Make Music Pasadena, between Coffee Bean and a parking structure and positioned next to a steady stream of strollers.  It, for some reason, hosts the best emerging acts in music today.  I got a chance to see HOTT MT, a electro-dreamy-pop band fronted by Ashleigh Allard.   A welcomed surprise, their music? –Erratic, ADD language  that somehow forms into a beautiful cohesive thought. Their next scheduled show on June 29th at The Satellite.
HOTT MTDengue Fever

Dengue Fever
Dengue Fever performs on the Playhouse District Eclectic Stge during Make Music Pasadena.
photographs by picksysticks  
Maybe next year, I'll make a point to specifically visiti the other venues like The Old Towne Pub where Odd Modern and Pageants performed or The Creme de la Crepe where singer/songwriters like Emily Wryn, Doe Eye and Macedo performed to a packed and intimate house.  There are just so many artists to make please every music lover.  If last Saturday was any indication of what next year may look like, I wouldn't be surprised if, in the near future, Make Music Pasadena will be an all weekend event and even rival Austin's SXSW.

Make Music Pasadena is just the beginning of the city’s musical series of summer outdoor concerts that are free to the public which reflects the spirit of the community and the overall music scene.   Levitt Pavilion Pasadena who puts on all these programs is presenting 50 free shows as they celebrate their tenth year of bringing outstanding artists free of charge to audiences.  The summer festival lasts from June 16th through August 26th and will include such artists as Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, The Watson Twins, Luisa Naita and soul singer Barbara Morrison.  Head over to LevittPavilionPasadena.org for more information and dates.


Crowds at Make Music Pasadena
Crowds at Make Music Pasadena cheer on Grouplove.
photos by picksysticks
Check out last year's Make Music Pasadena:  2011 Make Music Pasadena

Check out more pics from the festival below on our Flickr site:

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