Saturday, July 19, 2008

For Kevin Bronson

It's hard to believe there could have been a better line-up of music Friday night (July 18) in Los Angeles, in spite of competition from the likes of Wolf Parade, Darker My Love, Xu Xu Fang, Hearts of Palm UK.
The Movies, Hocus Pocus (Dios) and Earlimart played to an ever expanding crowd till Spaceland was almost bursting at the seams.

The Movies started things out with singer Tim James seated on a stool (but no less hyper-active) growling out his deep baritone as the rest of the band swirls around him. They are such an audience favorite, they seem to feed on each other. Tim ups the energy, the crowd ups its response, and so it goes from one audience favorite to another. He delivered an impassioned set of songs dedicated to Kevin Bronson, who, in a lunatic decision by the L. A. Times, has been let go in a staff purge that occured there this week. Lunatic because his was often the only voice in the mainstream media to champion the growing local music scene. And now, with the scene exploding, it seems particularly wrong-headed. Kevin was the man of the hour as friends, like Travis Woods of Web in Front, fans and bands gathered round to wish him well.

Bumped into Russell Pollard of Everest between sets, back from their 7 week European tour which sounds like it was really awesome. I'm sure it will come to be known as their First Triumphant European Tour. Great to have them back.

Hunter Costeau and Ethan Skoczylas represented The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra's regular appearance to support all things local. Same with Michael Orendy of Frankel...and on and on, too many to mention, or even recognize!

The next band called themselves Hocus Pocus, but bore a striking resemblance to Dios (or Dios Malos in 2007). In fact it was Dios and they took the audience on that wild ride of unbroken songs I described at their Troubadour show on May 18. I was happy to go along again. They play such proficient classic sounding rock and roll it would have fit quite naturally into the music I was enjoying around, say, 1971. Great guitar, keyboards, vocals and harmonies with magnificent drumming all add up to a quintessential rock show. And they do mostly new material that nobody knows and the audience treats them like old favorites, swaying right along. For a band that's been through all they've been through these last 2 years, they always deliver a highly professional, polished set of top quality music.

Spaceland seemed like a writhing mass of people as Earlimart took their turn for the first night of their 3 week cross-country tour. Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray played a range of songs spanning their entire career featuring some of the best off their new "Hymn and Her" CD, including "Song For" and "Before It Gets Better". Just Aaron, Ariana and a drummer and some pre-recorded backings and they reproduce their rich, dense, lush sound with apparent ease. I thought Aaron sounded particularly strong and assured vocally, with Ariana's icy-smooth voice providing perfect balance. The sheer beauty of it transports you to a trance-like state. The crowd cheered each song as they brought to a close a magnificent night of music and a fitting tribute to Mr. Bronson.

I am so looking forward to seeing Frank Fairfield open for A Hawk and A Handsaw at the Echoplex on Sunday (July 20). I have the feeling it's going to be a special show and I've never even seen either band, but I would highly recommend attending. Frank Fairfield will be opening for Fleet Foxes when they swing through town on their Sept. Oct. U.S. tour so here's a chance to get ahead of the curve.

By the way, Fleet Foxes are set to appear on David Letterman on Monday, August 4. Set your VCR's. This band will be very big, very fast.

Wednesday night (July 23) is Inara George and Van Dyke Parks at Tangier. I expect memorable. (Learned on Mon. July 21, that it's sold out!)


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