Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Silverlake Lounge and "Let's Independent!"

Monday night (July 14) was another of those shows where you feel as if this whole music scene is about to explode. I arrived in time to hear most of the set by I Make This Sound. I've seen them before and I like their indie-friendly, pop music. Some great harmonizing by the two lead singers around tightly constructed melodies

People started to pack in when Fol Chen took the stage delivering one of the best sets I've yet seen from them. This super-talented team of players just gets better and better, and the joy they obviously get from playing is infectious and irresistable. The festive atmosphere intensifies as the band raises the excitement factor with each song. Switching instruments and vocal duties, sometimes all five are singing at once, they trade places with ease as each player seems a multi-instrumentalist. Their sets are always characterized by sublime moments that make you stand back and say, "it just doesn't get any better than this!". They reached that point again Monday.

When Princeton started their set the crowd was overflowing into the street and totally pumped up. Princeton gets a different audience, like one that comes from more mainstream radio airplay. Kind of clean-cut collegiate types but an attentive admiring crowd. Many locals appeared to be looking around wondering, "who are all these people?". And this was a Monday night!

The audience enthusiastically cheered the 21st century Kinks-like rock. And they play it really well. Terrific lead singing from twins Jesse and Matt Kivel. Like their inspiration they combine sharp, witty lyrics with quirky melodies and some songs feel barely two minutes long.

All in all, a pretty electrifying evening with lots of great bands and bloggers in attendance.

Tuesday's "Let's Independent!" installment from Radio Free Silver Lake was a chance to catch three terrific and different sounding bands in that great setting, as Cocteau's "La Belle et la Bete" played on the wall above us (with Japanese subtitles).

The Black Kites played really pretty indie-rock with great vocal and keyboard work by Evelyn Reyes. The band of four, singer/guitarist Alan Petherick, bass player Nikki Nevlin and drummer Marcel Feldmar delivered a really tight set of tunes you couldn't help but bounce or sway to.

Second up was Exit Music who played a real diffused, atmospheric rock - kind of reminded me of Xu Xu Fang crossed with Broken Social Scene. Lead singer, Aleksa Palladino, begins in hushed tone, just coming up through the bottom of the music, finally asserting herself and the song coalesced around her vocal. Nice abstract stuff. Liked the use of the bow on the guitar by Devon Church, too.

Boardner's was pretty packed by now. One of the larger crowds I've seen there in some time and Joe Fielder can be proud so many showed up and were more than willing to pay the nominal admission. And once again it was a beautifully organized event.

I'd seen The Black Pine a couple of years ago at the Echo, but it was also the night I first saw The Parson Red Heads. They dominated the evening, so strongly with their set , that I'm not sure if The Black Pine played before or after but I wasn't paying attention, obviously, because this is an impressive band. It was great to see how good they are live because I've been listening to their recorded work lately and really enjoying it. Some gorgeous, droney-rock, with beautiful violin work. The band of six play a variety of instruments well, loved the drumming. I must get my hands on their CD.

Another great local music night.

I've added a Sunday night concert to my schedule (July 20) as it's A Hawk and a Hacksaw at the Echoplex and I'm just learning about this band led by Jeremy Barnes, percussionist with Beirut. This band plays a similar brand of Balkan-influenced, gypsy-instrumental music and it's brilliant and inventive. I can't wait to see it live. The reason I'm going is because Frank Fairfield is the opening act and he opened for Fleet Foxes the night they played the Echo in June but I got there only in time to see the stunned faces of the audience and to hear Robin Pecknold go on and on about him during Fleet Foxes' set. Naturally that sparked my curiosity and I've since heard from Robin that he's going to open for their September U.S. tour. Check out his myspace page to hear something amazing.


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