Author Archives: Julia Lofstrand

TVD Live Shots: BeachLife Festival,

REVIEW: BRIDGET GARWOOD | The first annual BeachLife Festival in Redondo kicked off Friday with plenty of mellow vibes and sunshine to go around. Situated on the Pacific Ocean near the Redondo Beach marina, you could hardly ask for a more idyllic setting, palm trees, warm sand, and sherbet sunsets were the backdrop for what the festival dubbed, “a huge beach party celebrating our way of life.”

The Southern California way of life was largely acoustic on Friday evening, with the almost-local gentlemen of Slightly Stoopid, hailing from Ocean Beach, switching up their reggae-ska vibes for an even more laid back acoustic set. With beach balls flying in the crowd, Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald strolled onto the Low Tide stage, popped open their plastic beach chairs, and played fan favorites such as “2AM,” bringing special guest Bob Weir on stage just before his headlining performance, to cover “Franklin Tower” by the Grateful Dead, and Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How it Feels.”

Over on the Rip Tide stage Timmy Curran played his folksy tunes with a blues tinge to a crowd happy to groove along. Timmy’s surf music had some great harmonica pieces and lovely harmonies, overall calling to mind a slightly more down to earth Jason Mraz, who would take the stage Saturday evening.

Headlining Friday on the High Tide stage were Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers. Commanding the crowd from his entrance with a jolt of electric guitar, Weir brought the sea of people immediately to their feet. The ease with which Weir rips off his solo runs during “Jack Straw” comes from his years in the spotlight with the Grateful Dead. His raspy vocals and soulful guitar immediately bring to mind a bygone time of hippies dancing in muddy fields, which is not a bad association for the BeachLife Festival to have in just its first year.

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TVD Live Shots: A Special Evening with
The National at the Orpheum, 4/26

REVIEW: CRYSTAL ECKSTADT | This was a night to remember, a more unassuming affair than one might suppose. But this is The National after all, and everything they do is unassuming—yet it’s not. To channel rock music into the gamut of existence and its myriad of emotions is what they do. As such, it’s not surprising then that they teamed up with Academy Award-nominated director, screenwriter, and graphic artist Mike Mills to create a short film starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander.

I Am Easy to Find is a superb emotive piece tracing the fragments of a life. The score created by The National is the foundation for their new album, also entitled I Am Easy To Find. A five-city tour, “A Special Evening with The National,” that is drawing near its conclusion, gives the audience a chance to screen the film and hear the much-anticipated new music.

After the screening, a Q&A is hosted by Carrie Brownstein with Matt Berninger, Bryce Dessner, Alicia Vikander, and Mike Mills on the panel. Regarding the making of the film, Vikander said that it was one of the best artistic experiences she’s ever had. Following the Q&A, The National then took the stage joined by both Feist and Phoebe Bridgers.

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TVD Live Shots: Local Natives at Zebulon, 4/22

REVIEW: CRYSTAL ECKSTADT | After almost a decade-long run, Zebulon, the former Willamsburg, NY venue, closed its doors in 2012 and relocated to Frogtown, one of LA’s up-and-coming areas that’s creating its own music scene. Local Natives are in all senses of the word…locals here. They got their start in Silverlake and have stayed true to their local roots.

The band invited their fans on Instagram to an unusual listening party for their latest album, Violet Street, released on April 26th. Just for a few hours, The Los Feliz Car Wash was renamed the Megaton Car Wash (“Megaton Mile” being the 5th song from Violet Street). At the heart of the city of Los Angeles are a few mainstays from the past: obscure burger joints, doughnut shops, and throwback car washes that seem to line most streets. For a local band tapping into what signifies their city, a car wash was a novel choice.

Those lucky enough to get word of the event were treated with headphones to listen to Violet Street as they entered into a virtual car wash experience, followed by free tickets to the performance at Zebulon later that night.

Fans had the opportunity to get excited for what was to come and hear many favorites. Opening with “Sun Hands” from their 2010 debut album Gorilla Manor, the vibe of the crowd was already one of welcome arms.

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TVD Live Shots:
Cal Jam 2018, 10/6

Cal Jam was a glorious weekend filled with rock and roll, food, comedy—and a few legendary surprises. The festival, in its second year, sprawled across Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino, California.

There was truly something for everyone to enjoy; camping, free carnival rides, a comedy stage, a water park, and a Foo Fighters museum. The all-star lineup included Foo Fighters, Iggy Pop with Post Pop Depression, Tenacious D, Garbage, Greta Van Fleet, Deer Tick, Gang of Youths, and Yungblud.

The rumors were true and as luck would have it, the Foo Fighters closed their set with six Nirvana songs. They were joined by Joan Jett, Deer Tick’s John McCauley, and Krist Novoselic from Giants of the Trees. Other highlights included the ageless Iggy Pop featuring Josh Homme and Post Pop Depression, crowd favorite Garbage, and the young and bright talent of Greta Van Fleet.

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TVD Live Shots: Phoenix with Giorgio Poi at the Fonda Theatre, 9/10

REVIEW: CRYSTAL ECKSTADT | On the third night of a five-night sold out show at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, for a Phoenix fan, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. The Fonda, a small and intimate 1920s art deco theater in the heart of Hollywood, offers a proximity to performers that other venues just can’t beat. Phoenix’s fans soaked up every minute of the bands electric energy, as a lite brite heart with the words “Phoenix Ti Amo” inscribed in the center pulsated in flashing colors.

Before the show started, fans were welcome to hang out on the terrace and enjoy classic Italian cocktails: Negroni and Campari and Soda, along with a local pizza and gelato station, a welcomed and cool departure from the usual concession stands.

Giorgio Poi, the opener hailing from Italy, stunned the crowd with a flute solo during a dark melodic instrumental session that was soul evoking. As the crowd awaited the change of stage, a light guided our direction to the right side of the wall, where a pretty woman in a men’s tuxedo attire welcomed Phoenix to the stage in Italian.

“J-Boy,” from Ti Amo was the opening song bringing in bright lights, deep base lines, and their familiar electro pop feeling. The first half of the show brought the audience to their feet as favorites like “Lasso,” “Entertainment,” and “Lisztomania” came right after another. In, all they played 20 songs, combining a couple of songs together: “Too Young”/ “Girlfriend” and went back to basics “If I Ever Feel Better”/ “Funky Squaredance” from their earlier albums Alphabetical (2004) and United (2000). In the middle, a version of “Sunskrupt!,” which is a combination of “Love Like a Sunset Part I & Part II,” that was just spectacular. There was something for everyone at this show.

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TVD Live Shots:
FITNESS and Wild Moccasins at the
Black Cat, 7/15

Los Angeles based FITNESS is an exciting new project featuring music masterminds Max Collins of Eve 6 and Kenny Carkeet, formerly of Awolnation. Veterans of the music industry, Collins and Carkeet have both experienced great commercial success and popularity with their former bands as well as from songwriting for other artists.

The duo have been close friends and writing songs as a team for several years. Two years ago they decided to launch FITNESS, a labor of pure love, and a creative outlet to really write the kind of songs they wanted to write. No rules, no expectations, no bullshit.

I was pleased to catch their set at the Black Cat in Washington, DC over the weekend, and the room was packed. The Black Cat is a legendary punk rock club in the District and a perfect venue to hear the band. It’s always a treat to see such an explosive show in an intimate setting.

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TVD Live Shots: Steel Pulse, The Celebration
of Life Concert for Steve “Grizzly” Nisbett at the Fonda Theater, 5/23

Grammy Award winning British reggae legends, Steel Pulse played a special show at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles last week. The “Celebration of Life Concert” was a memorial and tribute to their late drummer, Steve “Grizzly” Nisbett.

Steve came from a large family, and was born and raised in the Caribbean. At the age of 9 his family moved to Birmingham, England where he started playing drums and percussion as a teenager. He joined Steel Pulse in 1977, right before the release of their debut album, Handsworth Revolution. Surprisingly, he had minimal experience playing reggae before joining the band, however he remained their primary drummer until 2001 when he was forced to retire due to health reasons. He passed away in the beginning of 2018 at the age of 69.

The event was hosted by producer Native Wayne (Wayne Jobson), and co-hosted by tour manager and concert marketing agent, Anjali Raval. Steel Pulse performed the entirety of Handsworth Revolution as well as several others classics from their vast catalog. Toward the end of the show, Steve’s brother took a moment to appear on stage and delivered a thoughtful and emotional tribute. He also announced that the proceeds from the evening were to be donated to a sickle-cell anemia charity.

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TVD Live Shots: LCD Soundsystem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Young Fathers at the Hollywood Bowl, 5/5

LCD Soundsystem with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed two nights at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

The band has staged a triumphant comeback since the release of American Dream in late 2017. Their fourth studio album achieved both critical success and a Grammy for the single ” Tonite.” It was also their first number one album in the United States. Frontman James Murphy is a captivating and energetic performer. From the first song “You Wanted A Hit,”he had the sold-out crowd up and on their feet, dancing to every moment.

Fellow New York rockers the Yeah Yeah Yeahs warmed the crowd up with an explosive set, proving once again that they are one of the best live bands in the world.

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TVD Live Shots: Fall Out Boy, Blackbear, Jaden Smith at The Forum, 11/17

Fall Out Boy’s North American Mania tour rolled into the Forum in Los Angeles on Friday (11/17). Opening acts included hip hop artist Blackbear and rapper/actor Jaden Smith. The tour is in support of Fall Out Boy’s seventh studio album, Mania, which was originally set to be released in September. However, over the summer the band announced they would be pushing the date back because they felt rushed, and that the album was not ready.

Fall Out Boy was formed in a suburb of Chicago in 2001. Members include frontman and rhythm guitarist Patrick Stump, drummer Andy Hurley, bassist Pete Wentz, and Joe Trohman on lead guitar. Earlier this year the band also launched the Fall Out Boy Fund, as a way to give back to the city of Chicago. They started by donating money to Back to the Roots, a group that brings gardening and food education to elementary school children in the area.

They opened their set with “The Phoenix,” and continued with catchy and infectious hit after hit, including “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” “Dance, Dance,” and “I Don’t Care.” The band made use of a runway that stretched through the entire length of the arena—flames erupted behind them and streamers were shot out of cannons into the air. They played three songs and a drum solo on top of two large platforms that rose above the audience, the crowd cheering, dancing, and singing along with every word.

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TVD Live Shots: The Drums, Methyl Ethel at the Fonda Theatre, 11/2

The Drums supported by Aussie rockers Methyl Ethel played three nights at the The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Drums are an American indie pop/rock band based in New York City, founded in 2009 by current frontman Jonny Pierce and Jacob Graham. Earlier in 2017 Graham announced his departure from the group on good terms. Their forth album, Abysmal Thoughts, was released a few months later.

At the first of the three Fonda shows on Thursday, Pierce wore a jumpsuit that proudly displayed his most recent album title. Rightfully so, as he wrote and produced the entire thing himself. He danced and spun across the stage, reaching out into the enthusiastic young crowd again and again.

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TVD Live Shots: The Interrupters, SWMRS, Sharp Shock at the
Fonda Theatre, 10/28

The Interrupters is a ska punk band from Los Angeles, formed in 2011. Members include Aimee Interrupter on lead vocals, and brothers Kevin Bivona on guitar, Jesse Bivona on drums, and Justin Bivona on bass. Their second album, Say It Out Loud, was produced by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, and was released on Hellcat Records earlier this year.

Last weekend The Interrupters played to a full house at the Fonda Theatre, supported by openers SWMRS and Sharp Shock. Obviously a hometown show, the audience was filled with dedicated fans, family, and friends of the band who danced and sang along to every word. They took a minute to pause and thank the crowd for coming and to remind everyone that we were all here to celebrate music and its ability to unite and connect people. The Interrupters will continue touring this fall in South America opening for Green Day.

SWMRS played a killer set. They warmed the crowd up by starting a mosh pit, and also came dressed ready to celebrate Halloween. SWMRS are a young punk rock band from the Bay Area. Members include Joey Armstrong, Cole Becker, Max Becker, and Seb Mueller. Their latest release, Drive North, was remastered and re-released when the band signed with Fueled By Ramen in 2016.

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TVD Live Shots: Future Islands at the Greek, 9/19

Baltimore-based Future Islands released their fifth album, The Far Field, earlier in 2017. Since then they’ve been selling out shows all over Europe and the United States, and have recently performed at Coachella, Bonnaroo, and the Glastonbury Festival. On September 19, they played to a packed house in Los Angeles at the Greek Theatre.

FR/BLCK/PR, brainchild of Los Angeles rapper Busdriver, opened the show.

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TVD Live Shots: Dreamcar and Superet at the Fonda Theatre, 8/12

Los Angeles’ supergroup Dreamcar played two nights to a packed house at the Fonda Theatre last weekend.

Dreamcar features No Doubt members Tony Kanal, Adrian Young, and Tom Dumont, as well as frontman Davey Havok from AFI, Blaqk Audio, and XTRMST. They recently played Coachella, and have sold out nearly every other show since then.

Superet opened on both nights. They are a newly formed rock band also from Los Angeles. Members include Matt Blitzer, Alex Fischel, Patrick Kelly, Sam KS, and Isaac Tamburino. Superet debuted their first single, “Pay It Later” earlier this spring.

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TVD Live Shots: Glam Skanks at the Redwood Bar, 7/1

Glam Skanks are creating quite a buzz around Los Angeles. They recently returned home to LA after a very successful UK tour in support of Adam Ant. I went to catch up with them at their intimate homecoming show at the Redwood Bar. It was a high-energy evening filled with glitter, glam-rock, and girl power. These ladies rock HARD and their show is amazing. Really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for them. It is undoubtably, bright.

First in the evening was Scant Regard. Scant Regard is the solo project of mastermind guitarist Will Crewdson who has also played with Adam Ant, Rachel Stamp, and Bow Wow Wow. His set blew my mind. It was a punk-rock spaghetti-electro-western soundtrack I never wanted to end.

The Schizophonics played a set as well. They are an explosive trio from San Diego. I haven’t enjoyed a live set as much as theirs in a very long time. Trust me on this one. Go. See. Their. Show.

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TVD Live Shots: LP at
the Echo, 3/7

LP, also known as Laura Pergolizzi, had been working as a songwriter in New York City for years before she made the move to Los Angeles. It was around that time she started to put more attention and focus into playing her own material. 

The first time I heard LP was four years ago. It was my friend Oliver’s birthday AND we were sitting on the bus after a show. He mentioned that he had also been playing drums for “this bad-ass chick”  back in LA, and they recently finished recording a live EP. As soon as I heard the tracks my jaw dropped to the floor and I thought, “Wow, this woman really is something special…”

The title track from this live EP, “Into the Wild” ended up landing in a Citibank commercial. This exposure and success helped push her career forward and two years later she released her first full length album, Forever For Now. Most recently LP has released another five song EP, in preparation for a second full length release on Vagrant Records. She is also preforming every Monday in March for a residency at the Echo in Los Angeles.

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