Category Archives: TVD Los Angeles

TVD Live Shots: BeachLife Festival, 5/14

BeachLife is quietly becoming one of the premier music festivals in the US. With nearly 40,000 turning out, attendees could not have asked for more over a picture perfect 3-day weekend in beautiful Redondo Beach. Fans from all over the world rocked out to over 55 bands across four unique stages featuring some of the best live music on the planet today. Whether you were into classic rock, alternative, or reggae, there was something for everybody at this year’s festival.

Saturday’s mission was to explore some of the killer concessions BeachLife had to offer in 2022. Upon entering the festival, fans were immediately exposed to tons of killer food and drink options curated to satisfy even the pickiest foodies. I personally dug the Rock & Brews popup adjacent to the Riptide stage, while others I spoke with enjoyed all of the tasty treats found throughout concession alley. I unfortunately succumbed to the Spicy Pie stand on multiple occasions as this pizza was sheer unadulterated pleasure. Regardless of proclivity, food and drink choices were abundant and free flowing all day long!

From a musical perspective, Smashing Pumpkins had the distinct pleasure of headlining BeachLife on Saturday. It was no surprise to the thousands crowding the Hightide stage how amazing their performance truly was (and one that won’t soon be forgotten). Classics such as “Today,” an acoustic version of “Tonight, Tonight,” and “1979” rocked Redondo Beach and the Smashing Pumpkins faithful to their core. In addition, best-in-class acts like Vance Joy and Stone Temple Pilots set fire to their respective setlists and left the capacity crowd wanting more. Special recognition goes out to Michael Franti & Spearhead, Matisyahu, and Donavon Frankenreiter for their unbelievable Day 2 performances.

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TVD Live Shots: BeachLife Festival, 5/13

BeachLife is quietly becoming one of the premier music festivals in the US. With nearly 40,000 turning out, attendees could not have asked for more over a picture perfect, 3-day weekend in beautiful Redondo Beach. Fans from all over the world rocked out to over 55 bands across four unique stages featuring some of the best live music on the planet today. Whether you were into classic rock, alternative, or reggae, there was something for everybody at this year’s festival.

My initial mission on Friday was to get a lay of the land and better understand some of the improvements BeachLife had implemented since last year’s festivities. Right out of the gate, it was clear that concertgoers encountered a much-improved check-in process where fans experienced few (if any) lines heading into the festival grounds. And if check-in efficiency wasn’t enough, attendees probably noticed a few general layout changes that allowed fans to move about the festival effortlessly throughout the day. For me, moving from stage to concessions to restrooms and then back to the action was as simple as I’d ever seen it at a festival (and I’ve been to many).

From a musical perspective, Weezer and 311 co-headlined BeachLife on Friday. These are some of the ’90s finest, and by the reaction of the capacity crowd at both the Hightide and Lowtide Stages, delivered in fine fashion. Weezer ripped classics like “Hash Pipe,” “Undone – The Sweater Song,” and “Say It Ain’t So,” while 311 tore up standards like “Beautiful Disaster,” “Transistor,” and “Down.” In addition, The Black Pumas and Cold War Kids crushed their respective sets with contrasting sounds and styles that clearly illustrate why BeachLife is such an awesome music festival. Special recognition goes out to DREAMERS, Hoist the Colors, and The Aggrolites for their incredible Day 1 performances.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

It feels so good / You lying here next to me / Oh, what a groove / You have no idea how it feels / My hands just won’t keep still / I love you, baby / Oh, I love you, I love you, I love you / I just wanna hold you / Run my fingers through your hair / Ooh / Outta sight

Slight drizzle in the canyon last night. Yes, I know, I’m from a family who likes to chat about the weather. In these parts we’ll take any rain we can get.

On Wednesday my mom texted to wish Susan and me Happy Anniversary! We both laughed, having completely forgotten about that afternoon 15 years ago. Marriage is quite a journey and I’m glad to report I scored a cool chick.

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TVD Live: Cruel World Festival 2022, 5/15

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | Cruel World Festival, which was initially set to make its debut in 2020, will go down in history in 2022 as a pivotal festival for some of the most era-defining bands in modern history who’ve retained their monolithic status.

Powerhouse, genre-originating bands—Devo, Blondie, Bauhaus, Public Image Ltd., and Morrissey—juxtaposed with the descendants of their music, was unlike anything I’ve experienced. Opting to cover Sunday and not Saturday’s show based on the 10 degree temperature difference somehow didn’t make the day any less hot. As we were all prepared to burn in black under the cloudless SoCal sky, this daylit underground party was filled with a joyous, chinoiserie parasol dotted, drama-free crowd. Music was everyone’s priority.

I made the long journey through the gates of the Pasadena Rose Bowl around 12:30 PM just in time catch Soft Kill’s deep bass and lofty lyrics. “We all got lost along the way,” lead singer Tobias Sinclair screamed into the mic during “Whirl.” “Yeah!” I thought, relishing the idea that all of us at this festival have at some point in our lives felt this way and that among this festival was our tribe.

Catching LA-based trio Automatic next, I thought their performance was more suited for this crowd than when I last saw them open for IDLES. I caught up for a brief interview with UK cold wave duo KVB to talk about their proper British castle wedding they recently had “to make the pandemic less shit” and their upcoming tour supporting their latest release, Unity, recorded with legendary My Bloody Valentine producer Andy Savours.

Heading over next to catch Sextile’s high-energy set, they played a brand new song that carried early The Crystal Method and Gang of Four vibes. As the early afternoon rolled on, I stopped at the “Sad Girls” stage to catch the English Beat and revelled in “Mirror in the Bathroom”—a perfect ‘80s ska-pop tune in the middle of the day.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Out of grace / Out of grace, out of style / Out of grace, out of style, can you sit a little while? / Out of dreams / So it seems / The nightmares will greet me at my bed

Shut me up, if you can / Shut me up, take my hand / Shut me up, be a friend, through a random act of kindness

After a couple of weeks of slightly cool weather, strong hot winds plan to invade our canyon. It would be nice to enjoy spring.

So why not? Tons of new releases crowd the internet—call them delayed vinyl releases if we must.

My wish is to enjoy every moment I can spend on a field of dreams.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

There is a happy land where only children live / They don’t have the time to learn the ways / Of you sir, Mr. Grownup

There’s a special place in the rhubarb fields underneath the leaves / It’s a secret place and adults aren’t allowed there, Mr. Grownup / Go away, sir

Last week The Idelic Hour featured an hour of “the class of 77” punk 45s. I guess it was not a coincidence, I started reading the Dalai Lama’s The Art Of Happiness. Putting together the set and then listening back time and again, I was remembering gigs, friends, and the very inspiration that has brought me here. I guess I’m a lucky dude. It only takes and hour of songs to make me truly happy.

Ironically, on a sad note, rock ‘n’ roll lost another friend this week. I don’t want make my little IH column an obituary, but with a few lines I often try to simply celebrate rock ‘n’ roll. So here is a memory from childhood and that “class of 77.”

Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen had moved into the Chelsea Hotel in the summer of ’78. The couple must have been running low on dope money so they set up a few shows at Max’s Kansas City. At that time neither The Sex Pistols or The Clash had played New York City. I would guess many of us had been burned by the Pistols cancellation/rip off at the Elgin Theatre the year before. Maybe it was Sid’s image? That night was unlike any Max’s had seen before or since.

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TVD Live Shots: Black Label Society with Nita Strauss and Jared James Nichols at the House of Blues, 4/30

Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society proved last night (4/30) why they are one of the most incredible rock and roll bands around. Their performance was a non-stop barrage of energy, audience interaction, and guitar solos that had the House of Blues rocking all night long. 

Saturday evening’s Black Label Society show was near flawless. With incredible opening sets from guitar virtuosos Nita Strauss and Jared James Nichols, the show elevated to a whole new level in front of a near capacity crowd at the legendary venue in San Diego. The evening was 100% pure unadulterated madness from beginning to end with no let down whatsoever. Let’s dig in, shall we?

First up was blues guitarist extraordinaire, Jared James Nichols. Equipped with his signature Les Paul, he slayed his 30-minute opening set in fine fashion. This cat’s energy was off the charts as demonstrated by hits such as “Bad Roots,” “Saint or Fool,” and “Shadow Dancer.” My favorite of the evening was Jared’s final song of the night, Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen.” And if that isn’t blues infused rock and roll at its finest, I don’t know what is.

Next to take the stage was Nita Strauss. Some may remember Nita from her early years in The Iron Maidens (an an-all female tribute to Iron Maiden) while others may have recently caught her on tour with Alice Cooper. Regardless of where you first experienced her guitar playing, one would probably agree that Strauss is one of the most electrifying guitarists on the planet today. I watched in awe as she put on a clinic for the thousands in attendance with songs such as “Summer Storm,” “The Show Must Go On” (a Queen cover), and “Our Most Desperate Hour.” Saturday’s performance was genius.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

We are the leaders of tomorrow. / We are the ones to have the fun. / We want control. We want the power. / Not gonna stop until it comes.

We are not Jesus Christ. / We are not fascist pigs. / We are not capitalist industrialists. / We are not communists. / We are the one.

The expression “too cool for school” is bang on for us Sidels. This week my former classmates are having a get together on the upper west side of NYC. Over the past few weeks a chat thread has emerged, 50+ classmates strong. It’s a cocktail hour for the class of 1980. It was great to see so many names; many of us have been in touch. Most are parents. I reached out to Tom Nagorski. We were co-captains of the basketball team and it was fun trading photos. Too my joy, big Tom still hoops it up.

With this “class reunion” mix I want to send my love and positive vibes to all my life long school day pals. All said, mine is “the class of 77.” It’s the year punk broke and changed my world. My reunion took place over the last few nights digging through my old 45 collection. Listening to punk records from the late ’70s makes me happy. So I’m just gonna listen over and over and remember so many “heroes!”

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TVD Live Shots: Tech N9ne with X-Raided, ¡Mayday!, and Joey Cool at Soma, 4/15

Rap shows are always a great time. You have the music, the energy, and the excitement all in one place. But when you add Tech N9ne to the mix, it takes it to a whole new level and then multiplies that by 10. His recent performance at Soma in San Diego was outstanding and one of the best complete shows (regardless of genres) I have seen in years. If you get a chance to see Tech N9ne on his 2022 ASIN9NE Tour, don’t miss it—it’s guaranteed to be a show that you won’t forget for a very long time.

I don’t know about you, but I love live music. Whether it be a huge arena show or an intimate warehouse one-off, there is something about raw musical performances that fire me up. Friday’s show at Soma was no different for me, aside from the fact that one of my favorite artists of all time was taking the stage. I’ve had the privilege of covering Tech N9ne many times over the years, and the one thing I can say about his performances are they are consistently solid on all levels.  This includes sound quality, show production, and the best-in-class support acts he brings out on tour.

Opening up for Tech N9ne at Soma were three outstanding acts:  X-Raided, ¡Mayday!, and Joey Cool.  While each set was only 30 minutes in length, fans were not shortchanged by any means as each artist brought their own swagger to the stage in their own special way. Joey Cool’s rhymes were smooth and electrifying, ¡Mayday! (including Bernz, Wrekonize, and NonMS) brought the Miami heat, and X-Raided added a healthy dose of reality to the Strange Music bill. While many opening acts fall flat in anticipation of the main attraction, these cats were collectively on a higher level. I could see each headlining their own shows based on the sheer talent they exhibited on Friday night.

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TVD Live Shots: Boy Harsher with Troller at The Belasco, 4/19

PHOTOS: MATTHEW BELTER | Jae Matthews and August Muller, the darkwave EBM outfit known as Boy Harsher have amassed a veritable cult following. In 2018 they reissued their early catalogue on their own label, Nude Club, while steadily generating new releases, ensuring their already immortal legacy is kept within their purview. With a sold-out tour stretching until August, Boy Harsher is one of the biggest acts to come out of the electronic underground.

The Belasco’s historic, cavernous ballroom radiated with the best dressed goth and fetish attire in LA as Austin-based opener Troller played for the quickly swelling venue. The crowd was receptive to their shoegaze/dark wave fusion; their share of converts imminent. It was all in anticipation of Boy Harsher taking the stage, and their performance was nothing short of seductive.

Sifting between their 6-year catalogue of music, Matthew’s voice, a crescendo of breathy lulls and high pitch screams, alternated between two microphones cutting through Muller’s synth and drum machines. Their simple algorithm—which could easily come off as basic live—is instead a provocative and sanctifying experience, including one bad ass dance party.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

All of my dreams, they fall and form a bridge / Of memories where I can’t get back / All of my dreams, they fall and form a bridge / Of memories where I can’t get back / To you, you

What if our hard work ends in despair? / What if the road won’t take me there? / Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold / What if to love and be loved is not enough? / What if I fall and can’t bear to get up? / Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold / We could stay gold

Could stay gold / Stay gold

Post Easter egg hunting found my son Jonah and I watching Francis Ford Coppola’s flick The Outsiders. In truth, young dude was too lazy to read the novel cover to cover during spring break. All said, both father and son were moved by S.E. Hinton’s tale of Greasers vs. Socs and the dreamy trio of Ponyboy, Dallas, and Johnny Cade.

Digging through my record collection, it was no surprise that Robert Frost’s poem and this tale of two sides of the railroad tracks that “stay gold” could seep into the subconscious of many of my favorite songwriters.

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TVD Live Shots: Ministry and Melvins at the House of Blues, 4/13

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | In the Melvins’ documentary The Colossus of Destiny: A Melvins Tale, Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys said of the band, “the fact that they get to be the Melvins and do what they want to do and get paid off of it is very rare.” Faith No More’s Mike Patton underscored, “They are a force of nature.”

Doing what one wants and being a force of nature is precisely what the Industrial Strength Tour featuring Ministry, Melvins, and Corrosion of Conformity is all about. Innumerable albums later—Ministry released their 15th studio album last year while Melvins are up to their 25th release—the fact that these bands play for their own headspace and can pack a venue of fans spanning generations is remarkable.

For many at this show, the subculture these bands have created was never a passing phase but vessels for their dark emotions and an extension of themselves that they’ve carried far into adulthood. A recently retired woman next to me explained she was going to spend her freedom following Ministry wherever they play, as she intermittently screamed lead singer Al Jourgensen’s name from the crowd. A salt-and-pepper father with his teenage son hung over a railing appreciating together the sound of  musicians who are dedicated to their craft. And mixed in with the current wave of the SoCal industrial scene was a much older woman with neon yellow-green hair. She looked inspiring.

The bands on this bill are inventors of their genres, making this event not only a seriously amazing rock show but an educational history. Ministry is at the inception of industrial music. The versatile Melvins, although not fully aligned with grunge, are held directly responsible for it, and Corrosion of Conformity is thought to be one the first punk-metal bands. And how is everyone sounding at this stage of their game? Pretty fucking fantastic if you ask me.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I’m all lost in the supermarket / I can no longer shop happily / I came in here for a special offer / A guaranteed personality

I’m all tuned in, I see all the programs / I save coupons from packets of tea / I’ve got my giant hit discotheque album / I empty a bottle, I feel a bit free

The kids in the halls and the pipes in the walls / Make me noises for company / Long distance callers make long distance calls / And the silence makes me lonely

Good Friday in the canyon. It’s mind bending that we’re in mid-April. I’m still re-upping on my 2022 resolution to look at the “half a cup” as full.

Indeed it does feel like warm sunny days lay ahead. Baseball season started and LA has Freddie Freeman. For those not familiar, Freddis is the star who always has a small and a kind word for any base-runner who makes it to first.

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TVD Live Shots: Beartooth, Silverstein, The Devil Wears Prada, and Erra at the House of Blues, 4/5

Beartooth’s recent show at the House of Blues was simply unbelievable. The energy that the band brought to the stage was electric and set the tone for one incredible performance. Playing songs from all four of their studio albums, Caleb Shomo and crew had the entire audience headbanging and crowd surfing throughout the night. It was a truly unmatched experience, and one that fans won’t want to miss out on.

If you somehow did a double take when Beartooth announced it would once again be rolling through Anaheim for a 2-night residency at the House of Blues, you were not alone. Billed as The Below Tour – Part 2, Caleb Shomo and Company pulled out all the stops for its Southern California fans with an incredible performance which included a superb setlist, phenomenal stage show, and some truly special guests to open the evening that were icing to an already tasty cake. Let’s dig into all the juicy goodness, shall we?

Opening up for Beartooth on Tuesday were none other than the legendary Silverstein, metalcore masters, The Devil Wears Prada, and one of my favorite up and coming bands, Erra. Each of these bands played abbreviated sets but used their time wisely in front of a nearly packed house to highlight what makes each so special. What I liked about the openers was that each one built upon the previous band’s energy, creating an electricity that flowed throughout the crowd all night long. Mosh-pits and crowd surfing were standard fare throughout these performances, and it was awesome to see fans having so much fun for what many considered their first night out, post-covid.

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TVD Live Shots: Journey with Toto at the Honda Center, 4/4

If you love Journey, then you were probably at the Honda Center on Monday night for their epic show with Toto. It was one of the venue’s most highly anticipated concerts in recent memory, and I’m here to tell you that it didn’t disappoint. They had the entire arena rocking from start to finish. If you missed out, don’t worry—I’ve got all the details for you below.

I don’t know about you, but I love ’80s arena rock. There is something about it that, if done right, takes the live music experience to a whole new level. Maybe it’s the killer stage shows, the capacity crowds, or perhaps one’s overall familiarity with the music. Regardless of reason, Monday’s twin bill with Journey and Toto was just what the Doctor ordered and crushed on all levels. It’s as if someone lured fans into a massive time-machine and dropped them collectively into the Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles circa 1986.

Opening Monday’s show was the legendary Toto. Most know the band for their massive hits such as “Africa” and “Rosanna.” However, dig a little deeper into their catalog and most rock fans would surely be familiar with other classics such as “I Won’t Hold You Back,” “Georgy Porgy,” and my favorite “Hold the Line.” Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams, and company crushed a 10-song set that sonically was incredible from start to finish. I’d really like to see Toto headlining their own tour in the not-so-distant future as their music is timeless and their catalog one of a kind.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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