Category Archives: TVD Los Angeles

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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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I could have loved you, girl, like a planet / I could have chained your heart to a star / But it really doesn’t matter at all / No it really doesn’t matter at all / Life’s a gas

I could have built a house on the ocean / I could have placed our love in the sky / But it really doesn’t matter at all / No it really doesn’t matter at all / Life’s a gas

I could have turned you into a priestess / I could have burned your fate in the sand / But it really doesn’t matter at all / No it really doesn’t matter at all / Life’s a gas

But it really doesn’t matter at all / No it really doesn’t matter at all / Life’s a gas / I hope it’s going to last

Yesterday was April 7th. My dad would have been 88. Now, a day later, I feel much the same as the last time I saw him, speechless.

All I can write is that a couple of weeks ago I heard his voice in a dream. I woke up and wondered if his voice would remain with me—the thought that has been with me since that night. I would say my dad was really never a big music fan. I didn’t really plan this playlist of songs with him in mind but when I sat and reflected on my dad’s huge New York City life, the T. Rex song above did feel appropriate.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I pity the country
 / I pity the state / 
And the mind of a man
 / Who thrives on hate

 / Small are the lives / 
Of cheats and of liars
 / Of Bigoted newspress
 / Fascist town criers

 / Deception annoys me / 
Deception destroys me
 / The Bill of rights throws me
 / Jails they all know me

 / Frustrated are churchmen / 
The saving-of-soul men
 / The Tinker the tailor / 
The Colonial governor / 

They pull and they paw me / 
They’re seeking to draw me / 
Away from the roundness
of the life /

A friend and co-collaborator just texted me: “It’s the little victories.” Oh my god, so true!

This morning I woke up a touch frantic, not really sure if spring break just ended or is about to start. I’m open to the possibility that winter is over, or maybe it’s Groundhog Day? Was is just St. Patrick’s Day? It seems like I saw ugly people in green roaming the Strand shit-faced weekends back.

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TVD Live Shots: Nation of Language and Glove at the Lodge Room, 3/20

While we were away.Ed.

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | Nation of Language is the band I am most excited about. They have captivated me, stolen my heart, and infiltrated my dreams. Their music taps into my internal state: questions of existence, post-punk and new wave motifs, ruminations of self and love.

Maybe we are all the same no matter what our choice in music, but this concoction gets me. “September Again,” off of their Introduction, Please is a song I’ve had on repeat. Repeat is an unusual experience for me. I have not found myself in a loop like this since I discovered Joy Division’s, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and The National. Releasing Introduction, Please (2020) and their latest album A Way Forward (2021) during the pandemic could have shelved any emerging artist, so I have also learned not to hype up new music I come across until I see it live. I feared an anti-climax.

Openers, Glove, a 4-piece post-punk outfit presented a clear message. As Batcave progenies, the influence of Wire and Bauhaus is there. Cohesive and stylistically balanced, they are a steadfast part of the post-punk revival scene that seems to, judging by the crowd, have interest from a multi-generation of fans.

Nation of Language had a two-night residency at the Lodge Room in Highland Park. This is a pivotal moment as the band is on the brink of taking off. The crowd knows it and the band feels it. There is no label PR ploy generating this buzz, it’s stemming from radio shows and DJs genuinely gunning for them solely because they are fans.

Last October saw them performing a live session on Seattle’s KEXP. January brought a performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with “Across That Fine Line.” At the Lodge Room, KCRW’s own Travis Holcombe had a DJ set before and after their show. Many recognize their imminent ascension and want to be a part of it, myself included. I covered the first night for TVD, and by the night’s end I made sure I had a ticket for night two.

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TVD Live Shots:
Flogging Molly with Vandoliers and Russkaja at the Hollywood Palladium, 3/17

While we were away.Ed.

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | I didn’t know what to expect when I agreed to cover Flogging Molly at the Hollywood Palladium on Saint Patrick’s Day. “Are you into Flogging Molly?” I asked a guy next to me. “Seasonally,” he smiled.

Los Angeles based with most of its members from Detroit, Dublin-born guitarist/frontman Dave King is actually Irish. With their start as the resident Monday night band at LA’s Molly Malones, they’ve outgrown the bar band label and routinely sell-out large venues, even holding their own annual Salty Dog Caribbean Cruise featuring a line-up of legendary punk musicians. They are not a gimmicky Irish/punk band, but a group of talented musicians with a 20-year career who sound remarkable to this day.

I hold the same truth for the night’s two openers. The first, country-punk Texas natives Vandoliers—who go by a brand of “shithole country” as listed in their IG bio—sang a song about smoking cigarettes in the rain. They sounded great. The second opener, Russkaja—a polka-punk Slavic outfit with a metal undertone who hail from Vienna—brought lots of brass including a 100 year old tuba on stage. Drinks flying across the room, a fuck Putin message, and a cover of Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” and I’d say that their set covered all the bases for the we are pacifists with no fucks given message they wanted to impart.

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TVD Live Shots: Pixies with The Clockworks at the House of Blues, 3/16

While we were away.Ed.

Fans, concertgoers, and music lovers of all kinds were treated to a spectacular show by the iconic band at a sold-out performance Wednesday night, 3/16. The Pixies’ setlist spanned their entire career and highlighted why they have withstood the test of time. From classics like “Bone Machine” to newer tracks like “All the Saints,” the Pixies put on an unforgettable show. If you weren’t able to make it to the House of Blues in Anaheim, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge Pixies fan. Their indie/punk sound resonated with me during my formidable years and still, to this day, they continue to hold a special place in my heart. When it was announced they would be kicking off their world tour with a small set of warm up shows—one being here in Southern California—I knew I had to go. It would be my first live Pixies show, and I was fired up to be front and center to catch this legendary group in all their glory.

Kicking off the evening was a killer band out of Ireland known as The Clockworks. This four-piece ensemble has taken the European post-punk music scene by storm and are making a name for themselves here in the US through raw, engaging music that immediately translates into highly energetic live performances. They come across as very unassuming when they take the stage, yet immediately transform into high-octane rockers that bring it from the very first note to their final bow onstage. And if you don’t believe me, take a quick listen to “Endgame,” “The Future is Not What It Was,” and “Fingers” on your favorite streaming service. I think you’ll immediately find that The Clockworks are the real deal and worthy of the high praise they are beginning to experience.

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TVD Live Shots: Sevendust with Tetrarch and Dead Poet Society at the House of Blues, 3/15

While we were away.Ed.

As soon as the lights went down, the packed Anaheim House of Blues started chanting “SE-VEN-DUST!” in anticipation of one of Atlanta’s most successful hard rock bands taking the stage. The band did not disappoint, opening with “T.O.A.B.” and continuing to rock the near capacity crowd all night long. Sevendust proved why they’ve been around for over two decades—the energy was palpable from start to finish as singer Lajon Witherspoon urged the crowd to get louder and guitarist Clint Lowery inciting moshing and headbanging. 

Sevendust ripped off a blistering 16-song set on Tuesday night (3/15) that included 2001’s critically acclaimed Animosity in its entirety. Their inspired performance was just what the doctor ordered and allowed—if, just for a few fleeting moments, fans from all walks of life were to feel human again in spite of all the tension the world faces today. And who doesn’t want to feel good after a good old-fashioned rock and roll show? Let’s dig into the evening’s festivities.

Opening for Sevendust on Tuesday evening was Dead Poet Society and Tetrarch. Dead Poet Society took the stage first as legions of Sevendust fans were initially flowing into the House of Blues. While the opening of their performance seemed a bit docile, the energy from their set increased 10-fold as the floor began to fill in. These guys fed off the crowd’s energy and the last few songs of their performance were excoriating. You could tell fans were into it, and Dead Poet Society reacted in kind. Overall, a solid set from DPS and I’m looking forward to digging into their latest release sooner than later.

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TVD Live Shots:
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis at the Orpheum Theater, 3/10

While we were away.Ed.

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | If you want to see the original hipsters and their contemporary counterparts, copious amounts of black, and the counterculture royalty of Los Angeles all under one roof, the Nick Cave and Warren Ellis show at The Orpheum was the place to be. A few Vampire’s Wife dresses, a formal line designed for the edgier woman by Susie Cave, Nick Cave’s Wife, floated across the art deco theater setting a certain elegant mood.

In our seats, the crowd aware that it was there to see a legend, settled into a reverent mood. A sedentary Warren Ellis sat with his synthesizer strewn across his lap bringing forth the somber arrangements of “Spinning Song” for the opening as an imposing Nick Cave, in his as expected black suit, appeared to much applause, making his way to a small platform illuminated in neon pink lighting built off of the main stage for him. A three-person choir swayed behind him.

From his preacher’s podium, the 21-song set was comprised mostly of Ghosteen (2019), an album referred to by Cave as a “migrating spirit” that delved into the loss of his son; and Carnage (2021), the first album that Nick Cave and Warren Ellis recorded together as a duo/side project during the lockdowns. A Bad Seeds member since the mid-1990s, Warren Ellis is an exceptional multi-instrumentalist who has fused a symbiotic relationship with Cave over the years. Without the weight of heavy instrumentation, the dichotomy between the cathedral-like beauty of Ghosteen and the more violent Carnage captivated the venue from beginning to end with a resplendent spiritual-like presence in this non-denominational service.

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