Dion’s Natural Talent and Charisma Shine Through

The Roxy in West Hollywood is famous for being one of the great rock venues on the Sunset Strip, along with Whisky A Go-Go and The Viper Room. However, since Goldenvoice started programming The Roxy, shows have tiered away from rock and more towards Rhythm and Blues. I bring this up because The Roxy is a terrible venue, in my humble opinion, for RnB acts. The sound booth and sound engineer are located behind the stage which makes it almost impossible for artists to adjust their volume and reverberation on the fly. You can image that a vocalist without any time to test the mics out on stage would encounter some difficulty. But, despite all the sound issues, Kyle Dion’s natural talent and charisma shone through.

Salute to Rory from The Joe Budden Podcast for introducing me to Kyle Dion in one of his sleepers (songs that are being slept on). In a 50 minute set, Dion demonstrated an exceptional falsetto and a unique lyrical talent. Hold on to Me is his breakout streaming song, but Cool Side Of The Pillow is where his personality really shines. His performing style is akin to Anderson Paak’s and I expect his core audience will reflect a similar demo: hipster millennials. Unfortunately, the headliner of the night brought out a completely different audience. As a result, I doubt Dion will build a significant audience off of this tour. ICM, his agency, needs to do a better job of placing him with an artist who has a similar core audience. That being said, I really enjoyed Dion’s overall performance and look forward to seeing him as a headliner the next time he is in town.

Rating:  7/10

It’s Time To Let STP Go

Stone Temple Pilots (STP) is currently on tour, promoting their self-titled EP with lead singer Jeff Gutt of X-factor fame. STP is my favorite rock band from the 90’s, so I was beyond hyped to see the band play at The Rose in Pasadena. The crowd was possibly more entertaining than the performers. There was a mix of sober former rock fiends, drunk 40-year-old’s and the oldest groupies I have ever seen. It was a cautionary tale for any youth who may think living it up in your late teens and early 20’s doesn’t have lasting consequences. Unfortunately, I was paying more attention to the audience because there wasn’t much entertainment to be seen on stage.

It is undeniable that Dean DeLeo, Eric Kretz and Robert DeLeo have the musical chops to technically master any rock music that they encounter. Dean, in particular, had some excellent solos. But, there was a hell of a lot missing. There was no tribute to Scott Weiland, no effort to connect with the audience, no soul. Moreover, both the audience and the band looked like they couldn’t wait for it to be over. Bottom line, if you are looking to reminisce about Stone Temple Pilots, head over to Whisky A Go-Go on Tuesday nights for Ultimate Jam Night.

The Rose Pasadena
March 8, 2018
Review: 2/10

Stone Temple Pilots
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stpband/
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2UazAtjfzqBF0Nho2awK4z

Anderson East Review – El Rey Theatre – March 1, 2018

For those who love tennis, you may know that Roger Federer is famous for bringing back net play in men’s tennis. The majority of men’s players had reverted to making moves from the baseline in the late 2000’s. But, Federer wasn’t afraid to get right in his opponents face and take a chance at failing by doing something unconventional at the time. It takes tremendous courage and an even greater ego to take a stand like that. Similarily, Anderson East’s performing style is almost alien in a sea of artists who rotate band members like their outfits and stand at least 10 feet away from the audience. East may be one of the last rhythm and blues artists that consistently gets right up to the crowd and engages with the audience and his band. It’s what make him one of the most impressive live performers out there, despite not having the most pristine vocals or unique lyrics.

I saw East perform at the Troubadour two years ago and what struck me instantly when he arrived on stage at the El Rey Theatre was that he had managed to retain the same incredible musicians in his band (an almost impossible feat) and his earnestness is still infectious. Anderson projects himself as a genuinely good person who is grateful to be on tour with people he loves, doing what he loves. But, it is clear to anyone with eyes that he is hurting. Gossip blogs I read after the concert indicate the hurt is personal. Perhaps that is why his ballads such as If You Keep Leaving Me and King For A Day seemed to connect more than his more upbeat singles Girlfriend and Devil In Me.

The last time I left an Anderson East concert, I danced to his songs for at least a week. This time, I left tearing up and reflecting on life and past relationships. It is a testament to East’s authenticity that he can evoke such different emotions at two different concerts. You never know what you’re going to get with him and that’s what makes it worth seeing this Alabama native again and again.

Review: 8.5/10

Anderson East Socials:
http://www.andersoneast.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andersoneast
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/andersoneast
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/andersoneast
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/andersoneast

Coachella-Bound The Marías Know Exactly Who They Are

I’ve been wanting to interview The Marías since I saw them in August at The Study in Hollywood. It was a long night of listening to some mediocre bands and a couple of great bands…a typical music showcase night. I was persuaded to stick around to see a little known band called The Marías by my friend Tracy from Of The Dark I Dare. I did not regret it. The Marías absolutely entranced me. Lead singer Maria has this aura of mystique and self-assuredness that is incredibly alluring and the band overall is unlike any other band I have seen in this market. I wanted to know more.

  1. Where do you see The Marías going in the next year?

Maria: Continuing to write music, interacting with our fans and playing shows. Hopefully we’ll play an overseas show soon, as a lot of our listeners are outside of the U.S.

  1. Your sound captivated me because I haven’t heard anything like it in LA. What’s a contemporary band or musician that inspires you?

Josh: Thank you! We’re inspired by a lot of music, new and old. Tame Impala, Little Dragon, Andy Shauf to name a few.

  1. There seems to be an effortless transition between English and Spanish in the songs. How is that effortlessness achieved in the writing of the songs?  

Maria: Spanish is my first language, so it definitely comes naturally in terms of writing and singing in Spanish. I listened to a lot of Latin music growing up as well. But I also listened to a lot of other music. So having songs in both languages reflects who I am.

  1. What’s your inspiration behind your look, particularly your outfits?

Maria: I’ve always been drawn to clothing that has character and a story behind it. It’s empowering wearing something that belonged to my mom, grandmother or another strong female figure and wearing it today.

  1. Congrats on the spot on the Coachella lineup! How are you feeling about that opportunity?

Josh: Thank you! It’s honestly a dream come true. And we’re incredibly thankful for the opportunity. We’re just stoked to be playing the same festival that some of our favorite bands are also playing, like Mild High Club.

…………………………….

Last year, The Marías released their first EP Superclean Vol. 1. The overall feel is a dreamy, edgy sound that fluidly goes back and forth between English and Spanish. The standout songs are Basta Ya and Only in My DreamsKeep an eye out for The Marías next EP Superclean Vol. 2. 

The Marías Socials:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themariasmp3/
Instagram: @themarias.us
Website: http://themarias.us
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5XX1xVOP61GDQCGaZMLjhO

Featured Photo Credit: Kyle Drew

Read The Fine Print on Coachella’s Lineup

The number of music festivals in Southern California has exploded in the past couple of years. FYF, Camp Flog Gnaw, Day N Night, Music Tastes Good and Rolling Loud are just a couple of festivals that are now staples in the Southern California music market. With so much great festivals here, Coachella has become much more of a destination for out-of-state concertgoers than a local attraction. It is no surprise, then, that the top of the lineup is a slew of mainstream artists who are sure to attract the casual concert-goer. However, take out your magnifying glass and read the fine print: that’s where a lot of great up and coming bands lie. Here are a couple of our favorites:

6LACK
6LACK has been around the hip hop scene for a couple of years, but just starting headlining major venues and festivals late last year. His style of hip-hop – deep, raw, unromanticized – has connected in a tremendous way with the youth. 6LACK’s live show packs a punch as well. Don’t miss his set at Coachella.

Elohim
The always elusive Elohim is a EDM force to be reckoned with. She produces, writes and performs without baring her face. We remember seeing her at a showcase at The Echo a couple of years ago and being mesmerized by her stage presence and music. Glad to see her just getting stronger and stronger as the years go by.

Kamiyah
Oakland native and part of the XXL 2017 Freshman Class, Kamiyah is respected by rappers in the Bay and LA alike. She comes from the Kehlani and G-eazy era in Oakland music, so she’s in good company and has got backing.

Russ
Russ is true phenomena of the soundcloud era. He stands alone without much support from other successful rappers. Some may despise his controversial attitude, but no one can refute the fact that Russ has organically created a core following that packs arenas to capacity.

The Marias
Psychedelic-soul band, The Marias, have it all: an intriguing brand, sound, mystique and a solid band. Watch this space for a forthcoming interview with them!

Music You Should See: January 4 – 12

Happy New Year! Here’s some live music gems that we highly recommend seeing:

Battlecat + Friends
A West Coast legend, Battlecat is known for being an integral part of creating the “West Coast” sound. He’s mostly behind-the-scenes, but we’ve been hearing great things about his live shows for years. Look out for some special SPECIAL appearances at this one.

The Echoplex
Thursday, January 4, 2018
$20
https://www.ticketfly.com/event/1618944-battlecat-live-los-angeles/

Flat Worms, Pow!, The Mad Walls, Cat Scan, Urgent Care
Bring your earplugs for this one! If you’re in the mood for some head-banging punk rock on Wednesday, The Echo is the place to be. Be sure to RSVP at DoLA beforehand to get in for FREE.

The Echo
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Free w/ RSVP
https://www.spacelandpresents.com/event/1605235-flat-worms-pow-mad-walls-los-angeles/

Chief Keef
We can’t tell you how many time we’ve showed up for a Chief Keef show that ended up being cancelled. If (and this is a strong IF) Chief Keef shows up for this rare appearance, he is sure to tear the roof off (not literally…we hope). The Observatory famously flew Gucci Mane in on a private jet, so he could perform at Beach Goth in 2016. Let’s hope they won’t have to pull those strings to get Keef to show up!  

The Observatory
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
$20
http://www.observatoryoc.com/shows/7926295/chief-keef/

Dezzy Hollow
From Oceanside, CA, bilingual rapper Dezzy Hollow has gained major buzz on YouTube. He’s got some interesting collaborations under his belt and his style does not fit in with the current mainstream rap sound. But, it feels real and authentic to us; that means he’s worth seeing.

The Roxy Theatre
Friday, January 12, 2018
$15
http://www.goldenvoice.com/#/event/347894

Get On Your Radar:

Ty Segall
The Teragram
January 26 (sold out), 27 (sold out), 28
https://www.teragramballroom.com/event/1603514-ty-segall-los-angeles

Dave East
El Rey Theatre
January 30, 2018
http://www.goldenvoice.com/#/event/347942

Kasey Anderson Deserves A Second Chance

In the late 2000’s, Portland-based Kasey Anderson was a rising Americana star, garnering praise from some of the top lyricists of our time. Unfortunately, Kasey may be best known for “plead[ing] guilty in 2014 to charges of bilking nearly $600,000 from investors, many of them his friends.”[1] Drugs and mental illness contributed to his decisions in the past. Today, Kasey is out of jail, sober and getting back on his feet in Portland.

Earlier this year, he released a live album Sideways. Kasey still posses magical songwriting talent that is on par with the Jason Isbell’s of the world. The depths of emotion that some of these songs evoke reminds me why Americana is a genre that is best listened to live.

Anderson’s may want to leave his old hits such as Don’t Look Back and I Was a Photograph in the past. He seems to connect more deeply with the newer songs, especially Every Once in a While and The Lucky Ones.

Anderson may be one of the hardest people for the music community to forgive, but I for one am glad that we live in a society that allows people to change, grow and prove us wrong. I hope Kasey continues to prove us wrong.

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3mUijy5q4rM8N6wc5HH4lX
Every Once in a While: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VAKKGxh0V

Spare Parts For Broken Hearts: Gritty, Soulful, Undeniably Talented

Silverlake and Echo Park is home to the best kept secret in Los Angeles: Free Music Mondays. Every Monday, Spaceland Presents (programmer of The Echo, Echoplex and The Regent) and The Satellite give a chance for emerging artists to showcase their skills.

Earlier this month, female-fronted collective Play Like A Girl presented artists who are part of their record label at The Satellite. Long Beach grunge rockers Spare Parts For Broken Hearts was my standout favorite of the night. Lead singer and lead guitar player Sarah Green, in particular, captivated me. Gritty, soulful and unique, Green’s voice and guitar skills exhibit her natural musicality. Her style of performance is reminiscent of Dead Sara‘s Emily Armstrong. SP/BH’s standout songs thus far are Pleasure Delay and Ever (video below). 

Sarah has a strong vision for SP/BH as you can see in her interview with us. In an industry and genre that has been historically difficult for female artists, developing a successful female-fronted rock band is no easy feat. It is clear that Sarah has the experience and perspective to steer SP/BH in the right direction.

How did you all meet and come together as a band?
Recently, Jessica Lankford has been playing drums for SP/BH and I have been friends with her for years. We’ve also worked together through various productions within the Long Beach music scene throughout the years. Jonny Cifuentes has also been joining on bass, he has been a fan of SP/BH for years and I’m happy we all get to play together.

How would you describe your style of music? Heavy, sad & loud.

Why did you get into music? Why did you choose to play your style of music?
I got into music because I have an innate need to express myself so that my feelings aren’t lost on anything or anyone. I’ve always felt too much or nothing at all, I think both are important when creating, it’s finding that line over and over between the two feelings. I guess I didn’t really choose the style of music I play in SP/BH, I just like intensity. The kind of energy that kills you and keeps you alive at the same time, I like that style.

Where do you want your band to be in a year? Happy.

Why did you decide to join PLAG records and how do you think it benefits you to be a part of the Play Like A Girl record label?
SP/BH joined PLAG for the release of ‘Ever’ because we acknowledged something special between us. It’s different to be approached by women in the music industry, there’s a lot of extra thoughts you don’t have to have in the process and you either know what I mean by that or well, you should. They provided a platform for us to support each other from and introduced SP/BH to a music community of like-minded human beings. We are grateful to see ourselves in the others we play with and in front of, especially our minority friends.

Spare Parts for Broken Hearts socials:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sparepartsforbrokenhearts/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SP4BH
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sparepartsforbrokenhearts/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SP4BH

Keep Chasing Those Cars

While working as a marketer for a number of music venues in Los Angeles, I felt incredibly conflicted: I loved making a living in music and performing arts, but I felt that my integrity was being compromised as I was forced to promote artists and labels that I didn’t necessarily believe in.

Over those years, many bands who had talent, backing and incredible music got lost in the chaos that is the LA music scene and I have major regrets for not doing more to help promote those artists. Creating this blog is my attempt at highlighting artists who are creating magic while tactfully handling the business aspects of a touring artist. Live music is my catharsis and I am always chasing the elusive, indescribable feelings I get when I watch a great artist live…hence the blog title Chasing Cars. Let’s keep good music alive together!

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