holla at Joshua Glazer at Urb for the tip.
Monday night along the tree-lined walkway entrance to the Hollywood Bowl, as Radiohead was closing the second of their two sold-out nights at the venue, Sean Carlson and Phil Hoelting, promoters of this weekend's annual F Yeah Fest, were handing out flyers to exiting fans. Their friend Michael Reich, creator of the popular music video site Videothing.com, was recording the two for an upcoming documentary. As Reich shot, he noticed a scuffle occurring within his frame; in the background four security guards could be seen restraining a crowd member as they were ejecting him. The guards, employees of CSC Security, the company contracted by the Bowl to provide protection, were being overly rough with him, alleges Carlson. “They're strangling him – brutally. He's gasping for air.” Reich turned his camera directly on the action as the CSC guards continued to restrain the man.
A pint-sized, Nordic hurricane descended on the Hotel Cafe Monday night, and it held a megaphone in its hand. With her three instrument-swapping boys to her back, Lykke Li affected the pose of an adorable sergeant as she issued a command to the packed house: “You be the drums.” This, in the final minutes of her set for the Justice-via-Stevie Nicks banger “Breaking It Up,” was enough to cause all forks and drinks to drop. The Cafe’s usual intimacy was sublimated into a sweaty mist, as the crowd clapped, swayed and shimmied at the behest of a bullhorn-toting, furiously dancing Swede. “Girls are so much cooler than guys,” someone whispered to a friend. And she was right.
Black Moses mojo was conjured all over this year's Sunset Junction Street Fair, from the beauteous Isaac Hayes painting done by local artist Kofie (live and to the beats of the nearby I&I Sound System reggae ice cream truck), to the numerous Hayes shout-outs at the Sanborn stage (which was a non-stop funkathon thanks to acts like Kim Hill, J*Davey, Antibalas and Kinky) and, at the almost-hidden away Hoover stage, where Hayes photos were projected on a giant screen before Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave) closed Saturday evening.
Ted DiBiase knows a winner when he sees one. That's how he earned the nickname "The Million Dollar Man" when those Cash Money clowns were still learning to ice their first teeth. And rest assured, Teddy B. would've inevitably proclaimed Day 3 of Outside Lands, the winner of the match, even if he would've declared it from inside the VIP area, a Johnnie Walker Black in his hand and several lovely ladies draped across his arms.
It wasn't only about the music, though any time you can see Toots & The Maytals, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Little Brother and Wilco, back-to-back-to-back-to-back (in the back of the ack), you're entering that sort of rarefied air where the only way to top it is to start throwing out dream scenarios. Like yeah, it could've been better if Jay-Z was backed by the Wailers and started making it rain with $1,000 bills and I grabbed one and then Ray Charles was resurrected and started flying around in a cape whilst singing "Georgia on My Mind." For the most part, if you didn't find something to like yesterday, your best bet is to become a Quaker, or a Shaker, if oatmeal isn't your preferred breakfast.
All photos by Timothy Norris
Perhaps it’s most illustrative to consider last night’s Radiohead performance at the Hollywood Bowl not as a "concert" but as a massive geometric light sculpture constructed in a natural basin, with grand musical accompaniment. Kind of like Cirque de Soleil, but designed not by cheesy baby-boomers but by hipster Brits. The first of a two-night stint, it was a feast for the senses, and the only way the band could have sated us more would have been to torch some incense sticks and commissioned 17,376 masseuses to rub us down while they played.
A vast three-dimensional presentation of music and sound that centered around glowing, pulsating set pieces, the concert was crafted by the band and longtime Radiohead set designer Andi Watson, who deserves a little placard somewhere at the bottom right of the stage acknowledging his work. He arranged in a simple rectangular pattern a bunch of tubular lamp-post-sized LED lights which framed the the band like an illuminated, futuristic forest. Purples moved to reds to computer greens to blinding white to deep blues. Through these trees and behind the band were jumbo video panels working in sync with the LEDs.
One combination of light and video looked like an old Blue Note record cover, with action shots each of the band members’ heads grooving to the music while baby blue bars glowed in the foreground. At the show's peak, which I'll submit was the moment that Thom Yorke strummed the shockingly great opening distorto-guitar riff of "Body Snatchers" (from the band's most recent In Rainbows), my corneas nearly exploded: raspberry and gold tubes danced and flashed with locksmith-like precision as the band rolled through the pure, solid rock song.
The crowd was older and tamer yesterday. No wholesale destruction of chain link fences, no claustrophobic clusterfucks trying to get across the endless expanse of festival ground, no scofflaws streaming into the VIP section to taunt the fools that squandered $700 a ticket for nicer bathrooms and a slightly more refined environment in which to purchase over-priced wine and beer. No, things seemed to run smoothly after that initial shell-shock of day one, with its chaotic tenor and reports of public transportation meltdowns for those who stayed to the bitter end.
Outside Lands is about as far as you can get from the hippy spring break of Bonnaroo, whose Superfly promoters this event shares. Camping isn't even allowed. Instead, there's a "Wine Haven" tent where you can sample a voluminous array of vino, numerous gourmet food vendors and even a stand hawking BBQ'd oysters. Judging from the quick once-over I gave them, the oysters seemed fine, but really, few more dicey moves exist than ordering shellfish at an outdoor music festival. That's the gastronomical equivalent to drinking a bottle of MD 20/20, picking up a hooker and swerving past a police station.
(all photos by Christopher Victorio)
Don't expect much. No one with an iota of common sense would attend a music festival after being struck by the snarling combination of African Sleeping Sickness/Mono/Ricketts/Gout/Scurvy that waylaid me for a full two weeks of misery and and continues to leave my left leg swollen and tubby as though it belonged to William Howard Taft. After one half-day of Outside Lands, my knees are wailing like banshees, the cartilage attenuated and frail, my calves feel like a madman autopsist got to play slice and dice and this coffee that I'm drinking is weak and dirty and nowhere near providing me with the jolt of energy that I need to spin out this gibberish before 10:00 a.m. Gadzooks.
I have no one but myself to blame. But what are you supposed to do when the plane tickets are booked and the press credentials secured and Radiohead and Beck are playing back-to-back on Friday night? Of course, you go, even if you're walking like a zombie in the Thriller video and are sporting a devil's haircut received last week that's left you wishing you had an 80s Jacko jheri curl instead. So despite this tenuous condition, I found myself limping up the hill to Outside Lands last night, under the slate-colored San Francisco sky, one of those cold, clammy bay area nights, full of thin, penetrant fog and 60,000 people swarming ant-like in every direction through San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
(All photos by Timothy Norris)
I’m not sure exactly what "kind" of music the hundred or so lucky souls saw last night at the Hotel Café, but I know I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and that I can’t wait to see it again, and that within ten minutes of watching five musicians perform music from three of the artists up onstage I was already convinced that this would be one of the best shows I'll see all year (and I missed the first half hour).
Downtown all-ages club The Smell has long been hub of an insanely vibrant punk, noise and experimental scene. The much-discussed grassroots community has seeded many a memorable night, but until now it had never been successfully captured online. This week, however, the club debuted its new website, and it's a joy to behold.
Designed by Foot Village drummer Dan Rowan , the site is a clean, crisp, user-friendly destination with a simple schedule (with each act's My Space page represented), a history of the club and, best, a multimedia gallery that contains dozens of embedded YouTube clips of past performances, a photo archive -- which only contains one photo (of Miranda July) so far -- and an archive of past fliers.