Woody Allen's New Orleans Jazz Band
Better than...Francis Ford Coppola playing the tuba.
Before the start of the European tour documented in the 1997 Woody Allen documentary Wild Man Blues, Allen tells his bandmates, "Theoretically this should be fun for us." Last night, before a sold out house at UCLA's Royce Hall, Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band concluded their six date tour with a night of old-timey jazz that, at the very least, certainly seemed to be somewhat amusing to them.
We've long thought hip-hop's "four elements" were bogus. Sure, back in the early days of the genre, rapping, DJing, graffiti writing and b-boying were interwoven into the culture.
But c'mon. Even back then, it was pretty arbitrary. I mean, it's not like guys in the Bronx invented tagging. Cavemen were doing that thousands of years ago, in their...caves.
Nowadays, hip-hop is pretty much just one element: rapping. Anyone who still talks about four -- and there are plenty of those people -- is either an old-timer or an elitist.
Not to disparage tagging, breakdancing, or turntablism, but those have become fairly separate disciplines, mostly outside the hip-hop mainstream. In fact, most people use the terms "rap" and "hip-hop" interchangeably.
So hip-hop needs new elements, to more accurately reflect the culture these days. What should they be? Let's consider some contenders.
See also: What To Do This New Year's Eve
Kosha Dillz will have much to celebrate when he takes the stage at the Viper Room on Saturday night, on a bill with Dirt Nasty. In 2011 the New Jersey-bred rapper -- who now lives in Los Angeles -- did everything from performing on Yo Gabba Gabba! to collaborating with RZA and Kool G. Rap. He was even a freaking playable character on NBA2K11.
Currently promoting his latest release Gina & the Garage Sale EP and finishing his documentary Kosha Dillz is Everywhere, Dillz spoke with us earlier this week.
How have your experiences been different in the L.A. hip-hop scene, compared to the East Coast?
I feel like the competition is a different type of scene. East coast is very heavy influenced by [New York radio station] Hot 97, while in L.A. I see independent acts have their own billboards.
When it comes to presidential endorsements, musicians tend to be pretty predictable. Most all of them seem to go for Democrats, except for Ted Nugent. And then, inevitably, the Republican candidates go ahead and use the left-leaning rockers' music anyway, at which time said rockers throw kanipchen fits.
But sometimes artists' endorsements are totally baffling. Witness Wednesday's news that Kelly Clarkson was throwing her support behind Ron Paul. Here, then, are our top five most beguiling politician/musician pairings. We also threw in an actor, because we couldn't resist.
Editor's note: This week Erica E. Phillips tells the remarkable story of Los Angeles group Las Cafeteras, a seven-piece who play a traditional type of Veracruz music called Son Jarocho. But they're controversial because they put their own spin on it -- merging a punk ethos, improvised verses, and even freestyle rapping.
It's going over gangbusters with fans, but the city's Son Jarocho old guard are far from thrilled. Here are some outtakes from Phillips' interviews with Las Cafeteras' members, in which they discuss Son Jarocho's strict rules and how they got into playing it.
On the rules of Son Jarocho:
Hector Flores: If someone's singing, the volume should drop down and the dancing should not be hard. Someone cannot get on the tarima when someone is singing. That's just something you don't do.
Leah Gallegos: There's some songs that only women can dance to, or can only be danced by partners, male-female. [Some] spaces are very strict on enforcing all those rules, [but] some spaces are more lenient.
We love L.A. We love the nightlife. We always will.
It was a tough year for a lot of us, but the sounds and sights we soaked in, the floors we tore up and the people we met continued to entice and excite us. We have a feeling 2012 is going to be even better, and we'll be covering it from the inside-out as always. LinA In LA will no longer run in LA Weekly, but it will continue on our own blog, LA Slush.com and via our radio show on Moheak.com, every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
But we're not leaving the Weekly. We'll continue to spotlight a DJ-driven night via our "Club Pick of Week," and continue covering the city's most fascinating nightlife and music events regularly for the arts and music sections. Thanks for reading and raging with us. Happy New Year!
Now, on to our New Year's Eve events!
See also: What To Do This New Year's Eve
With a galactic alignment and Mayan prophecy fulfillment on the horizon -- not to mention the Aquarian dawning -- 2012 is poised to be a pretty cosmic year.
So as you embrace your turquoised-out, biker hippie wizard lover this New Year's Eve, preferably beneath some desert stars or giant redwoods, be sure that these rockin' mystical jams are playing on the record machine.
Dwight Trible Cosmic Band
The World Stage
It began shortly after midnight, where the Los Angeles grid unravels into Leimert Park. At the World Stage, vocalist Dwight Trible oversaw a tight band and a rapt, full congregation, delivering a nearly two-hour concert of ecstatic positivity and consummate musicianship.
The band, featuring pianist Mark de Clive-Lowe, bassist Trevor Ware, drummer Dexter Story, violist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and harpist Radha Botofasina, opened with a mid-tempo tune that featured a particularly authoritative bass solo from Ware. His solid notes rose over Atwood-Ferguson's tense accompaniment.
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Known for his blend of heartland rock and old school R&B, Bob Seger has a fairly-staggering catalog of classic rock staples. Touring behind the release of yet another Greatest Hits package -- this time a 26-song, double disc set -- and without any new material, Seger still managed to fill the Staples Center. Though once known for his relentless tour schedule, he rarely plays here anymore, and folks were ready for him.
Staples isn't always easy to perform at; Seger's pal Bruce Springsteen -- who recently jumped on stage with him at Madison Square Garden -- slammed the venue's lack of character and poor sound. But last night the 66-year-old (!) Seger's gruff voice was in top form.
[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Saturday KCRW broadcast.]
I am on the road with Dinosaur Jr., the mighty trio from the great state of Massachusetts. They're in the middle of a week of shows that feature them playing their breakout 1988 album, Bug.
Thankfully, this is not some act of desperation, or a band cashing in on past achievements. The great news is that there are a lot of Dinosaur Jr. albums -- and none of them sucks.
Oh, there might be that one you play a little more often than the others for sentimental reasons, but you don't wonder what the hell happened on any of them -- they are that good.
The last two albums, 2007's Beyond and 2009's Farm, were excellent, as were the tours that supported them. The band revisiting Bug is just a great night of music for those who know what they are in for. As an added bonus, the opening act is Pierced Arrows, the new band of Fred and Toody Cole of Dead Moon. They are as real as the day is long. What a band. Count me a fan.