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Falling James

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Falling James

Kate Nash - Sonos Studio - 5/22/13

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Thu, May 23, 2013 at 10:24 AM

katelight.jpg
Kate Nash

Sonos Studio

5/22/13

"Life is too short to be with dickheads," Kate Nash advised a roomful of several hundred fans last night at Sonos Studio, a gallery-cum-performance space on La Brea. The British singer was talking about the recent death of one of her close friends and former backup singers, and how that tragic event inspired her to focus on the things that really matter. She also could have been referring to the intense changes in her own music.

Just a few years ago, Nash was a young and precociously talented singer with a quick, sarcastic wit and an ear for poppy melodies, but she has since reinvented herself as a harder rocking and more socially provocative performer, culminating in her latest album, Girl Talk, where she's penned the kind of fiery and energetic riot grrl anthems that everyone wishes Kathleen Hanna and Courtney Love were still writing.

See also: Kate Nash: Whipping Girl

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Rolling Stones performing at the Honda Center in Anaheim - CREDIT: TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Credit: Timothy Norris
  • The Rolling Stones performing at the Honda Center in Anaheim

The Rolling Stones

Staples Center

5-20-13

If last night's concert at Staples Center really was the Rolling Stones' final show in Los Angeles after nearly 50 years of faithful pilgrimages to the Southland, it revealed that the British warhorses are still capable of major gasp-inducing surprises. When the tour officially kicked off at this arena three weeks ago, there was considerable pomp and circumstance to mark the occasion, including visitations from moderately stellar celebrity guests and the stirring spectacle of dozens of blue-jacketed members of the UCLA Marching Band streaming through the aisles, belching out a festive instrumental version of "Satisfaction." However, at last night's bookend sequel at Staples, the thrills and chills were largely musical instead of theatrical.

See also: We Lurked Outside the Rolling Stones' Rehearsals in Burbank

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

This is Mick Jagger's car.
  • This is Mick Jagger's car.
Last week, the center of the rock & roll universe was located in an industrial part of Burbank. In one room at CenterStaging studios, Paul McCartney was rehearsing with his band for their upcoming world tour. Next door, his old pals and supposed rivals the Rolling Stones were preparing for their first tour in five years -- and possibly their final series of concerts ever.

McCartney and his crew soon moved on to Brazil to start their tour, but the Stones occupied the studios for the better part of the past two weeks, winnowing through at least 60 different songs -- both old and new, along with rare covers -- that are being considered for their "50 & Counting" tour of England and North America. You know, the one that kinda kicked off at the Echoplex on Saturday and gets going for real tomorrow night at Staples Center. We were there, outside, while they practiced.

See also: Our review of the Rolling Stones show at the Echoplex

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Falling James

The Rezillos - The Echo - 11/18/12

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Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 3:10 AM

The Rezillos
  • The Rezillos
The Rezillos, The Stitches

The Echo

11-18-12

Better than . . . getting your head kicked in tonight.

One of the Rezillos' earliest singles was titled "(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures," but there weren't any statues standing around at their show last night at the Echo, which was only the second time the influential Scottish punk-pop combo has played Los Angeles since starting back in 1976.

The capacity crowd pressed tightly against the stage with pent-up excitement while co-lead singers Faye Fife and Eugene Reynolds shimmied and dashed madly about in a blur of nonstop energy. It was like the duo were living out their own madcap version of the Who's Quadrophenia: Reynolds resembled a surly motorcycle rocker, dressed in black shades and a black leather jacket, while the ever-glamorous Fife portrayed a colorful mod heroine, decked out stylishly in black go-go boots, lacy tights and a lime-green DayGlo mini dress over a slip with sheer black chiffon sleeves.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Falling James

Fiona Apple, Blake Mills - The Greek Theatre - 9/14/12

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Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Zac Rae, Fiona Apple and Amy Wood - PHOTOS BY FALLING JAMES
  • Photos by Falling James
  • Zac Rae, Fiona Apple and Amy Wood
See also: Our review of Fiona Apple at the Hollywood Palladium

Fiona Apple, Blake Mills

The Greek Theatre

9-14-12

Better than . . . getting knocked out by shadows.

There's something about Fiona Apple that makes you want to take care of her. Maybe it's because she's so slender, you assume she must be frail. Perhaps it's because of her notorious power struggles with her record company and the music industry in general, or that so many of the singer-pianist's songs deal with the ravages of romantic despair.

She apparently has a major case of stage fright. At Apple's concert at the Hollywood Palladium in July -- on her first major tour in seven years -- she came out 20 minutes late, apologizing to the crowd that she'd been nervous. Last night's show at the Greek Theatre also ran a little behind, but that was because the venue staff wanted to give fans more time to arrive due to a brush fire near the Getty Center that was delaying traffic across the city.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Falling James

Fiona Apple - Hollywood Palladium - 7/29/12

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Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Fiona Apple and bassist Sebastian Steinberg - PHOTOS BY TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Photos by Timothy Norris
  • Fiona Apple and bassist Sebastian Steinberg
Fiona Apple

Hollywood Palladium

7-29-12

See also: Our Fiona Apple slideshow

It's hard to be a Fiona Apple fan sometimes. Half a decade can go by between tours, and the notoriously reclusive singer-pianist has released only four albums since emerging as a teenage phenom in 1994. Apple's latest album, The Idler Wheel . . ., is her first full-length work since 2005's Extraordinary Machine, and she hasn't toured widely in six years.

At least her L.A. followers have had the chance to catch Apple's occasional sets at Largo at the Coronet over the past few years. But as much fun as those surprise shows have been, with Apple letting her hair down and romping it up with informal covers by the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly, she generally pulls only one or two originals out of her deep paper bag of tricks. The demand to hear her own songs has only grown to the point where her more fanatic fans were ready to practically explode by the time the singer and her four-piece band finally walked out on the Palladium's large stage.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Falling James

The Zeros, The Muffs - The Troubadour - 7/20/12

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Sat, Jul 21, 2012 at 12:24 PM

The Zeros - PHOTOS BY FALLING JAMES
  • Photos by Falling James
  • The Zeros
The Zeros, The Muffs

The Troubadour

7-20-12

See also: Our interview with Javier Escovedo

Even though the Zeros were born at the dawn of the punk era in 1976 and the Muffs didn't start until the depths of the grunge scene 15 years later, they couldn't have been more perfectly billed last night at the Troubadour.

Both bands play a form of punk rock -- which is actually just rock & roll, when you get down to it -- that's not necessarily currently in fashion but which has never really gone out of style. Although each group layers poppy melodies over slam-bang chords, one hesitates to describe the Muffs and the Zeros as pop-punk, if only to separate them from the adenoidal yelping of more contrived outfits like Green Day and Blink-182. Instead, the two bands are more in the spirit of the Ramones, taking the fun, simple hooks of '60s garage rockers like the Standells and the Kinks and then speeding them up with a remorseless punk rock power.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Falling James

Heartless Bastards - The Echoplex - 4/3/12

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Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Erika Wennerstrom and Heidi Johnson
  • Erika Wennerstrom and Heidi Johnson
Heartless Bastards

The Echoplex

4-3-2012

Better Than . . . standing under the flight path of a jumbo jet at LAX.

If Heartless Bastards keep coming to Los Angeles, they're going to need a bigger boat, to paraphrase Roy Scheider in Jaws. The previous time the Texas band played the Echoplex, back in 2010, they filled the place, but last night the crowd was so large and packed in so tight, even the club's employees had difficulty making their way through the throng to restock the bar with more cases of beer.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Falling James

Slow Club - The Echoplex - 3/11/12

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Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Slow Club's Rebecca Taylor. Photos by Falling James
  • Slow Club's Rebecca Taylor. Photos by Falling James
Slow Club

The Echoplex

3-11-12

Better Than . . . self-medicating a broken heart without the keen supervision of a pair of trained English romantic-disillusionment specialists.

Slow Club is a band of fascinating contrasts. Onstage, singer Rebecca Taylor tells silly jokes and exhorts the crowd to have fun, and yet she and her musical partner, Charles Watson, croon some of the saddest ballads this side of their hero Leonard Cohen. There are some compulsively buoyant pop moods on Slow Club's recent album, Paradise, but you could say that the Sheffield group are at their best when they're feeling their worst.

"You got the brains/I got the body," Taylor intoned early on at the Echoplex, turning what could have been a sarcastic or boastful line into something vulnerable and hauntingly yearning. Watson answered her plea with star-lit chimes of guitar before the rest of the band came rushing in to fill the lonely void of "Where I'm Waking" with a euphoric chorus.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Falling James

Abby Travis - The Dragonfly - 2/27/12

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Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 8:52 AM

All photos by Falling James
  • All photos by Falling James
Abby Travis, Tony Clifton, Alain Johannes

The Dragonfly

2-27-12

Better Than . . . going to the circus.

Abby Travis sure knows how to throw a party. She's seemingly ubiquitous as an in-demand bassist, backing everyone from Masters of Reality, KMFDM and Vanessa Paradis to Beck, Eagles of Death Metal and Spinal Tap, but the Los Angeles native performs her own music so rarely that, when she does play, each concert feels more like an event than a gig.

Last night's show at the Dragonfly was no exception, as Travis celebrated her latest solo album IV with a barrage of visual and mental distractions and stimuli. Not the least of which was the ungainly but stunning frock of black feathers she sported when she first strutted onstage.

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