Aloe Blacc, Maya Jupiter, La Sera, Incan Abraham
Silver Lake Jubilee
Better than… your uncle's Memorial Day barbecue.
On another quintessentially beautiful Los Angeles day (the kind of day that makes you want to sit in the sun and drink beer from a paper cup) Jubilee raged on. Folks donned sunglasses and dancing shoes and descended on Sunset Junction.
Although the music was solid there are two major knocks on Jubilee: the price and the lack of places to sit. There was one free stage — where a surprisingly sensual ballet was performed — but the price of a ticket was $20 for general admission and $35 for a weekend pass; compared to the 5 bucks last year's fest cost that's rather steep. (Upon being told how much it cost, two women in line in front of me threw up their hands and shouted “fuck that!”) Jubilee also broke the golden rule of music festivals, which is that it's always better if there's grass of some kind to sit on. It just makes it more festival-y.
Those minor complaints aside, it was a good party. On the Sunset Stage, psych-rockers Incan Abraham, whose “we started this band in a cabin” vibe is reminiscent of Bon Iver, kept it jangly and weird for the hottest part of the day.
Shortly afterward La Sera played their brand of delightfully charming pop-rock — they sort of sound like they're dreaming underwater. Lead singer and songwriter Katy Goodman (of Vivian Girls) has strawberry colored hair and plays bass and is generally badass. Her song “Please Be My Third Eye” is a perfect example of what sunny pop-rock should sound like.
After La Sera for some reason I thought I was Adam Richman from Man v. Food and decided to do the spicy Pad See Ew Challenge at the Thai 1 On food truck. Never do this. For the uninitiated, Thai food can be some of the spiciest food on the planet, packing a long-burning, stomach-churning wallop that lingers. The Thai 1 On challenge consists of a heaping plate of a specially made batch of their very spiciest noodles; if you're able to clear your plate you don't have to pay for the meal. You have 15 minutes to finish (without drinking anything) and you have to keep it all down. I did neither of those things. The chef wouldn't tell me what kind of chili was in it, only insisting that it was spicier than the legendarily hot ghost chili. Whatever it was, it was deadly.
As evening brought a respite to the heat, Abe Vigoda played on the Hoover Stage. They have left their punk roots completely behind and embraced a more synth heavy sound that recalls New Order. The difference between their new material and early releases like 2007's Kid City is remarkable; regardless of how you feel about the change, they are certainly a band with their foot on the gas pedal.
Maya Jupiter played during Abe Vigoda's set, but those who missed out got a chance to catch her when she came on during her husband Aloe Blacc's performance. Watching two extremely talented people who are very much in love preform together was a treat. Blacc absolutely killed it; he's got pipes, he can flow, and he dresses like Frank Sinatra.
“You Make Me Smile” had every couple in the place holding onto each other. And during Blacc's massive hit “I Need A Dollar,” which ironically has put many dollars in his pocket, the crowd parted down the middle to allow for a impromptu line of swaying dancers. That song seems to resonate with people on a deep level, maybe it's because of its catchy beat, maybe it's because it captures how people feel about living in a recession. Whatever it was, we put our hands up and cheered.
Personal Bias: I'm one of those guys who's always annoying people by pontificating about “localism,” so I'm inclined to like community events.
The crowd: Lots of families.
Random Notebook Dump: As per usual the literary stage was sparsely attended. It seems we writers don't have same pull as musicians.