Life Is Beautiful Quick Take

LIB1

Life is Beautiful

This past weekend @begt and I had the pleasure of attending Downtown Las Vegas’ inaugural Life is Beautiful festival. This festival was a mixture of music, food, art and education. A more hearty review will be forthcoming, but in the interest of timeliness, here are a few highlights and lowlights from the festival.

Highlights:

1)      In my opinion, the festival did its job. It provided an event unlike any other in Las Vegas while showcasing some of the best food, art and music that Las Vegas has to offer.

2)      Las Vegas can be a great host to an eclectic group of performers and festival attendees.

3)      The performances were great and the performers were fairly diverse. From hip-hop to electronic and funk the attendees had many choices to fit their moods.

4)      Performances from hometown heroes Imagine Dragons and The Killers that were impeccable and which contained pleasant surprises.

5)      Do you want to eat something you’d not normally eat at festival? They had you covered. The choices were endless.

6)      The art…THE ART. The new murals were incredible and such a great addition to downtown.

Lowlights:

7)      Whether it be the culture of Las Vegas, of the many southern California attendees or the micro-culture of festival, trash & recycling were an issue. This needs to be addressed next year. The festival organizers should look at larger festivals and events in more progressive parts of the country and see how they handle waste. There is every reason to believe that this festival can be a “no waste” event when it comes to handling food/drink waste.

8)      Some of the scheduling choices seemed to be not well thought out. Placing hip-hop staples Jurassic 5 at the same time as Janelle Monae and crowd pleasers Empire of the Sun and the Killers opposite each other didn’t seem to support fans with consistent tastes. Somehow, someway, I was able to catch most of J5’s set, and the last few songs of Monae’s set while still seeing 2.5 songs from one of my local favorites Most Thieves at the unfortunately located Homegrown stage.

9)      Drinks were club prices. I didn’t expect to find cheap drinks, but $13 for a one-shot cocktail is really too much. A $9 beer? No thank you.

10)   The lack of “Vegas” spirit from the attendees. I realize that many (a majority?) of the attendees were not from Vegas, but the amount of people at both the Killers and Imagine Dragons who were not into the show was disappointing.

11)   Native American Headdresses? Really people, what the hell are you thinking? Not cool. It is not a thing. It is equivalent to wearing blackface or dressing like a Nazi. It is not cute, it is not cool.

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Harvest Fest Is Happening Right Meow

Just down a couple of hills from me, there is a music festival happening. I am missing it because I just couldn’t take more time off work. The Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Music Festival (aka Harvest Fest) just happened to be sandwiched between my California break and the upcoming Life Is Beautiful festival. BUT my dear friend @IronsidePhoto is on the Mulberry Mountain capturing all the action. I’ve invited him to post some of his photos when he comes back, just to see what I missed.

Yesterday, I sent him some suggestions on what bands not-to-miss:

Beats Antique has awesome visuals and dancers. I know @IronsidePhoto will enjoy the visuals.

JJ Grey & Mofro got a lot of soul. This is his latest, “Brighter Days.” They have played at both, Harvest and Wakarusa several times before. And always sell out the show when they plan in Fayetteville, AR. You could say they are a local favorite.

I’ve wanted to be at an Elephant Revival show for a while. But I always miss them for one reason or another. The last show I tried to catch in town was sold out before I even got a chance to get a ticket. This is their video for “Quill Pen Feather.”

The first time I heard Andy Frasco and the UN they were all about the Blues (see this), but his style has grown into Bluegrass. Whatever he’s playing, Andy Frasco and The UN is a guaranteed great time. So I sent my friend and his dancing chacos this way.

It seems to me that Ha Ha Tonka should get more credit than it does. They put out clean and strong productions. Here’s one of my favorites, “Unusual Suspects.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvRW8APIsaQ

Before looking at the Harvest Fest lineup, I had never heard of She’s a Keeper. They remind me a lot of The Lumineers. Here’s their song, “Stupid Heart.”

And last, but definitely not least, Delhi 2 Dublin. If I had to pick just one set to watch at Harvest Fest, this would be it. Because of their awesomeness, you get two videos.

WALK THE MOON w/The Mowgli’s @ Cain’s Ballroom 10/10


On their way to Austin City Limits, WALK THE MOON made a stop at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa last week, for what turned out to be the best show I’ve attended this year (so far). And let’s keep in mind, I’ve been to some great shows/festivals this year. The energy was high from the start. I really dig the face paint that WTM fans have adopted (this practice has its roots in the “Anna Sun” video, as told by the band here). So, apart from Nicholas Petricca (lead vocals, keys), Kevin Ray (bass, vocals), Sean Waugaman (drums, vocals), and Eli Maiman (guitar, vocals), there were lots of painted faces that Thursday night in Tulsa.

Cain’s was about two thirds full, but the energy of the crowd really filled the place. There was a really great vibe going the whole night. Most of the people got there early to catch opening band, The Mowgli’s. I know this because a whole bunch of people started chanting the band’s name about 10 minutes before they came on stage. Their set was happy and fun. Just like I expected. All the members of this band (all 8 of them) just look so happy all the time. They started off with their album title track “Waiting For The Dawn.” And as soon as they started, everyone started dancing and the people up front started singing along. There were some dedicated music lovers there that night, which I loved. The Mowgli’s went through all their best songs. From my personal favorite, “Emily,” to “Hi, Hey There, Hello,” to “San Francisco” and “Say It Just Say It,” to the intense “Carry Your Will,” which featured the burning of some sage. The security guys were watching closely as this happened, but let the band go with it. I hope this band keeps touring around, and I hope that I don’t have to travel too far next time I see them. I love that they always introduce themselves by saying they believe they can change the world. They definitely set the tone for the night, as WTM would come to continue blowing our minds.

And they did.

By the time WALK THE MOON came out on stage, we were all pumped. The Cincinnati band delivered an out-of-this-world-fun show. And it all started with “Next In Line,” a song that starts slow and climaxes at the chorus, and that is where the jumping started. I took a friend with me, and she had never before listened to WTM; well, the first time was on our way to Tulsa, but before that day she didn’t know who they were. Needless to say, by the end of the show, she had become a fan. We had a mini-concert during the 2-hour drive back to Arkansas.

The set included lots of favorites from the self-released album I Want I Want and from the self-titled Walk The Moon. Some of those favorites were “Quesadilla,” “Tightrope,” and “Shiver Shiver,” as well as a couple of new songs. One of the new songs may or may not be called “Do You Have A Boyfriend?” and another one that may or may not be called “Down In The Dumps.” That last one was so catchy! I got you a whole 32 seconds worth of it right here for you:

The set also included two of the songs that were released in the Tightrope EP earlier this year. The songs from the EP and the new songs have a very 80’s electronic feel to them. There aren’t any official announcements yet, but it’s evident that their third album will be an exciting one. Front-man Nicholas said the band spent the summer writing new songs, so we could expect it 2014.

The highlight of the show, at least for me, was definitely “Anna Sun.” I think there wasn’t one person standing still inside the venue. It was amazing. Paint melting off faces, jumping, hands in the air, smiles, and singing along. Great vibes overflowing, yo!

This show was so awesome that it made me wish WALK THE MOON would release a live album. Not every band out there has what it takes to pull off a live album, but these guys do. I want it. Can we start a petition somewhere, please? As I told you before, this show was one for the books. Next time, I’m painting my face.

SETLIST: Next In Line, Quesadilla, Lisa Baby, Down In The Dumps (new song), Tightrope, Anywayican, Tete-A-Tete, Do You Have a Boyfriend? (new song), Shiver Shiver, Me & All My Friends, Iscariot, Fixin’, I Can Lift A Car, Anna Sun ENCORE: Jenny

Photo post to come. Stay tuned.

Show Preview: WALK THE MOON w/ The Mowgli’s @ Cain’s Ballroom

WALK THE MOON is on a headlining tour and they are making a stop in Tulsa, OK tonight. So, I’m making the 2-hour drive, because this show is not to be missed. The four-piece Cincinnati band has been busy making stops at several music festivals this summer and touring Europe, as well as supporting P!nk. These guys have lots of fun on stage, so this show is going to be a dance party.


Opening act, The Mowgli’s, have their roots in California, and very much sound like it. What else can you say when you can define their music as “breeze” and “sunshiny.” Just listen to some tunes:


I was able to catch both bands at LouFest this year. So I already know that the show is going to be great. Both bands are high energy and have a lot of catchy songs.  I expect Cain’s Ballroom to be quite full, because WTM has a loyal following. But there are tickets still available, so if you are in the area you need to get yours now. Or if you are in Northwest Arkansas and want to come along with me, then do! Tickets are $22 at the door and the show starts at 7pm.

I’ll bring back photos and a write-up, so keep posted.

California Brake

I’ve been MIA from here for the last two weeks, because I was in California visiting family, friends, and driving around the desert and the coast. I had a lot of fun while I was out, but I am back. During the break I realized that I seriously need to look into what is happening in the world of Latinamerican music. One of my uncles kept playing the station that he used to listen to while he lived in Los Angeles (about 17 years ago) and I bet they are still playing the same songs they played when he lived there (It’s K. Love, yo. It’s horrible.) And that got me thinking that I have no idea what is new, and most importantly, good in the work of La Música en Español. Granted, I’m not completely in the dark, I know who Pitbull is and I’m aware of how certain individuals have completely ruined bachata. But I have no idea what is going on with rock and pop in Latin America. So I will be doing some research on that.

Tomorrow I’m headed to Tulsa, OK for a WALK THE MOON show, so I will do a bit of a preview of the show later today. In the meantime I wanted to leave you with two songs that I kept replaying while in California.

The Concrete Schoolyard Podcast October 3, 2013

For our #TapeOfTheWeek the homie Danny Brown dropped a new album by the name of “Old” on the Tuesday before our show last week! The album is riddled with DOPE beats and songs and a few features from current hip hop royalty. Black Hippy members Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul both contributed to Dope Fiend Rental & Way Up Here respectively. 25 Bucks featuring Purity Ring is sick, Kush Coma is definitely a banger with A$ap Rocky & ZelooperzDubstepFloat On & Wonderbread are among the other standouts on an album that truly defines Danny Brown. He seems to have fused Danny from “Hybrid” with the dirty ODB-esque foul mouthed Danny from “XXX”

If the Link is not working CLICK HERE

danny-brown-old-artworkYou’ll just have to go listen HERE! Not enough Danny Brown? Well here’s Continue reading