New Music: Nickel Creek

For those who love bluegrass (as I do) the big news of the week is that Nickel Creek is back! After a 7 year hiatus one of the most influential folk/progressive bluegrass bands of this generation is back. Now, I’ll admit, I started listening to Nickel Creek after they announced a hiatus, but now that I’ve been learning to play the mandolin, there is no player more enjoyable to watch that Chris Thile. They’ve announced a few shows and at least one festival gig. Tickets for almost all shows have sold out. I am sure they’ll add more as summer approaches. In case you live under a rock, or are not into bluegrass, here is “Destination” from Nickel Creek.

Life is Beautiful Spotlight: Dawes

For a 2 day brand spanking new festival, Life is Beautiful has over 40 bands on tap. I am not going to lie, I am a bit skeptical of how this is all going to play out. Despite that, there are many bands which I am greatly looking forward to. Once the schedule comes out (any day know folks), I will know which bands I will be able to see, and which acts I may lose out on. One of the bands I am hoping to see is SoCal based “folk-rock” outfit Dawes (most of the band was previously in the similarly named Simon Dawes). I’ve waded in and out of Dawes’ land for the last few years, and renewed my interest when seeing that they were on the bill for LIB. Life Is Beautiful is on the tail end of a summer filed with festivals and shows crisscrossing the US.

The band released their 3rd LP Stories Don’t End in April.

From watching some of their live videos this low-key sounding band puts on a pretty good show. They are also kicking off the Grills & Guitars Kick-Off Party which is one of the many premium add-on’s to the Life if Beautiful tickets.

Check out: “Time Spent in Los Angeles”:

and my personal favorite “When My Time Comes”. I am pretty sure this one song will make their show for me:

LouFest Spotlight: The Killers

I would be remiss if I didn’t include the Killers in our discussion of LouFest. I realize that the Killers are in fact, one of the most well known American bands in the world. From what I’ve been able to gather from other media outlets and European music mags, the Killers may be the biggest American band in the world. This does not stop them from being one of my most favorite bands, and the band I am most looking forward to performing at LouFest. The Killers are the Sunday headliner for LouFest (Saturday is Wilco).

There are very few bands that exist on my “must see live” list and my concert “bucket list”. The Killers are atop both of those lists. I do admit that seeing them live in Las Vegas probably differs from seeing them in other locations, but lead singer Brandon Flowers has a genuine charisma that I’ve not seen from any other lead singer (including the charismatic likes of Rob Thomas and Adam Levine).

I saw them late last year when they returned to their hometown of Las Vegas for a set of shows to close out 2012. In my life their are few times when I’ve been so ill that I could barely walk…their December 29th show was one such day. Unless I was in a hospital, I was not going to miss this show. I had been waiting for years to see them live…and when I did, it was magic.

LouFest will be the second time I see them live, and the third time will come next month when they headline Vegas’ own Life is Beautiful Festival.

The Killers were formed in Las Vegas in 2001. They’ve released four studio albums, with the most recent in 2012, Battle Born.

I am sure their festival set may differ from their set from the most recent “Battle Born” tour. However, I know every song they play will be amazing.

One of my favorite songs from Day and Age, “Spaceman”:

As @begt already has seen, The Killers have on occasion while in the UK performed my most favorite song of all time. Both Flowers and  band co-founder Dave Keuning are admittedly huge Oasis fans… “Don’t Look Back in Anger” performed by the Killers:

When I saw the Killers in December, they started the show with a song not often performed live since the tour of the same name. “Sam’s Town” will always mean Las Vegas to me no matter where I live. For the first three years I lived here, I could see Sam’s Town (a local casino) from my house. When this started playing this song, my sick self started shaking.

I cannot post this without sharing my favorite Killers song (one of my top 5 favorite songs, now you know two), which is also from Sam’s Town, “Read My Mind”.

 

LouFest Spotlight: WALK THE MOON

Cincinnati, OH based WALK THE MOON is the band I am most looking forward to seeing at LouFest who I’ve not seen live before(tied with Trampled by Turtles). I first heard this band in 2010 thanks to the Imagine Dragons radio station on Pandora. Despite being on the same Pandora station, I would not necessarily say that these two bands sound alike. They both have a flair for the poppy synthesizers and energetic performances, but their music sounds very different. Formed in 2008 with their current lineup finalized in 2010, WALK THE MOON scored their first big hit with the anthem “Anna Sun” in 2011. Esquire magazine even named the song the song of the summer in 2011. They didn’t receive much airplay on the song until 2012 and have since had another single chart in the US, “Tightrope”.

I really cannot wait to hear “Anna Sun” live and most likely lose my voice. If you haven’t heard the song before (you’ve been living under a rock). Their videos are pretty “artsy” and this one definitely fits the bill. Apparently, the video is full of friends and family of the band.

I believe that this video was inspired by this scene from the amazingly funny BBC show “The IT Crowd“. Its on Netflix if you’ve not seen it.

Back to WALK THE MOON…last summer the band made 7 music videos in 7 days while on tour. My favorite song of this bunch is “Next in Line”. For having no budget, no time, and few resources, I think they did a pretty good job with these videos.

LouFest cannot come soon enough.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros 8.1.2013

Thanks to @begt I’ve been obsessed with Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros for a little over a year. I was really excited when I saw that they were on the bill for LouFest because I had heard they put on a great show. About a month ago, I saw that they were coming to Las Vegas to perform at the Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan Resort here in Las Vegas. Through a stroke of luck and a bit of magic, I was able to get a free ticket to this show.

photo 5

photo 3 I had not seen a show at this venue before, but had heard that it was fun and intimate. I was not disappointed. This is the pool area for the resort, but they had drained the largest area of pool as this is right in front of the stage. There were smaller pools still available for those individuals who wanted to dip their feet in the water.

Having gotten there a bit later than expected due to an amazing dinner at the Spanish Tapas joint Jaleo . My friend and I settled near  the rear of the pool near the main bar. Despite being closer to the back of the crowd, we still had an incredible view of the stage.

The show started a few minutes late, but it seemed as if it could have been due to the massive size of the band, and perhaps the lead singer, Alex Ebert, appearing to be quite inebriated. I understand and applaud that he is the brainchild between the “cultish” vibe of the band, and perhaps that is why he was a bit out of it when the show started…or it could be because they like their weed. I am not judging. The first few songs included 40 Days Dream and my favorite That’s What’s Up. 

As the 1.5 hour set went on the vibe became distinctly more “jam bad” with songs like “I Don’t Wanna Pray” lasting for almost 10 minutes. The band really seems to enjoy what they are doing, and at least 1/2 of the members sung at some point in the night. The lead singer, Alex, has a great stage presence. He draws from the energy of the crowd, but also lives in his own world. I am not entirely sure he knew where he was last night.

The set ended with much more energy than it started. After the first round of “we have time for only one more”, which happened to be their biggest hit, “Home” where at least 3 people in the crowd were able to tell a story. With two birthdays included in these stories, there was a quick “Happy Birthday” to some of the fans. I was a bit worried at this point because the second song I was most waiting to hear, “Man on Fire”, had not been played yet. Fortunately, they did play this song in lieu of a traditional encore. By far, this was my favorite performance of the night.

The entire set included songs from all three of their releases. Their newest single, “Better Days” was also a highlight of the evening.

The chemistry between singers Alex and Jane is pretty incredible to see. They obviously enjoy what they are doing. It is always great to see a group with this much love of what they do.

I am greatly looking forward to their performance at LouFest as I am ready to use my two dancing feet.

New Music: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

Just in time for our LouFest preparations, the hippie cult-like California band Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros has released their new self-titled album. This is their third release in their four year career. NPR Music previewed the new record last week. Their signature style and mult-instrument jam sound still remains, with a few more catchy hooks than their last release.

The first single is “Better Days”. I don’t know how to describe this video other than awesome!

@Begt and I will be seeing them live at LouFest, but I will be seeing them when they play the Cosmopolitan Pool early next month.

The Prince of Pop

I’ve been known to not enjoy a lot of modern pop music. Some of it is very catchy (damn you Selena Gomez, I refuse to link to anything here), and some of it is down right horrible (I am looking at you K Money Ha aka Ke$ha). I will be the first to admit that when a young guy named Bruno Mars hit the scene I was very skeptical. I mean he didn’t seem to be more than a male version of Miley Cyrus…After delving into his music more after my wife developed a slight (read: huge) obsession with Mr. Mars that I realized that this guy is a pretty amazing musician.

He grew up singing and playing music.

Here he is as Elvis:

After learning that he writes his songs (and songs for others) I developed a lot of respect for the guy. So much so that I am very excited to be seeing him in a couple weeks on his Moonshine Jungle Tour. Now, I can tell you that the wife will probably scream so loud that I will not be able to hear anything at the show, but I can hope that I will.

It is also exciting as a band I quite enjoy will be opening for him, Fitz & The Tantrums. It may seem like an odd combination, but both groups have full bands with them, and they are reminiscent of the doo wop days. @begt and I will see Fitz & The Trantrums at Lou Fest so this will be a nice warm up!

In case you are one of the 10 people who have not heard  this song enjoy, and for those who have not seen this video, it is pretty amazing and it is a favorite of both my wife and @begt.