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.

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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.

LouFest Spotlight: Trampled By Turtles

@begt and I are only two months away from LouFest and while I am not fully prepared in regards to travel arrangements or time off, I am prepared when it comes to the bands that I will be enjoying. One of those bands is Trampled By Turtles. TBT are a not quite bluegrass indie folk band from the great white north of Duluth, MN. I cannot be sure when and where I first heard of TBT (lets be real, probably Spotify) but the first song I heard from them was “Wait So Long” (see video below). I was just starting my most recent folk/bluegrass kick and instantly loved the song. I started discovering their other work, and built a strong appreciation for the music they make (or sometimes cover like the Pixies tune “Where is my mind?”).

I would say they are probably the most “bluegrassy” of the bands in the LouFest lineup, and as a recent student of the mandolin, I can tell you that I am very excited to see them perform and to watch the mandolin being played live.

Please enjoy “Walt Whitman” (as seen on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim)

and “Wait So Long”.

They are on tour this summer, so if they are coming to a nearby town, you owe it to yourself to see them in action.

New Music Monday: Travis

In my teens and early twenties I listened to three types of music: gangsta rap, electronic and music from the United Kingdom. During this time period, I was introduced to the band Travis through their song and probably biggest hit in the US, the song “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?” from the album The Man Who. Travis, a four piece band from Scotland is fronted by lead singer, Fran Healy and features Andy Dunlop on guitar, Dougie Payne on bass, and Neil Primrose on drums. In total, Travis has released 6 albums, with their 7th to drop in early August. This album, Where You Stand has already had two singles released, including “Moving” which debuted today.

Some credit Travis with the popularity of bands like Coldplay and Keane who are fellow post-britpop acts. I personally prefer the introspection of Healy’s lyrics to both Coldplay and Keane, and am very excited that they have new music for the first time in almost 5 years.

Travis will be headlining a limited US tour this fall. I am hoping I can see them at their closest show in LA. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform on their Ode to J. Smith tour here in Las Vegas and saw Fran Healy perform songs from his solo release and Travis releases when he opened for Keane in 2010. The show I saw in 2009 is among my top 3 concerts of all time. The band does a great job engaging the audience and you can see that they really enjoy what they do. Fran has to be one of the most humble lead singers of any group, and at times seems like an odd choice for the front man of a band. However, as soon as he starts singing, you immediately know why he is where he is.

Enjoy “Moving” the 2nd single from their album to be released in August 2013.

You will like them if you like: Coldplay, The Fray, Keane.

#OperationTokyo

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You may not know it (yet) from reading this blog, but I am a HUGE Imagine Dragons fan. I first saw them on Friday December 10, 2010 when they opened for The Temper Trap at the Hard Rock Cafe on the Las Vegas Strip. I was there to see Temper Trap. I had heard of this up and coming local band, Imagine Dragons, from a friend who had seen them about a year earlier and had become a mega-fan. I was skeptical, some of the local Vegas bands I’d seen were just not that good. However, as soon as I saw lead singer, Dan Reynolds start singing, I knew this band would be huge. The stage presence of Dan, Wayne Sermon (guitar) and Ben McKee (bass) and former members Brittany and Andrew Tolman (keyboards and drums respectively) was incredible. I do not think Temper Trap had any idea that the opening act would totally destroy anything they could put on as a band. I am still a fan of Temper Trap, but I am a super fan of ID.

Other than the crazy energy and catchy tunes, I do not remember much of the show beyond the feel of the band and of the crowd. However, I do remember one song. That song is “Tokyo”. Since that day, this song has remained one of my favorite ID songs, and one of my favorite songs ever. I have had the good fortune of seeing this song performed live 4 times including that first occasion. However, since the band changed members and released Continued Silence and Night Visions, they’ve not played Tokyo live in Las Vegas (at any public show I am aware of). Tokyo is also my wife’s favorite ID song. And when I say it is her favorite song from ID, I mean, this is the one song she wants to hear them play. She knows all the other songs, but this one song is what represents Imagine Dragons for her. Not having heard Tokyo live in almost two years has been a tough pill to swallow. This is why, with the help of @begt and other ID fans, we are spearheading #OperationTokyo in hopes that Imagine Dragons will play Tokyo live at the Life Is Beautiful festival which @begt, my wife and I will all be attending here in Las Vegas. For my wife and I it will our 6th wedding anniversary the week of Life Is Beautiful and it would be amazing to see them perform this song again. “Where do I have to go to find a honey with a little soul?”. I’ve already found her but I would love to dance with her to “Tokyo” again!

“Tokyo” did not appear on Continued Silence or Night Visions (or the Deluxe Night Visions). You can find it on the It’s Time EP though. You can also watch the complete gem of a video that was made for the song. The band asked fans to submit video of themselves dancing and singing to the song. It is pure, unadulterated gold in my opinion.

Enjoy the video. If you feel the inspiration to assist in our mission, make sure you let Imagine Dragons know that Life will be even more Beautiful when they play “Tokyo” for the Vegas fans at the Life is Beautiful music festival. If you use the twitter, make sure to use the hash tag #OperationTokyo.

(The picture of the #OperationTokyo sign was created and displayed by @begt at Imagine Dragons latest show at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City, MO.)