Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

F**K Yeah Fest (FYFFest) Festival 2015

Posted by xneverwherex on September 4, 2015

FYF Fest
August 22-23
The LA Sports Arena & Exposition Park

A friend and I love to joke about the name of the festival as the letters already stand for F*** Yeah Fest – so why they also added another fest is beyond me. Kinda like Courtney Taylor-Taylor – because one is never good enough.

A long, hot drive down the I-5 was just the beginning of the fun. Apocalyptic reservoirs that clearly were not winning in this drought war to gorgeous sprawling mountains that were no longer any shade of a recognizable green. Eventually, I’d pull into the traffic known as LA which somehow wasn’t bad at all. (A rare feat in itself).

And then it was off to the oh-so-trendy Echo Park with Ben and friends. Sadly, I still don’t get how that neighborhood is all that popular. Aside from the major strip that The Echo is on and a few hipster bars it was pretty dead on this Friday night. So here I am trying to beg my way into Baltimore’s Lower Dens show as Jana Hunter passes by more than a few times. Temptation set in quickly to ask her for a ticket, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead its off to a bar and Lower Dens will have to wait.

Saturday:
FYF is nothing like what I expected. Its beyond organized and it’s a breeze to get into. Sadly, I somehow missed half of Broncho‘s set, whom I was really looking forward to seeing. But, of what I did hear I loved. They were upbeat, rocking out on the stage and their music was infectious. They ended their set with their ever catchy single “Class Historian” and everyone was bouncing and singing along. Great way to start the day.

I end up hanging around on the trees stage as its shady and a chill stage. The cool thing about this festival is the stages are spread out far enough that there’s no bleed-through but also easy enough to get from stage to stage. Expo Park is awesome with the coliseum in the middle sporting the 1984 olympic athlete sculptures cue “stars of track and field”.

La Femme

La Femme

The real reason for hanging out at the stage is Paris’ La Femme. Easily one of my most recent favorite albums, the French do NOT disappoint. The band comes out covered head-to-toe in robes and head coverings (Arab-chic) looking like they should be playing in the Sahara and they are ready for fun as well as a dance party.

With their opening notes of “Its Time To Wake Up”, the band got the crowd moving. It was a kick-ass set and the crowd was dancing up a storm and singing along to their music. It was pure fun as they went through a good chunk of their album Psycho Tropical Berlin. As they finished out the set with the catchy “Sur La Planche“, the crowd was a dance party with everyone moving together and singing along. A pretty awesome first couple of bands.

After much needed shade and beer (they somehow go hand in hand) it was off to enjoy Dinosaur Jr. in the beer tent. The band is celebrating 30 years and with all the original members they’re awesome to see. As soon as the chords of “Feel The Pain” started it was off to the front of the stage to get the real feel of J. Mascis. Man.. he does not disappoint. With his grey locks flowing, he rocked out and really got the crowd into the music. Plus, their cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” is insane and possibly better than the original, harder and heavier and so rocking. Just brilliant!

Then I had to give NYC’s The Drums another chance. I figured at a festival they would be better than the countless other times I’ve seen them in a club. And their light show was pretty incredible, but I still have yet to figure out the hype and they were still as boring as ever. Musically, they sound pretty good, but live — leaves a lot to be wanted.

!!!

!!!

But then right after was the dance party I had really been waiting for — !!! (chk chk chk). And this is a band that never disappoints. Surprisingly, their stage is pretty empty which means even more room to work it out and dance dance dance.

As Nic Offer came onto the stage, the band wasted no time getting into their electro-dance-punk beats and the band members all started dancing on stage with instruments. By the time lead singer Nic started to sing, he was already working the crowd with his awesome/funky dance moves and his short shorts (a staple!). Not much had changed since I had last seen them and it was refreshing! As a frontman, he is always entertaining and its always a good time.

Thankfully, as I hadnt really been following them, they were playing mostly newer material and have a new album coming out. Plus, they have a show scheduled in SF at Slims in December … so the dance party will continue.

And then it was the newly put together Bloc Party. So long Matt Tong… and welcome to female drummer Louise Bartle, who totally kicked ass. The band had played their first show with the new band members, which also includes the new bassist Justin Harris, just 2 nights prior. And thankfully the band still has their same energy.

Bloc Party

Bloc Party

Kele Okereke sounded as great as great as always hitting his high notes. He was talkative with the crowd and seemed happy to be performing again. And with the opening bass lines of “Hunting for Witches“, the crowd went crazy as everyone started singing and jumping. And then if it couldn’t get any better is the scratchy opening notes and catchy drum beats of “Positive Tension“. By then everyone was singing and dancing along if they weren’t already. Their post-punk sound filled the air and it was a great way to nearly be ending out the night.

So many awesome songs were played and it felt like a ‘best-of’ set which was perfect for this fest and perfect for the fans. I somehow ended up mostly in the beer tent area and a bunch of us went crazy as “Banquet” started to play. Singing in unison and all with the same ridiculous dance moves of jumping in circles as Kele sang “turning away from the light… turning into myself”. In some ways it felt like one of the first times I had seen them. The same excitement had returned which I hadn’t felt in forever.

After that I would try and see Cold Cave — just don’t get the love for that band — and I kinda felt bad as it was one of the most empty stages. But, anyone going up against Yeezus, Kanye was seriously in trouble.

Trying to get to the main stage for Kanye was truly insane. Everyone at the festival was trying to get there and it was just beyond packed. While the screens helped some, it was near impossible to see anything. As people eventually cleared out, it got easier to see.

Kanye is truly something else. His rapping over Daft Punk’s “Stronger” is pretty brilliant. It’s catchy, original and he is pretty amazing. And then it was straight into the single “Power” which sounded even better live. I’m not sure who was performing the female vocals but it was pretty amazing. The guy was just delivering and I finally understood the obsession with Kanye and people needing to see him. (He was a replacement for Frank Turner – and people were paying top dollar to get in just to see him). Its hard to deny how talented he is and someone so worth seeing.

Jesus & Mary Chain

Jesus & Mary Chain

Trying to leave the festival would be insane so left Kanye a bit early (missed Rihanna towards the end of his set) to see the Jesus and Mary Chain. The band was playing the album Psychocandy in its entirety and had never sounded better. Their loud, dark, moody sound filled the nighttime air. The sounds of guitars just seemed to go on forever; plus they had a pretty impressive light show.

I hadn’t heard this album in forever. The even louder, more rocking “The Living End” had never sounded better. Staring at their shoes for the most part, there was hardly any crowd interaction. But it’s one of those bands where none of this matters. The music speaks for itself.

It was one hell of a first day and the next day was even better.

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Friends, Live Music, Random Ramblings | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ibeyi

Posted by xneverwherex on April 3, 2015

Ibeyi
Flo Morrissey
The Independent
4/2/15

Ibeyi, the much-hyped SXSW band from Paris, had finally emerged in San Francisco. Ibeyi, meaning twins in Yoruba, had to be the most adorable twin sisters I had ever seen perform. I guess one word that kept coming to mind while watching them was ‘precious’. And their set was just that (which is not to take anything away from how brilliant they are).

The sisters came out to the stage to a crowd that was beyond excited to finally be seeing them perform. They kneeled down and picked up the candles on the stage and lit them before starting their first African chant. Add some traditional Cuban drums, and the beats came alive with Naomi keeping a consistent beat throughout the show. Coupled with sister, Lisa-Kaindé, singing in Yoruba (a bygone Nigerian and Santeria language) and the show was already that great.

The show felt at times voyeuristic as we watched the sisters perform chants and folk songs for the Yoruba gods. Lisa-Kaindé talked a lot about the gods and who they were and how they were a part of the songs. It felt like we were almost invading this sacred world, but the way they made the audience a part of it was nothing short of special.

Ibeyi

Ibeyi

The blend of Afro-Cuban, French music set to drum beats was a minimalist sound but simple and beautiful. With the piano playing of Lisa-Kaindé against Naomi’s drum beats and the strong vocals it was so easy to get lost in the music. The sultry dance moves as they glided across the stage just added to the ambience of their music. As the twins went into their single ‘River‘, they dedicated it to the gods (possibly Oshun and Shango – one was definitely for the water and the other earth) and had the crowd sing along “wash my soul again” as they sang “I will come to you river”. The end result was just beautiful as the crowd became a part of their show.

The crowd, who was filled with lots of very polite women (someone even complimented Lisa-Kaindé’s dress), would apologize each time they bumped you or wanted to squeeze in and take a picture. And it felt all too fitting with the sisters on stage who had that same vibe to them. They were all too thankful to be playing and so excited that the crowd was so into them. The crowd was electric and sang along to most of the songs as well as continued with the clapping as instructed. Songs like “Oya” just stood out with the gorgeous piano playing and warm/strong vocals against the simple percussions keeping up the beat. And “Ghosts” is nothing short of spectacular. You can just feel the pain in their voices as they harmonize together and come together as one. The pianos and drums together with their chanting and vocals just makes for a beautiful song.

In short, this is a band to see. While their music itself is simplistic, when they perform together its really something beautiful and magical. The twins come together as one and take us into a world that rarely we get to see. Its usually hard to translate that into a live performance but theyve managed to do just that. In a nutshell, its just precious and will take you out of your own world/life for just a bit.

Opener Flo Morrissey came out to a very loud audience. She was soft-spoken and picked up her guitar and played a short acoustic set. She had some good songs and her vocals are nothing short of impressive – strong and powerful – but she just couldn’t compete with a crowd that was far louder than her. It seemed most the time you could barely hear her singing but Im sure in the right venue she would be pretty awesome to hear.

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Its Time To Wake Up – La Femme

Posted by xneverwherex on November 2, 2014

La Femme
Sego
Future Twin
10/30/14
Slims

Paris-based La Femme was in town on Thursday night, the last night of their US tour, and were ready to start the Halloween party a tad bit early. The band came on stage around 11pm and played for nearly an hour and 45 minutes, properly bringing in the holiday. Sasha graced the stage in what looked like a lounge-y housecoat and pajama bottom styled pants, with the housecoat very open revealing a very naked chest. So it only took moments before the crowd (men and women) were yelling for him to take it off.

La Femme

La Femme

La Femme was perfect for California bringing their surf-electro-wave music to town. If they werent singing in French, they might be mistaken for a California surf punk band. They definitely have perfected the style but made it their own. At times they had the sexiness of Serge Gainsbourg (the breathy sultry music) complete with some great dancing. The band members all worked the stage dancing across it lost in the music.

The band turned Slims into one hell of a chaos infused dance floor. There was more moshing/circle pits than dancing (a pity), but the crowd was very into it. Only real complaints were the ginormous guys who were crushing the females in front – I walked out of the show with a bloodied up elbow and a fair amount of bruises including bruised ribs. (note: Im so not cut out for this). There was some stage diving as well as a few band members joining in on the fun on the floor. “Its Time To Wake up (2023)” really had people moving — with a great mix of vocals sung together, an electro meets psychedelic vibe and a lot of pot smoking. Their songs seemed to last forever and at times it was trance like. “Sur La Planche 2013” was as catchy as ever with plenty of people singing along.

I did notice a lot of French people in attendance and a lot of French speaking which isnt seen all that often. The band, keeping true to their album title Psycho Tropical Berlin, played a set encompassing all the different styles. From Berlin cold-wave, to the beach tropical sounds, deep into the psychedelic – lots of keyboards (lots!) and a good amount of guitars. The band was insanely brilliant.

LA via Provo, UT band Sego was one of the openers. And they really killed it. Reminiscent of Bloc Party, minus the catchy choruses, infused with LCD Soundsystem and you pretty much get this band. Their music was fun with lots of catchy bass lines and a keyboardist that was going crazy. Dance-punk at its finest, I expect to be seeing a lot more of this band.

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Oh those lovely Parisians

Posted by xneverwherex on October 11, 2009

So — in the past 2 weeks Ive seen a _ton_ of shows.  So lets start – a show at a time for the past 2 weeks. Or I should say – the shows that stood out.

Fri – Sept 25 – Phoenix & Passion Pit @ Central Park (Summerstage)

So, I was lucky enough to get into the show since it was sold out. But I volunteered for Summerstage, so I had an easy in. Of course, it really meant that I was working at the show. So I got there early and got to hear Passion Pit doing their soundcheck. They were already sounding great. A quick text to Andrew (one of the guys who works for them, and is also a friend of mine) to let him know how it sounded.

I was assigned to the ‘mobility -impaired’ section as its now called which is right in the front of the stage area on the right hand side. Great spot with a great view and also right next to the VIP section.

Passion Pit played a good set. I cant say I had the same feeling after seeing them in Chicago, but they were enjoyable. But Im a big believer in the fact that they need to just play their faster/upbeat stuff in concert, as their slower stuff doesnt translate as well. And honestly, I can only take so much falsetto. But their catchy songs do work live and the crowd was really living it up.

Phoenix would come on next. And me, being totally forgetful, couldnt understand why my friends were getting all excited. And behind me was Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst and Sophia Coppola (wife of Thomas Mars – lead singer of Phoenix). How on earth I didnt think for 2 secs she might show up, I dont know. But sure enough they were all there leaning up against the same fence I was. They seemed friendly enough, but you could tell they did not want to be bothered. And Simon nearly had to jump in and help me do security and get some guys out of the area.

Anyway, after all my celebrity gawking, Phoenix finally hit the stage. And the boys from France never disappoint. Their new stuff sounds great live and starting off with Lisztomania is a great choice getting the crowd really involved in their show. They played stuff from each of their albums, and it was really great to be hearing ‘Funky Squaredance’, although for all I know they play it at all of their shows. But its always a great song – Im just amazed how many people dont know it. Their encore had some of their other hits with Everything is Everything and If I Ever Feel Better. Thomas even did some songs by himself which was a nice change. Overall, they sounded great and what an awesome way to end the summer. Out in the park with gorgeous weather and the boys of Phoenix.

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