Mew >> Danish Delight in Los Angeles [The Fonda Theatre]

Mew >> You know when you pay a shit ton of money to go to some fancy headliner and to make things as dramatic as possible the lights dim, the lasers go on, the music starts, and slowly but surely the man of the hour walks out singing and everyone cheers as they begin to perform?

Mew >> The Fonda

Not Mew.

On the opposite end of the performance spectrum, like a Pulp Fiction-esque adrenaline rush injected directly into your heart, Mew’s drummer hits the stage and slaps you in the face with his high energy drum solo quickly followed by guitar, bass, keyboard and vocalist who just want to get things going!

Maybe it was the Red Bull they kept chugging between songs. Maybe it’s the fact they hail from the happiest country in the world [Denmark, for all you uninformed Millennials]. Whatever it was, I liked it and it worked for them.

When you hear the name Mew  you often hear ‘what?’ in response. It’s totally normal, unless you know music and you know that these guys have been around since 1995 and are a part of the Danish indie alternative rock music scene. They have a bit of a following, which could be easily witnessed by the dude just behind me who recorded the entire show on his phone with the flash on the whole time as he sang louder than Jonas and danced his bro-ey little ass off. St. Lucia—a band I’m seriously crushing on right now—also happened to be in attendance [which, sadly, I only learned later when I checked Instagram].

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Their sound is what I consider good road trip music. You know, the kind that puts you in that happy and adventurous place just as the trip starts, then slows down when you’re in that spacey zone, only to come back up-tempo just as you’re starting to doze off. They hit all those spots in just the right way.

I was surprised I was able to watch the bulk of the show from the front of the stage without being bombarded by fans [aside from Super Fan behind me]. The Fonda Theatre, though, also has a great upstairs and balcony, so towards the end of the set I walked up to see the band from up top. How much I couldn’t see from down below! They had an entire movie happening on the screen behind them; a scary ass nightmare movie reminiscent of the thriller Saw, but still pretty badass.

All in all a good welcome back to the US performance after a six-year hiatus. Can we make sure it doesn’t take as long the next time, boys?

Now please go listen to ‘Satellites’ and ‘Am I Wry? No’ if you haven’t already.



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Bay Area Vibez: Diversity With A View

This past weekend was the first ever Bay Area Vibez festival in Oakland. The two day urban lifestyle music festival made its home at the Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. The waterfront park is a true hidden gem and provided an aesthetically unforgettable setting for the weekend. Saturday's sunshine and Sunday's Blood moon were both back dropped by the Bay Bridge guiding one's sight line back to the silhouette of the San Francisco city skyline.

Bay Area Vibez

The lineup for each day was as diverse as the bay area itself; hip-hop, electronic and reggae artists graced each of the festivals two stages. Saturday's lineup was heavy on the reggae vibez with Rasta legends Tarrus Riley and Morgan Heritage warming it up for reggae royalty Stephen Marley and brother and headliner Damian Marley closing it down. Damian has a hardness and an edge, maybe even anger to how he delivers his songs that radiates with tremendous energy and was transcended in the crowd. The best protection on the market.

All performances were amazing and set a very positive and mellow atmosphere with a message of love and respect that beats at the heart of all reggae music. Having seen most of these acts before, it was Saturday's non-reggae star Aloe Blacc that stole the show for me. His unique and soulful voice was a breath of fresh air in the overlaying haze of cannabis brought on by the afternoons other artists. The man can flat out sing.

Bay Area Vibez

For those unfamiliar with his work, you might recognize him as the voice of Avicii’s smash hit ‘Wake Me Up’. He actually co-wrote the original with Aviici and it appears acoustically on his most recent album Lift Your Spirit. Honestly, it's better than its electronic counterpart. Might not get your feet moving or fists pumping as hard, but the true beauty of the song and Aloe's voice really come through and it did once again when he performed it Saturday. Other songs you might recognize are ‘I Need A Dollar’ which was the theme song of HBO's How To Make It In America and more recently ‘The Man’ which was the soundtrack in a series of Beats by Dre headphone commercials. During the presser after his performance Aloe discussed his work with, a non-profit founded by Harry Belafonte, that tries to shape society's culture through music to help promote social justice. It was cool to see that his soulful sound had actual soul behind it. I expect big things from Aloe Blacc on and off stage in the years to come.

Bay Area Vibez

Sunday was a more top heavy slate with most in attendance coming to see headliners Bassnectar and NAS. For me it was all about one man with ‘One Mic’, NAS. I was pretty pumped to see him just because it's not every day you get to see a hip hop legend. He blew me away. NAS is hip hop. I may still listen to the crap on the radio these days but only out of lack of options. No MC on the planet right now comes close to Nasir Jones. He's the last of a dying breed from what I consider the golden age of rap. 2Pac and Biggie are gone, Ice Cube makes Barbershop sequels, Dre makes headphones, and Jay-Z is a business man. NAS carries the torch for what's left of hip hop and it burned bright Sunday night in Oakland. His rhymes, lyrics, voice, and beats all as sharp and heavy as ever; songs that tell stories and have a message, tracks that cause thought, emotion, and action. He gives you something most rappers don't today, perspective. Whether you can relate or agree it doesn't matter, you're getting an honest and real point of view strung together by an urban poet of which the likes of we won't soon see again. He played all the hits: ‘If I Ruled The World’, ‘One Mic’, ‘Hate Me Now’, ‘NY State Of Mind’ and so many more. All classics.

Bay Area Vibez

On top of a sick musical performance, what impressed me maybe even more was how engaging he was with the crowd. He wasn't just rapping songs from his album he was putting on a performance. He came off relate-able, intelligent, funny, mature but still gangster as fuck. The whole set was choreographed beautifully. I don't mean dancing; I just mean how the show was orchestrated. His DJ, Green Lantern, was on point, actually scratching and mixing like a DJ used to. Clearly the pair has done this before as they anticipated each other's every move. Just can't say enough about QB's finest. The albums have always been great but the stage is his kingdom. Seeing him is a must next time he runs through your city.

Thanks for a great weekend, Bay Area Vibez! It was a random ass festival but it brought great acts together and a crowd from a lot of different backgrounds together in a gorgeous setting. Another instance of music being the universal language and this weekend everyone spoke fluent good vibez!



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Bay Area Vibez Music Festival

Bay Area Vibez >> Did you have a great summer? Ya, me too. Plenty of fun in the sun and lots of great music. Shame it's over. Oh wait, thats right Summer in San Francisco is just starting. Our annual jaunt into an Indian summer is upon us with temps soaring in to the upper 80’s and 90’s. What better time for one last outdoor music festival to send summer off with a smile.

Bay Area Vibez

The first annual Bay Area Vibez festival gives us just that opportunity. With this new festival comes a new venue and experience. The two day multi genre concert takes its talents to the Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland September 26th and 27th. Saturday's lineup has me feelin’ irie for some reggae vibez with three separate Marley performances (Damian, Stephen and Skip), along with rasta icons Morgan Heritage, and mix in some Aloe Blacc for a twist of soul. Sunday goes hard with the electronic energy of Bassnectar, and the Illmatic lyricist himself NAS. So don't put away the SPF just yet because these two days in the park in Oakland are going to be blazin’. Get your tickets today at, and I will see you in Oak town, ready to send the Bay Rea's summer out with some great Vibez!



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Imagine Music Festival 2015

Imagine 2015 >> On a hot and humid last weekend in August, Imagine Music Festival took over The Masquerade and the park beside it in Atlanta, Georgia. This electronic music festival is like saying goodbye to summer with a variety of artists from around the world performing to music lovers. It had something for everyone to enjoy from veterans of EDM like The Crystal Method to newcomers and home town favorites from Atlanta. This is one of those moments at the end of summer that will be in memories fifty years from now. The vibe at this festival is fun and about enjoying life. Live in the moment and be respectful to everyone is what was running through the audience all weekend long.

Imagine Music Festival 2015

Saturday morning came and the travel to Masquerade was underway. Not a long trip, but still is exciting knowing all the way to the point of destination that great performances await for a day full of fun. Once inside the festival gates after getting checked in, the energy of all the other Imagine festival goers gets you even more excited for this day’s events and performers. The nice part about the Masquerade is that the staff there are always friendly and welcoming. If you ever have questions just ask them and they know the answer or they will find out the answer for you. Walking down into the first stage which is called Oceania, it has an aquatic theme, one can hear the first sounds of bass for the day. This hits you like a dragonball and it is wonderful. The first band on the stage this Saturday is RA , followed by Eddie Gold. Both were fantastic too!

Imagine Music Festival 2015 Imagine Music Festival 2015 Imagine Music Festival 2015

Oceania continued as the main stage to hear more of the best of EDM throughout the day. The performers also included Mantis, Leah Culver (formely known as DJ Ultra), Kayzo, Terravita, Brillz, Griz, Morgan Page, and The Glitch Mob. All performances were wonderful and the festival goers reactions to each one reflected it. It was truly a great day of music at this stage. (more…)

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The Wailers >> Wailin’ Out in San Francisco [The Independent]

The Wailers >> Last Friday, The Wailers completed their second tour through San Francisco this year, once again returning to the intimate confines of The Independent.

The Wailers >> San Francisco

In January they did three shows each focused on a separate album and this time, ooh darlin’ they did ‘Stir It Up’ into a sweet, sweet musical POTpourri if you will. Did they pretty much basically play Legend from cover to cover? You bet they did. Are most of the current Wailers other than the original Bunny Wailer, younger than me? Yes, yes they are. I get it, to most people The Wailers are nothing more than a glorified Bob Marley cover band. To me they are much more. It's not really about the band as it is about the music and the time. Unfortunately, Robert Nesta Marley died much before his time and a year before mine in 1981. Had he been alive today he'd be celebrating 70 years and we'd be celebrating him as the candle that cast light on to the world of reggae for most of us.

The Wailers >> San Francisco

Now the Wailers are the ones keeping that candle's flame burning. With or without Bob, their music is still simply the best and is absolutely timeless. The Wailers pay great tribute to Bob by keeping those songs alive and sounding as jammin’ as they ever did. They are a link to the past and keep the memory and the music alive and well. If great music you know every word to, super talented musicians backing up positive messages and vibes, in an amazing small venue with the perfume of sweet sensimilla in the air isn't something you can get down to, then go ahead and ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ and ‘Exodus’ out of my face with that noise. Keep ‘Jammin’Wailers, always! Give tanks and praise. Jah Bless.



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Outside Lands 2015 >> Golden Days in Golden Gate Park

The Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco as always held a special place in my heart. For me it simply feels like home, mainly because it is. Having a festival this size within walking distance to ones house makes it so simple; no flights, no hotels, no camping. I just get to relax and enjoy the music and the weekend. OSL [that’s what us locals call it, aren’t we hip?] is a full 3 days of music in San Francisco’s Golden Gate park that more than anything is a microcosm of all the city embodies. There is always so much to do, with great food and drink, art, unparalleled people watching, and a lineup of bands as diverse as the city’s people.

Outside Lands Windmill

This year’s headliners were Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, and the 'Rocket Man' himself Sir Elton John. All had performances worthy of the honor but if you need me to go in to more detail you’re shit out of luck. The names speak for themselves and so does their music. So if you want on more on them close and open up your Spotify and have at it.

Ok good you’re still here, pheww that was risky. Now on to some highlights and awards. The award for most random show for me was a band called The Drums. As fellow festivalgoers can relate, sometimes you end up at a show out of convenience or because of your friends. The Drums music felt like synth pop of the 80’s with an edge, somewhere between Boy George and The Cure. I know that doesn’t make sense and probably isn’t accurate so if you’re a huge fan of The Drums get off your hipster horse, just my opinions of what I was taking in. Lead singer Jacob Graham stole the show with his undeniable and unconventional stage presence. Wearing a sparkly jacket reminiscent of Jon Heder in Blades of Glory, and the skinniest of all the skinny jeans, his effeminate swagger took a strong hold of the intimate Pan Handle Stage [smallest of 4 main stages at OSL]. Vocals and melodies were smooth and catchy with an electronic backbone and to my disappointment only one set of drums.  Song I walked away with in my head was ‘I Can’t Pretend’. Definitely something I wouldn’t have normally gone to but glad I did. Also think I scored +3 points on my hipster card, so I got that going for me.

The Drums >> Outside Lands

The next award is a tie. It’s the My Face Kind of Melted Award which goes out to both Porter Robinson and Axwell^Ingrosso. Dance music is a dish best served live and in person and both performances were unreal. It’s hard to even type this but, it’s not so much about the music but how you feel it. Just something about losing your mind to a beat uncontrollably with thousands of strangers that is liberating. I honestly can’t explain it. It’s a completely irrational and involuntary response when the right song comes on.  Turns out those two songs for me were, Porter Robinson’s ‘Sad Machine’ and Axwell^Ingrosso’s ‘Something New’. I know those might be trendy by electro heads standards but fuck it those songs are awesome and why they end up being anthems. Had I been on drugs my face might literally have melted jumping around to those jams. Both have been on repeat since last weekend. Hell I might even go see We Are Your Friends when it comes out now. Nope, but it was still two killer performances by some of the hottest DJ’s in the game. If and when they come to your town, go get your face melted.

Porter Robinson >> Outside Lands

The final award winner of the entire weekend was Billy Idol. I am just not sure what award to give him so I’ll go ahead and bestow both Best Performance and the Lifetime Achievement Award. I am not trying to be ironic or patronizing on any level, Billy fucking Idol made my weekend. The dude is a rock star. He also might be a vampire because at 59 years old he’s in better shape than I have ever or will ever be. First and foremost though he is a rock star.  Jacket still leather, hair still bleached, and shirt still completely off by the end of the set. His midday Saturday performance on the festivals largest stage was the pinnacle of the festival in so many ways.  For one it was the literal halfway point of the weekend. People had finally become accustomed to their surroundings in the massive park, found their friends, had just enough beers or other recreational elements and were ready to party. And above all else Billy Idol knows how to party. What I wouldn’t give for one Saturday night with Billy Idol circa 1986. The guy still brings it though, he’s loud, he’s brash and he definitely wasn’t dancing with only himself as he had thousands moving along to the track of the same name. He also as if planned waited until the sun came out to play ‘White Wedding’. It really would’ve been a nice day for a white wedding, very well played sir. Still sounded great too, really a freak of nature, and his energy though still probably cocaine fueled was on point. At least that’s how I like to picture my Billy Idol, strict diet of loose women, whiskey, and blow. If he went vegan and does Pilates every day, keep that info to yourself. Was he the best sounding artist all weekend? Probably not. Most talented or most famous? Not even close. But god dammit it was fun, like the mostest fun ever, and like the ‘Rebel Yell’ he had me screaming, ‘More! More! More!'. Don’t ever change Billy Idol you magnificent son of a bitch. Oh wait you haven’t. Good work then.

If you’ve never been to the city by the bay for Outside Lands, make the trip. The lineup doesn’t matter. It will always be good. I could make an entre festival out of just the bands I missed this year. So hop on a cable car, pack a jacket, and come hand out some award of your own next summer!



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Lindsey Stirling >> Transcendence in Phoenix [Comerica Theatre]

Lindsey Stirling >> performed a desert homecoming show on Thursday night downtown at Comerica Theatre. The show also featured opening acts Olivia Somerlyn and Lights.

Lindsey Stirling >> Phoenix

The 28-years young Lindsey Stirling hails from Gilbert, Arizona, and it's no surprise that another huge crowd came to see her play a homecoming concert for the 3rd time in less than a year. Of course, not just because she's a local favorite but also because she's extremely talented in so many ways.

Ms. Stirling is a classically trained and amazing violinist. She also dabbles in singing and can dance very gracefully yet with a pop all whilst aggressively bowing the shit out of that fiddle. Her ballerina-like movements take her across each end of the stage with leg kicks and lofty jumps and sometimes in a hip-hop fashion synchronized alongside dancers or even her own pre-rendered dancing shadows behind her.

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But Lindsey's style is unique in that she plays alongside a drummer and keyboardist to create a very electronic sound, similar to dubstep on a lot of her compositions. There's classical bows combined with high tempo drums, synthetic buildups and powerful drops. The classical crossover that the strings needed in an artist is Lindsey Stirling. She even creates live tracks for a looping machine to drop layers upon layers of electro fiddle freshness although I think she has a long way to go to get to Reggie Watt status.

[related: Reggie Watts >> Live at the Crescent Ballroom]

The stage production and lighting were dope too. Each excerpt, song and medley featured a theme or story that made it seem as though we were witnessing the filming of that track's music video - which in some cases like 'Crystallize' and 'Take Flight' it actually was recreating a live version of the video. Lindsey told the audience that it's not uncommon for her to dream up the music video first and write the song from there. Throughout the night, she spoke about her writing technique, her life and various anecdotal pieces to her musical career. It was essentially a shotgun episode of VH1 Storytellers which should eventually happen because the world needs to get to know how this bubbly violinist does her thing and how she got here.

My favorite part of the night was hearing her tell the story of how 'Transcendence' originated. I always thought it was a sick track but I now have a new level of appreciation knowing where it came from, which she described as a new journey upward and away from a major lull of depression and self-loathing. It was special to hear about her most vulnerable moments and inspiring to hear how she harnessed the negative and turned her life around.

Big ups to Lindsey for making big splashes in a genre that hasn't broke through just yet. If you get the opportunity to see her perform live, don't miss it. You'll enjoy being immersed in the classical crossover Vevo playlist of acts that is a Lindsey Stirling show.

Setlist: Ascendance * Moon Trance * Master Of Tides * Shadows * Electric Daisy Violin * Elements * Assassin's Creed / Dragon Age / Halo / Skyrim / The Legend Of Zelda * Song Of The Caged Bird * Transcendence * Take Flight * Crystallize * Firefly * Roundtable Rival * Stars Align * Shatter Me * ENCORE: Beyond The Veil * Phantom Of The Opera



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