Jaded Inc >> Experimenting in San Francisco [The Chapel]

Jaded Inc >> Friday night, I put on my hipster cap and made my way to SF’s mission district for the Mayer Hawthorne show at The Chapel.

Jaded Inc >> San Francisco

Before I get too into the show let me first sing my praises of The Chapel. Such an awesome and unique venue. It is exactly what it sounds like: a church; choir loft, 40 feet high vaulted ceilings and a small intimate main floor perfect for a congregation at any performance. Add in amazing acoustics, lighting and a top notch full service bar with incredibly reasonable and legit cocktails, it’s pretty hard to beat no matter who is on stage. If you’re ever in SF, go see a show there.

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Speaking of who was on stage, I thought it was going to be Mayer Hawthorne who’s hits like ‘The Walk’ and ‘Ain’t Gonna Work Out’ had me ready for his established mix of crooning to R&B and Soul with some Hip-Hop undertones. It turns out this show was his new collaboration with 14KT called Jaded Incorporated. They call their sound Beat Wave which consisted of the pair standing on stage five feet apart behind computers and drum machines. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Daft Punk they are not. I have a MacBook too, but no one wants to pay to see me stand on stage and hit buttons either.

 Jaded Inc >> San FranciscoSome songs had little to no singing and the beats seemed rudimentary and robotic, reminiscent of bad 80s Synth-Pop. At times I could feel the crowd looking around and trying to figure out what was going on just as I was, and the show suffered and felt disconnected.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all bad. Songs that featured more of Hawthorne’s signature voice like ‘Monster’ had the crowd back engaged. They also did a killer cover of Flock of Seagulls’ ‘I Ran’ that had me channeling Harry in Dumb and Dumber yelling at the stage, ‘Then you go and do something like this…AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!’

Overall, I am still very glad I went. I get it, these guys are artists, they try new things and I respect the hell out of that. It doesn’t mean they always work or that they have to stick with it forever. Hey, Michael Jordan played baseball for a year but eventually realized his true gift was still on the hardwood. Here’s hoping Mayer Hawthorne can realize the same and returns his focus to singing in the years to come.



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Lykke Li >> Dance Dance Dance on Sunset [Hollywood Palladium]

Lykke Li >> I apologize in advance — this post is largely dedicated to my girl crush for Lykke Li.

Lykke Li >> Palladium

photo c/o Ashley Schaffner

Unrepentant, confident, demanding, vulnerable—all words I would use to describe this magnificent young lady. Her initial stage presence leaves you yearning, begging for more.

She walks on to the blackened stage of the Star Wars-ish Hollywood Palladium, strong, bold; wearing the coney-shoulder pads of her pleather black coat and skinny black bell bottoms.  She belts out her first song, pumping up the eager audience of girls, couples, and rockabillies.

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Lykke takes the stage as though it’s her own, from right to left, getting as close to the crowd as the stage will allow, dancing in place so everyone has the opportunity to get it on film. She puts on a long black pleather trench coat, insisting we ‘Dance Dance Dance'. We pull out our iPhones as lights and dance to the music at her insistence. She feels our bliss and our pain; she is one of us.

Lykke Li >> Palladium

photo c/o Ashley Schaffner

Oh, Lykke. She is our modern day Fiona Apple, with her strength and poise, raw and real. She’s not out there to impress anyone—she’s out there to say it like it is and have us feel what she feels. She wants someone to get her a drink. She wants us to dance; she wants us to be okay. I love her for that.

Lykke Li >> Palladium

photo c/o Ashley Schaffner

I would say more, but why bother? She’s as real as can be, she sounds great, and she has an amazing show at a fantastic venue. I’m disappointed it wasn’t sold out [albeit a Tuesday], because this young Swedish woman is only getting better. But, hey, it only means I get to see her before everyone wants a piece, and I’m fine with that.

Lykke Li >> Palladium

photo c/o Ashley Schaffner



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New Kingston >> One Lovin’ in San Francisco [The Fillmore]

New Kingston >> Brooklyn natives, New Kingston cruised in to San Francisco this weekend as they helped Tribal Seeds wrap up their Representing Summer Tour.

New Kingston >> The Fillmore

For those who have not heard or seen New Kingston before, they truly make their music a family affair. The three brothers, Tahir [keys], Courtney Jr. [drums] & Stephen [guitar] all share in the vocals while their father Courtney Panton Sr. joins in on the bass. Having their roots and heritage based in Jamaica, there was a refreshing and natural sound that can't be duplicated outside the islands.

Don't get me wrong, I love bands like Rebelution and SOJA who continue to spurn an ever-growing audience for new groups in the genre, but once in a while it's nice to hear some good old-fashioned reggae vibes.

[related: Rebelution + SOJA >> Cali Roots 2014]

That being said, this show wasn't steel drums and passing to the left hand side. They brought one of the most versatile and engaging performances I have seen in a long time to The Fillmore. They pled sounds with soul and funk tones, reggae vibes, R&B and slow jams. They also still got that dancehall reggae that had me jumpin’ around all over the place, moving just as crazy as Courtney Jr.'s dreads as he wailed on the drums and he and his brothers got the crowd hyped.

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Throughout all of their different songs, the message and the feeling remained the same: love. Most people hear the term reggae and automatically think of pot and dreadlocks and instantly think they have the music, the people who play it, listen to it and live it pigeonholed. It's really unfortunate, but bands like New Kingston play that music that makes you feel love. Their show from the very start made you feel love for music, love for their performance and energy, love for your girl and love for one another. Please check out their FB page for more info and to see when they'll be bringing the love to a town near you.

Big ups to New Kingston for a great show and for spreading reggae music. One Love!



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Pinback >> Summer in Abaddon 10th Anniversary [Crescent Ballroom]

Pinback >> kicked off another tour Wednesday night in Phoenix at the Crescent Ballroom. This tour commemorates 10 years since the release of their 3rd studio album Summer In Abaddon. The duo performed each and every track of the celebrated release from front to back for the sellout crowd downtown.

Pinback >> Crescent Ballroom

While Summer In Abaddon isn't Pinback's debut album or even their best selling album it is arguably their most successful because it put them on the map and thus yielded much deserved attention. Thereafter, I witnessed Pinback shows with crowds tenfold those in the era of 'Boo' and 'Penelope'. These days they headline tours, necessitate bigger venues and even boast extra medium to large font on national festival lineups.

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The celebratory performance at Crescent was intimate, nostalgic, polished and perfect. Looking back, Zach Smith & Rob Crow have grown quite a bit since the early 2000's and although this was like my dozenth time in a Pinback crowd, it is more and more remarkable to see these guys continually fine-tune their craft yet still embrace that raw indie vibe that fans alike love.

Plus it was great to be part of a group all there to see Pinback instead of immersed in a crowd of oblivious tweens lined up to see The Neighbourhood like at VIVA PHX earlier this spring.

[related: VIVA PHX >> Pinback]

I got to speak with Zach after the show about tour experiences, recording strategies and some other randomonium. Be on the lookout for my zTALK post and in the mean time, go check out Pinback on a Summer In Abaddon tour stop in a city near you. Do it!

Setlist: Non Photo-Blue * Sender * Syracuse * Bloods On Fire * Fortress * This Is Red Book * Soaked * 3X0 * The Yellow Ones * AFK * Scent * REQUESTS: Devil You Know * Boo * Good To Sea * Walters * Penelope * ENCORE: Loro



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zTALK >> Black Kids: Reggie Youngblood

Black Kids >> are back in full effect in 2014 and recently they kicked off a long overdue and highly anticipated tour including a return to Phoenix. Prior to that refreshingly nostalgic and killer show, I sat down with Black Kids' founder and frontman, Reggie Youngblood to discuss what everyone has been doing since the Partie Traumatic days, Reggie's dirty South side projects and other important shit like 80's sitcom themes.

Black Kids >> Reggie Youngblood

MARC: Good to see you again, Reggie It's been at least five years since you've been out here, right?

REGGIE:  Yeah, when we played Tempe.

MARC: That's that's my hood.

REGGIE:  Yeah, we had fun. It was the Mates of State tour.

MARC: Yep, at The Clubhouse. Sadly, that venue is no longer with us. Can we please have a little moment of silence?

REGGIE:  [silence]

MARC: Amen. So what have you guys been up to in the last half-decade?

REGGIE: Most of us have relocated from Florida. We're all dispersed about as far as we possibly could. One of us lives in Portland. The other lives in Brooklyn. I moved to Athens earlier this year and a couple of us are still in Florida. Some of us went back to school, and others started families but we've been working on music on and off. After we did like that two years of touring we kinda just went home. Then we started to work on our second record and it was just - not fun.

MARC: How so?

REGGIE: I think we gave ourselves some time to recover but we started working in earnest fairly soon after we got back and we just weren't the same. I don't know. It was just touring for that long, some people are lifers and they're fine with it, but I think for some - especially myself - I was not the same person when I came back. So we just needed to take a step back. Then after a certain amount of time, it's not really a rush to get things done. It's just going to be done when it's going to be done.

MARC: So it’s a challenge when you have five different lives moving in different directions, right?

REGGIE: Yeah, it's different. It's not like when we all lived in the same neighborhood and we saw each other every day and we were playing in town every month and playing in front of our friends all the time, so it was a different situation. I think we transitioned into a situation that wasn't really good for us creatively.

MARC: So what about the formula today? Is that the same as it was?

REGGIE:  Yeah, that's still the same. It might have been like a year and a half ago, we went up to Athens to record with my friend and spent a couple of weeks just working on ideas and since I live there now, I go in every once in a while add a little more. I change stuff. It feels good. It feels like we're definitely moving, whereas before we just all stepped away because none of us wanted anything to do with it.

MARC: So are you one of the lifers then?

REGGIE:  Probably. I don't know. I suppose so.

MARC: Do you have other projects that you're working on?

REGGIE: Yes, I play in a group in Georgia called Night School. It's me and 3 good buddies. It's like a power-pop rock band.

MARC: So, how's the tour going so far?

REGGIE:  It's fun. This is only the third show, so...

MARC: So tonight's show is going to be the best one ever?

REGGIE: I think so. I feel good about it.

MARC: You guys are promoting this tour with a cover of the Game of Thrones theme song - which is really dope, by the way - if you were creating an all theme song album, what other shows would inspire your tracks in Black Kids fashion?

REGGIE:  I'm sure they would all be 80's sitcom themes. Perfect Strangers would be good. The Cheers theme would be good. Growing Pains.

MARC: [singing] Show me that smile agaaaaaain.

REGGIE:  Yes, that definitely needs to be reintroduced.

MARC: So is there a new album and songs in the works or is this strictly a tour just to tour?

REGGIE: We're trying out a couple of new songs on the tour. We put out that track ‘Origami’ which is something that we've been working on and playing that at shows. That's what I like about playing is that we'll play the song and eventually when we're done with the tour, we'll know what we like about it and what we don't. So, that's why it's important for us to play. We weren't doing that at home for some reason. I'm glad that we're getting out there again.

MARC: What would you say the biggest difference is for you now versus 2008? Musically, personally, whatever, but you can't say it's your hair.

REGGIE:  Well, I think musically, I question things a lot more. Before, I used to feel a little more fear in expressing myself and so the process is longer. It used to just be like, ‘Well that's dumb, this doesn't make sense musically,’ but now there's a couple more steps in there. I'll say, ‘Who cares? But no, really,’ so it takes a little longer. I second guess myself a little more than I did back then. I want every song we write to count and I think some artists just put it all out there and they just move on to the next thing. I've always been just so focused. I'm not a perfectionist, I just want it to feel right. That makes it sound like I'm a perfectionist, but I'm really not. So that's why I have a low output. I never thought I would be like that. I thought I would be prolific like my heroes but I'm not. I'm very slow and maybe I'm just fucking lazy.

MARC: Or  maybe just more methodical?

REGGIE:  I don't like to force it but I might want to consider forcing things.

MARC: Is there anything else that you want to tell the zBORED audience?

REGGIE: No, not particularly.

MARC: Very well then. Peace.



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The Offspring >> Smash 20th Anniversary [Mesa Amphitheatre]

The Offspring >> first released their iconic Smash album 20 years ago and in 2014 they're celebrating the anniversary headlining a nationwide tour with fellow legends of punk Bad Religion and Pennywise. This weekend Dexter Holland and the boys visited the desert and played a shreddingly brilliant show at Mesa Amphitheatre.

Offspring >> Mesa Amphitheatre

In 1994 I got my first ever CD player along with my first 3 compact discs: Dookie by Green Day, II by Boys II Men and of course, Smash by Offspring. My state of the art bookshelf jukebox was a 6-disc changer by JVC that took a few more months of allowance in order to fill up the rest of those trays with more 1994 gems but then I discovered BMG and fucking Columbia House so 20 CD's for a goddamn penny? Sold. Anyone else remember those hustle moves?

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Anyway, Smash could certainly be attributed to the birth of my punk persona so it was quite an anticipated nostalgia-induced show at Mesa Amp the other night. Dexter, Noodles and the rest of the squad walked on stage as the album's 'Time To Relax' intro sounded and once in their proper positions 'Nitro' and the dozen other bangers on the album went down in sequential order, although they played 'Gotta Get Away' only once instead of on repeat 25 times in a row like it did on my JVC when I was in 8th grade. They also saved 'Self Esteem' for the end which ignited the most uproarious crowd I have ever seen at this particular venue. While these guys are damn near 50 years old they can certainly still shred and their product still gets people going fucking nuts.

What I can really appreciate is at the end of all the Smash songs, the band began to walk off stage and Dexter said they'd be back in a few minutes. Today's standard unplanned-but-planned encore from every other artist is bullshit so although subtle, is was refreshing for Offspring to call their intended intermission before their second mini-set. As promised they came back out and played sprinkled hits from forth released albums but mostly Americana. I was a little butthurt not to hear 'Gone Away' from Ixnay On The Hombre but just a slight damper to an otherwise perfect night of punk-fucking-rock to the max.

Setlist: Nitro [Youth Energy] * Bad Habit * Gotta Get Away * Genocide * Something To Believe In * Come Out And Play * It'll Be A Long Time * Killboy Powerhead * What Happened To You? * So Alone * Not The One * Smash * Self Esteem * ENCORE: Americana * All I Want * [Can't Get My] Head Around You * Why Don't You Get A Job? You're Gonna Go Far, Kid * Pretty Fly [For A White Guy] * The Kids Aren't Alright



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Summer Ends Music Festival V.1 >> September at Tempe Beach Park

Summer Ends >> and to nearly every desert dweller it's a beautiful thing to say goodbye to sweltering heat and hello to long lost blissful Fall weather. The inevitability of the seasonal change is only the half of utmost splendor. Summer Ends is also a 3-day music festival taking place in the final weekend of next month, which is essentially the gateway to glory here in AZ.

Summer Ends Music Festival

Let us celebrate this cyclical delight with a gala at Tempe Beach Park boasting a stupendous lineup that includes Descendents, Fitz & The Tantrums, Taking Back Sunday, Foster The People, O.A.R. and Andrew McMahon from Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate.

The aforementioned are just a few of the crushers taking stage in front of Tempe Town Lake where we've seen many a concert show a great time. This is pretty much the revival of Fall Frenzy and a half GREEN-17 celebration combined into one big gala to officially peace out the summer solstice proper.

Tickets can be purchased here as either a 3-day pass or single day tickets. With the amount of bangers each day I highly suggest getting the multi-pass. See you at the show!



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