California Roots is right around the corner!

It’s APR-20 and springtime is in the air…among other things. This time of year and this day in particular excites me because I know something very special is just around the corner. That’s right, the California Roots Music and Arts Festival will be here before you know it!

Cali Roots 2016

The festival invades the historic Monterey County Fairgrounds for its 7th year over Memorial Day weekend, Friday MAY-27 through Sunday MAY-29. My favorite weekend of the year boasts over 45 musical artists over three days and three stages, not to mention innumerable artists and vendors bringing their craft to the central coast.

[related: Cali Roots 2015]

This year’s lineup is the best in recent memory returning three veteran headliners; Slightly Stoopid [Friday], Damian Marley [Saturday] and personal favorite Rebelution closing things out on Sunday night! This lineup by no means is top heavy, also returning fan favorites J-Boog, The Expendables and Stick Figure. We also have first timers with hip hop vets Atmosphere, the Hawaiian siren Eli-Mac, and dance hall reggae powerhouse Protoje.

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Three day VIP tickets are already sold out so get your tickets today at http://californiarootsfestival.com/tickets. Stay tuned to zBORED for artist spotlights as we get closer as well as full coverage and wrap-up from Monterey. Only 36 sleeps til Cali Roots. As always, Jah bless and give tanks and praise!

Charles

Charles

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Coachella 2016 >> Some things happened during Weekend 1

Coachella >> is such a primo musical gala that boasts so many legendary artists as well as up-and-comers on one epic bill spanning a 3 days. It's definitely one of the best festivals on planet Earth because of these performances but also all of the fun surprises and fun mayhem that ensues throughout the weekend. This year was no different than that standard and I got to experience yet another festival of magic during Weekend 1 at Coachella 2016 in Indio, CA. Here is what what down in case you were unfortunate enough to miss it.

Coachella 2016

Guns N Roses reunited as a 2016 headliner and performed almost 2.5 hours of 80's dopeness behind frontman Axl Rose who sat atop a rock god throne of skulls and bones because of his own recent broken bones in his foot. He and Slash returned to their iconic form and reminded everyone at the main stage how fucking awesome they still are in 2016 during jams like 'Welcome To The Jungle' and 'Sweet Child O' Mine'. Angus Young of AC/DC shredded for a minute on stage too. Oh and its confirmed Axl will now front that legendary band as well. So that's rad!

LCD Soundsystem also reunited on the main stage the night before and proved they can still make all feet and asses nearby move to the sounds of so many hits that they certainly deserve more credit for. The rhythm and punch during 'Tribulations' was a blast back to 2005 when I bought the single's compressed audio file via an online storefront called iTunes to play on my brand new portable media player called the iPod Nano.

Jack U surprisingly had one of the best sets of the weekend. I have seen its individual components Diplo and Skrillex too many times to count so I wasn't dropping everything to see them again as a collaboration. But this duo really put together an electric set at the Outdoor Stage. I was immersed in one of the biggest crowds I've ever seen on any day at any Coachella, all of which just like me could not stop dancing like a fucking maniac for 45 minutes straight. It was a nice treat to see Kanye come out for 'Power' and somewhat of a letdown to not see Justin Bieber make an appearance for any of the Jack U tracks he's featured on. Did I just say that I wanted to see Justin Bieber? WTAF.

CHVRCHES' performance of 'Recover' during sunset on Saturday was the moment that defined why Coachellans make the trip out to Indio, weather the hot hot heat and endure the powerful winds and breathe the dry desert dust and operate fully on minimal sleep and energy. Because moments like these are how we 'Recover'.

Art of all sorts of mystifying curiosity was present, like an antique French bathtub tower that turned into a stack of gummy worms?

Also this thing.

Coachella 2016 Art

That turned into this thing at night.

Coachella 2016 Art

Emily Ratajkowski and Vanessa Hudgens were hanging in the main stage beer garden 20 fucking feet from me! Just standing there. Right fucking there!

M83 performed a bunch of ill new tracks from their recently released Junk which is a fantastic album that everyone should listen to. Its third and most recent single 'GO!' was performed as the penultimate of the set and could have very well opened the door for it being the next track that people should auto-associate the band to, which is currently 'Midnight City'. This song is so good and even better live.

A category-4 basic bitch threw her bag down to the lawn amidst a stampede of people and dramatically screamed, 'HAVE A NICE FUCKING LIFE, CHELSEA!!' before dropping to her knees and crying uncontrollably. I don't know what Chelsea did but she didn't seem phased by such a threat and kept walking in the direction of the Do Lab. It was kind of an epic friend breakup for lots of lucky people to witness on the way to the Ferris wheel and the kind that makes you appreciate the friends by your side at Coachella because they would never do to you whatever the fuck that bitch Chelsea did.

Speaking of the Do Lab, Glitch Mob made a surprise appearance there on Saturday night.

Speaking of Saturday night, Ice Cube kicked it old school for us. Old school. Multiple times before performing a popular jam he would say, 'I'm going old school for all y'all right now'. You know, so we would know that he is going to dig deep and far back into his catalog for all of us. One of my roommates for the weekend observed it best, 'Why does he keep saying that? It's 2016 and you're Ice Cube. Everything is fucking old school'. Cube had a really fun set though. He got fellow NWA members MC Ren and Yella to rap along on stage for everyone to fuck the police to and even brought out honorary NWA member  Snoop Dogg to join the party in true west side is the best side fashion. What was a mass agreed upon prediction the week leading up to festival weekend was that Ice Cube would also have Dr. Dre and a hologram version of Eazy-E to complete the collective attitude. Having that excitable possibility ingrained in our heads this entire week without fruition only led to a slight letdown in that regard. But fellow rapper turned soft actor Common joined Ice Cube before the set was over so there's that. YAY YAY!!

Some bold and not so bold predictions did come true though.

MØ and DJ Snake joined the 'Lean On' party with Major Lazer. Disclosure featured live collaborations with Lorde and Sam Smith which we previously saw on SNL last year and highlights from Glastonbury the year before, respectively.

One guest appearances was a complete surprise but was lame as fuck. Zedd had a very hard hitting set going then decided to kill switch that shit by taking all the air out of his slot and the energy out of the crowd when he introduced Ke$ha to the Outdoor stage to sing her new song 'True Colors'. I'm not a Ke$ha hater and I admit I actually like some of her songs but this one is horrible and slow and could not have premiered at a worse time and place. Hayley Williams or Tove Lo or Ariana Grande would have been much much better choices to bring up on their respective tracks.

Miami Horror's colorful onstage garb matched the psychedelic visual on 3 large screens as they performed. Their bubbly, funky demeanor and sound made theirs one of the best slots of the weekend.

Dreams of delectable pork belly at music festivals continued their glorious presence with LA's Beer Belly serving such magical meat alongside fine brew.

Robert DeLong featured Lindsey Stirling for a few songs so the crowd got to enjoy some super sweet electric violin and ballerina moves about the entire stage for at least 15 minutes.

Grimes graduated from a Sunday afternoon set under the Gobi tent in 2013 to a Saturday night headlining set in Mohave. Her crowd, onstage support and production seemingly increased tenfold thanks to her growth the last 3 years and my favorite album of 2015, Art Angels. Her set included tracks predominantly from that record which is definitely not a bad thing. She even got Janelle Monae to perform 'Venus Fly' with her on stage!

Speaking of female ascensions into stardom, Ellie Goulding and Sia have done just that but at a much more grandiose level. Both took late night set times and maximized their slots on the main stage with amazing performances and both gals deserve all the eyes and ears they're continuing to capture in 2016. Kudos, ladies.

I can't help but also adore Molly Rankin, lead singer and guitarist of ALVVAYS who wore an orange jumpsuit that looked strikingly similar to the San Quentin State Prison fall line of apparel. Fierce! Although her fashion decision was soooo last season she more than made everyone fall in love with her and that amazing dream rock when she serenaded the Gobi tent with 'Marry Me Archie'.

Lush did not make it to their set and canceled. Not sure why but it had better be a great reason to blow a great opportunity like this.

BØRNS were soooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. They're comprised of very weird band members but the talent and charisma have me dying to see another show again.

Purity Ring.

The Arcs were annoying. I really do like Dan Aurbach and The Black Keys and not much is different from that sound. I just hated that set. I don't know why. I wish I went to Courtney Barnett instead.

HEALTH was loud and just fucking awesome.

James Bay sang 'Let It Go' and stepped away from the mic to hear the entire packed Mohave tent sing along. I looked back to see and hear the crowd outside and those passing by and some entering the beer garden backwards doing the same. What an amazing talent! For real!

Incredible weekend. Hats off to Coachella for another hella successful event.

marc

marc

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Changes >> the new Charles Bradley album satiates the soul

If it’s not quite Thursday night and you’re having Scandal withdrawals, look no further than Charles Bradley’s Changes to put on your white hat and consume some vintage red wine while dancing drunkenly in your living room.

Charles Bradley >> Changes

Changes—which includes a remixed soulful version of the Black Sabbath song of the same name—reignites the singer’s status as a semi-modern James Brown-meets-Otis Redding, despite being 67 and on his third album since first going public in 2011.

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While the signature track is slow and thought-provoking, it’s the more upbeat ‘Good To Be Back Home’ that gets things moving early in the album. It’s difficult not to put this song on repeat, though the other tracks will remind you that it’s not a bad thing to just sit back and enjoy the soulful passion of a man who came into the game later in his life after a challenging upbringing. This album is perfect for a night in making dinner or prepping for a night out, though aside from the second track is probably not best for company with the slow burning love and desire that seems to be his forte for the remainder of the album. But hey, at 67 who would expect him to do anything less?

Tracklist: 1 >> God Bless America 2 >> Good To Be Back Home 3 >> Nobody But You 04 >> Ain't Gonna Give It Up 5 >> Changes 6 >> Ain't It A Sin 7 >> Things We Do For Love 8 >> Crazy For Your Love 9 >> You Think I Don’t Know [But I Know] 10 >> Change For The World 11 >> Slow Love

Danielle

Danielle

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Santigold >> Unstoppable in Tempe [Marquee Theatre]

Santigold >> made her way to Tempe on Monday night to play a solid gold show for a sold out crowd at the Marquee Theatre. It was her first live show in the desert in nearly 4 years when Master Of My Make-Believe was released.

Santigold

This time Santi is in the midst of a tour for her newest studio album, 99¢, which dropped last month. A lot has changed since 2012 when she played at the intimate Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix. This one is packed with even more bangers than its 2 precedents so this warranted a show at a much bigger venue. Santi's stage production has evolved to include a backdrop of the trippiest visuals that cats, soap and assorted groceries can present. Oh and let's not forget about her dancers who perhaps stole the show again, trading their umbrellas, sledgehammers and briefcases for selfie sticks, Cheetos and shopping carts.

[Related: Santigold at Crescent Ballroom]

This album is so good already and it got 99 times better after hearing some of its tracks performed in person. Sure, we'll probably never get sick of live versions of cult favorites like 'L.E.S. Artistes' or 'Disparate Youth' or 'Lights Out' or 'GO!' and 'Unstoppable' okay? But said cuts get bumped when 'Can't Get Enough Of Myself' and 'Banshee' and 'Who I Thought You Were' bump. You feel me, right? Oh and 'All I Got' is now my favorite track of the new album. Santi sounded great and was looking pretty good in her WE BUY GOLD dress serenading us with that electro-boogie Caribe doo wop style track and with just a glance stage left it was like heart eyes emoji status up in the concert hall.

Hopefully it's not another 4 years before Santigold returns to the valley or else I'll have to jump on the festival circuit again for my fix again like in 2012. Go get after a 99¢ tour stop when she arrives in your town because you will not be disappointed. Heya!

marc

marc

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Coheed and Cambria >> Play a Show on Earth in San Francisco [The Masonic]

As the show beings, Claudio stands alone in a single spotlight with an acoustic guitar, fingerpicking the lonely isolated notes of ‘Ghost’ off the new album. The crowd is still calm, with sparse whistles and distant COHEEED!’s punctuating the sonata like-melody. We all know what we are in store for, we all know how heavy this shit is going to get and I believe everyone in the crowd – like me – is using this time and this song to build our energy, to conserve.

Coheed and Cambria

Our conservation efforts did not bode well as the band rolled right into ‘In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth:3’and did not let up after that. That song sounds heavy as fuck live. Their set list was a blend of classics and new songs; but because Coheed is not a band that douche-ifies as they get older [aka the Coldplay effect, previously known as the U2 effect], the crowd never had a chance to rest as all the new shit is just as beastly. The mosh pit swirled, growing in size like a snowball of arms, elbows and men with bangs rolling down a mountain gaining momentum until critical mass was reached when the band ended their encore with ‘Welcome Home’. At this point, the entire General Admission floor was smashing around at full speed into each other. If you were trying to escape melee, your only safe harbor was the balcony seats. At a single point in the song I counted 8 simultaneous crowd surfers getting tossed around like beach balls, it looked like fucking Chinese acrobats or something. I watched the lead singer of I The Mighty get straight tombstone on his head and immediately stand up, gave double devil horns and get hoisted onto the crowed again. The lights were fully on as well so you could see every grimy detail of the mayhem that was occurring. It was the most fun I have had in a long time and I rarely have fun at rock concerts anymore.

 Coheed & Cambria

If I am going to pay 10 bucks for a Bud Light, deal with everyone's BO and have sore fucking calves tomorrow, then your music better make me lose my mind at some point. Unlike an EDM show, you can’t really dance at a rock concert, and the crowd rarely feels like we are on the same wavelength together like when there is an explosive drop at Drum n Bass show. Add that to the fact that most modern rock bands can’t play their instruments. So you end up spending an hour listening to songs sound exactly as they do on the album except with horrible sound quality and watch some dude strum the same fucking power chords as every other rock song ever written and some drummer play the same boring 4/4 beat. This is you must see Coheed live, to remember what rock was and could be. If you are a fan of their music, then I shouldn’t have to explain how good these guys are at playing their instruments. Claudio’s high tenor, almost feminine voice, hitting impossible notes with such precision and passion all the while furiously playing a blazing speed riff as the drummer duck-faces his way through a monstrous beat is a rare sight in rock today. Rarely does a band have two guitarists and both of them are shredding different, complicated lines that harmonize with each other. Trust me, at your next shitboy rock concert pay attention to the guys with guitars, both dudes are probably strumming the same thing as each other with so much distortion you can’t tell how bad they are until one of them plays a sleepy ass 8 note per bar guitar solo and the other one grabs the mic with both hands during the slowdown. God I hate that shit.

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Last fall, Coheed and Cambria released their first album in 15 years that did not take place in another galaxy. Instead of the usual setting of Heaven’s Fence [78 planets connected but a mysterious energy]; The Color Before the Sun takes place in a cramped brownstone in Brooklyn, New York.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, all of Coheed and Cambria’s previous records were all concept albums related to The Amory Wars, a comic book series written by Claudio Sanchez. The 7 albums tell the story of the Kilgannon family’s struggle to save the universe from a galactic Archmage by protecting the Keywork. Yes you read all of that correctly and yes it is as awesome as it sounds. So when you hear Claudio’s screech command ‘MAN YOUR BATTLE STAAAATIONS’, Claudio is actually singing about battle stations...like in space….like with lasers and shit. Of course, as with all good science fiction, we are allowed to extrapolate and personalize any metaphors that feel meaningful to us. It takes the mundane but very real human themes and pressure tests those ideas using impossible scenarios. Claudio uses the context of an intergalactic war to examine very earthly ideas like family, sacrifice, and responsibility. ‘What does duty mean when the universe is at stake and you're the only one who can save it?’ is very similar at its root to ‘what does duty mean when it's Monday morning and I am about to call off from work because I stayed up until 3am watching Daredevil on Netflix? Or what does duty mean when you know it's finally time to be a Father?

Coheed, like so few others, is a band that has an entire catalog of very good consistent albums. If you are a fan of any of their work chances are you must be a fan of all of it. I do not dislike a single one of their songs, I love most of them and others are true classics, with a sound that evolves yet is most certainly still Coheed and Cambria. This 8th album is no different,it still sounds very much like a Coheed and Cambria with its heavy riffs, progressive song structure and complex vocals. You can still hear the Megadeth-ian, 70’s prog rock influences, but it feels entirely different because the lyrics and themes are Claudio’s first person telling of his own life rather than a 3rd person space saga. He writes about the claustrophobia of moving from the wide open spaces of upstate New York countryside to a cramped Brooklyn apartment [Islands]. He writes a song for the newborn son he had yet to meet [‘Atlas’]. He writes a song about identity and the struggle of accepting all the different shades of which we are [‘Colors’]. He writes about the lingering doubt that we could have done things differently, maybe better [‘Eraser’]. He writes a love song to his wife [‘From Here to Mars’].

Walking home on this breezy, quiet San Francisco night, I am forced to draw a lot of parallels here to life in my 30’s. This band has gotten older and wiser. They have stopped fantasizing about grandiose themes as they begin to realize these earthly issues of growing up because you have to and questioning if there was a better way to get this point seem heavy enough and can feel as important as saving the universe. Life has thrust change and growth upon on us. Change can be unrelenting, inevitable, exciting and terrifying, yet, on this evening, as the crowd erupted, as Coheed and Cambria and I thrashed, raised our fists in the air, and banged our fucking heads just like we’ve always done. I realize that not everything has to change….and even though I am older, I will always be me.

Carmichael

Carmichael

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Atreyu >> Metaled Up in Atlanta [Masquerade]

Atreyu >> Three bands came through Atlanta and entered into the Masquerade on a beautifully cool night with metal on the agenda.

Atreyu Atreyu AtreyuAtreyu

The first was a local band, Souls of Redemption, who are going places fast. Their loud metal sound made an impressive impact, well received by the crowd who were still piling through the doors to the Heaven stage upstairs. It's always great to see new and local bands in any area. Souls of Redemption will be ones to watch. Next to grace the stage was Cane Hill. For those attending Rock on the Range in May, these guys will rock your pants off with hard hitting metal and an attitude.

The time had come for Atreyu to take the stage. This band can certainly entertain a crowd. They are the party! Everything with this band works, sound of riveting guitars, bass and drums, this is metal. Atreyu is back and this night made me realize that they only got better with time away. Rock On!!

 
Tiffini

Tiffini

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McDowell Mountain Music Festival returns in March!

MMMF16 >> This year the McDowell Mountain Music Festival will be in its 13th year and every year it seems like the lineup one-ups the prior bill w/ bigger and better artists. In just the last few years MMMF has brought in Phantogram, Passion Pit, G Love, Ben Harper, etc. and in 2016 they aren't fucking around again.

MMMF

This year the McDowell Mountain Music Festival lineup boasts Beck, Kid Cudi, Animal Collective, Porter Robinson, St. Lucia, MS MR and what I'm perhaps the most excited about, Bloc Party. The variety of artists that are uniting under the desert sun this spring is a testament to how much the festival wants everyone from all walks of life there.

MMMF16

In addition to the killer lineup and what all desert dwellers know to be the best time of the year here, the festival promises to deliver the best experience with multiple stages, VIP areas, delectable food and beverage in several areas of the grounds and mitigating the impact to Mother Earth by complying with the latest in sustainability standards.

So this weekend you should take a break from the ballparks and get out to Hance Park for the annual McDowell Music Festival for an entire weekend of great music, live and in full effect under the spring desert sunshine.

marc

marc

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