Here’s my June 2012 playlist of a selection of bands I caught during the month.
Now, Now: “School Friends”
Location Seen: Bootleg
blondfire: “Where The Kids Are”
Location Seen: Bootleg
the Colourist: “Oh Goodbye”
Location Seen: Bootleg
Montë Mar: “Different Place”
Location Seen: the Satellite
JJAMZ: “Never Enough”
Location Seen: the Satellite
Kera and The Lesbians:”Green”
Location Seen: the Bootleg
Summer Twins: “I Don’t Care”
Location Seen: the Bootleg
Delta Rae: “Bottom ofthe River”
Location Seen: One Colorado Pasadena
Peg: “Unwinding of a Vein”
Location Seen: SilverlakeLounge
Maybe Vultures: “The Midnight Hour”
Location Seen: SilverlakeLounge
Quick notes on three of the bands. Keep an eye out for the next time Now, Now is in town. They’re from Minneapolis so it isn’t like you’ll get the opportunity to catch them every other month. Kera and The Lesbians had one of the most emotional endings to a set I’ve seen in a while. Delta Rae is from North Carolina. They also attended college at Duke University. Every so often I mention Duke in my posts. Yes, Duke rules and so does this band.
And my July 2012 pick: Coco Morier is playing at Pershing Square,July 19th, Thursday, 9 p.m. Her music gets you dancing and what better way to spend a Thursday night.
Three bands that I love playing on the same night. What are the chances of that happening? (Okay, maybe it isn’t that rare of an event, but it does provide a reason to write a post on Intraffik!) That’s what happened on a recent Monday night at The Echo when Black Flamingo and Raw Geronimo shared the stage with the March residency band NO.
I ran across both Black Flamingo and Raw Geronimo last year. I caught Black Flamingo at Silver Lake Jubilee. Raw Geronimo was a chance encounter. I was at The Standard in Downtown Los Angeles to support a friend’s poetry reading. Afterwards, a group of us headed up to the rooftop where Raw Geronimo was getting ready to play a set. I also ran into our Intraffik editor who was there specifically to see Raw Geronimo. As for NO, I first heard about them last year when I read somewhere that they did a house show during the Sunset Junction cancelled weekend and that they drew a massive crowd. I didn’t get to catch one of their sets until this year, however.
Of the trio, Black Flamingo (pictured below)hit the stage first. Their music is layered with a gothic chanting sound that tempts you into believing you’re in an ancient London church, but in reality you’re being enchanted out in a dark forest.
Noticed after their set: I believe Black Flamingo must hold the record for quickest clean-up after finishing a set at The Echo.
Comment of the night: “Make sure you stick around for Raw Geronimo. I’m a connoisseur of girl fronted bands.”
NO played the 11 p.m. slot. This band hasn’t been around for that long (two years, I believe), but I swear the front man and the whole band in general plays with unbelievable confidence and poise. When lead singer Bradley stepped out onto those speakers that line the front of the stage, you couldn’t help but feel drawn to him. As for their sound, it demands your attention.
NO (pictured above) had a number of special guests for the night. A violinist. The Echo Park Community Choir. There was also a toy accordion that briefly held the spotlight. The place was packed with folks having to stand on top of the benches that line the back walls.
Raw Geronimo closed out the night. Yes, way past my normal bedtime during a school night, but they did represent the last of the trio and there was no way I was going to miss their set. Their music is raw, just like their name implies. And for a photographer like me, they’re a dream. Laena, the lead singer, is the ultimate contortionist. Who knows what she’ll do next. It is a fun challenge trying to guess how to best capture her. It doesn’t really matter if I am only able to capture one or two good photos of her. What matters is the challenge of trying to capture her in the camera frame.
*thanks to The Echo for having these three bands.
As is customary, during his travels Notes from Vivace will not go on holiday without making a decent effort in seeking out the local music scene from whichever far-off locale he jets off to (click here to see some of his past adventures). This time it was Edinburgh and London. This is a IV Part Series. For Part I click here. For Part II click here. For Part IV check back tomorrow.
I woke up sick. That was just brilliant. Sore throat. Running nose. What was to blame? The flight over? The lack of sleep? The cold weather? The stress of having my luggage misplaced? The volcano eruption, which resulting in me not getting to my destination in the planned manner? Probably all of the above.
(One thing I didn’t address so far regarding Edinburgh was the weather. It was cold and it was rainy. I arrived with the proper clothing. The weather was totally expected, but when you’re actually faced with rain and chilly wind in May, it actually is unexpected.)
Measures were taken. Orange juice. Robitussen. Cough drops. Water. Sleep.
Of course, I couldn’t spend my last full day in Edinburgh just hanging out in my hotel room. I took some time to visit a handful of museums before heading back to my hotel for a nap. As for going out to listen to more bands, that was a definite no-go. Instead, I watched the final American Idol episode – music related.
Restaurants. I’ll be honest. I was so freaked out about how expensive everything was (or was going to be once I hit London) that I really went cheap in Edinburgh. Stuffed baked potato. The cheapest possible pizza I could find from a restaurant named after Ernesto “Che” Guevara. I did; however, go all out one late afternoon. I went to David Bann where I got an udon noodle dish for about the equivalent of $18, ouch (it was one of the cheapest dishes on the menu). It was a nice restaurant. I’m no expert on design so I’ll steal this quote from happycow.net: ”Modern, stylish restaurant with deep aubergine walls accented in silver and dark, minimalist seating send a strictly nouvell” message. I have no clue what that means, but it does sound sophisticated enough to be accurate. Here’s what I noticed when I first walked in at around 5 p.m. Everyone was dressed in black. Diners and employees. Though the place was mostly empty at that hour, I did happen to take a peek at the reservation schedule and it looked like the restaurant would get packed starting at 7 p.m. As for the food, it was a good meal.
A few minutes after I sat down and destroyed the whole black dressed atmosphere, another tourist walked in and she was also dressed as casually as I was. That was a relief. I half suspect that if I had walked in at 7 p.m. they would have sat me in the far corner of the room or maybe even the broom closet.
Interesting observation: The restaurant is designed so that you can see the chefs preparing the meal. One chef asked one of the waiters for a glass of ice. The waiter went to the front desk and asked a maitre d’ to get a glass of ice. A few minutes later the chef once again asked the waiter for a glass of ice. A snippy comment was made about needing it for some eggs. An angry look was exchanged. The waiter walked off to get some ice and when he returned he just put it on the counter without telling the chef (who had his back to the counter). The chef eventually retrieved the glass of ice. Moments later someone from the front came over with a glass of ice. She also did not tell the chef that she was leaving a glass of ice. Possible serious communication problems in this restaurant?
So I still hadn’t fully adjusted to the time zone shift, but I did manage to get seven hours of sleep in. My check-out wasn’t until noon so I stuck around my hotel room reading a book. After checking out, I headed off to the train station. Looking up at the departure board, I noticed a warning that said trains from London to Edinburgh were being cancelled due to a line problem.
Well, if train service was being disrupted going from London to Edinburgh, I was rather sure service was going to be disrupted from Edinburgh to London. I headed off to the ticket desk where a young woman said that the train was still going to leave Edinburgh at the proper time; however, it might take longer than usual to get to London. I boarded the train and as we were arriving at the next stop an announcement was made over the sound system that went something like this. “There are major problems along the rail line. You might not make it to London today. It is recommended that you get off at this stop and return to Edinburgh.” Okay, my UK trip was turning into a logistical nightmare. I decided I was just going to take my chances and stuck to my seat.
Our train started to get packed as passengers from other diverted trains started to pile in. Apparently, few were taking the advice to just stay at your point of departure. We arrived at York where our train stopped for perhaps 30 minutes if not an hour. Announcements were made saying that the train would eventually stop at Doncaster. From there we would need to take another train to Sheffield and from there head on to London. I do have to give it up to the train staff. They tried their best to communicate directions, but I couldn’t help but think that if I was a non-English speaker I would have had no clue what they were saying. Doncaster, Sheffield, what kind of city names are those?
I started to pay attention to a couple of young woman. They were English. And they were talking aloud about their options. I figured they probably had some clue about what was going on around them. Folks started to exit the train. I could see them all looking up at the departure schedule and then I watched them rushing off to other platforms (or, perhaps, I was thinking to a taxi to get to Doncaster, I had no clue – post research shows that Doncaster is about 50 miles away from York so that was a totally stupid thought). The two young women had the same question, “Where is everyone going? Didn’t they tell us that we were supposed to get off at Doncaster?” One of them took the initiative and got off the train. I saw her talking to a train station employee. She came back in and told her friend, “Everyone took off and got on another train. The guy told me that we’d get to London 45 minutes sooner if we just waited to get to Doncaster. But then I asked him when we should expect the train to leave and he didn’t have a clue. If we’re stuck here for awhile maybe it would have been faster to jump onto the other train. Why didn’t they at least give us the option?”
Eventually our train pulled out from York and we were soon in Doncaster. Once on the platform, I looked up at the departure schedule and saw that the train to Sheffield was leaving in like 15 minutes. I also saw that there was a train departing from Doncaster that was going directly to London, but I decided I better just stick with the suggested route. A brief sense of panic hit many of us who were heading to Sheffield as we only had 15 minutes to find the new platform. The departure schedule said to go to Platform Eight. We all rushed to platform 8. Then we looked up at the departure schedule and noticed that it now said that the Sheffield train was leaving from Platform 3b. There was a rush of folks trying to get to Platform 3B. Who wanted to get stuck in Doncaster . . . actually, Doncaster might be a great place to visit, I have no clue.
My time from Doncaster to Sheffield was spent watching two young girls, between 5 and 8 years of age. Their dad was sitting with them. They spent half the time licking the train window. I was thinking the whole time, “Doesn’t the father notice them licking the train window? That’s disgusting. Why doesn’t he stop them?” Eventually he did. As we headed through some tunnels, the two girls played a more interesting game. As we were in a tunnel, they yelled out, “It’s nighttime.” And when we left a tunnel, “Oh, it’s morning.” Their arms stretched wide the whole time. Okay, that was cute, but it didn’t make up for the window licking.
We got to Sheffield in a proper manner and the train to London was at the appropriate platform.
On this train I was surrounded by futbol fanatics. This was the night of the Manchester vs. Barcelona game and folks were complaining about the train delays and therefore their inability to watch the game on television. Someone had a laptop computer with wireless access and a group of around five people watched the game. As it became apparent that Barcelona would win, one guy said, “At least we’re losing to the Spanish. Just think if we were playing the French.”
We arrived in London around 10 p.m. at Euston Station. My original destination was supposed to be King’s Cross (Harry Potter). Euston Station is within walking distance of King’s Cross, but I never took the initiative to walk on over to King’s Cross. By this time the train/underground offices were closed and I really didn’t have any clue what the process was to get a ticket. The Underground is divided into zones and you pay based on how many zones you go and I had no real clue on how that process worked (even though I had done some reading on it). I also didn’t have a solid idea regarding which Underground stop was nearest my hotel. So I walked out of the station and instead of doing what normal people do, which is to take a taxi, I walked it to my hotel. It probably took me 45 minutes or so to get to my hotel. At least it got me so tired that from that point on my jet lag ended.
Interesting situation: no one came by at all to check if I had a ticket from Edinburgh to London. I guess due to the line disruption the staff figured that everyone would have tickets for different trains anyways so why bother checking.
After my initial hesitation to take the Underground upon my arrival in London, I didn’t have any such hesitations Sunday morning. I walked over to Paddington Station and bought a day ticket. And from that point onward, I was a believer in the London Underground.
My first tourist spot was to the Tower of London (see photo above). This is actually an expensive tourist spot to visit. It costs around $30 plus they ask for a $3 tip (£18 + £2 tip). Is it worth $33? Honestly, it seems a little on the expensive side. Unless you really really really want to see the crown jewels, you can probably skip it.
While walking around, I saw someone with a Duke t-shirt. I can say that Americans are very loyal to their universities: Duke, Texas Tech, Texas, UCLA.
Later I found my way to Buckingham Palace (pictured right). I took some photos from the gates and then decided to walk through the parks to get to my hotel. It was a longer walk than I thought it would be. The park never seemed to end.
I took off to the Westminster Abbey. A very impressive house of worship and I did get to see where Queen Elizabeth sat for the recent royal wedding. From there it was off to the Tate Modern, which I say is over-rated. I think LACMA and MOCA can hold their own to Tate Modern. Then it was off to Tate Britain. I got there just as a tour was starting, which was 45 minutes of interesting commentary on a handful of paintings.
From there it was off to the Rough Trade East to catch my first band in London, Cloud Control.
As mentioned earlier, I sent off a Facebook message to someone in Edinburgh to get some ideas on which bands to check out. I received back a wealth of information. I also tried sending off e-mails to a couple of people in London, but I never got a response back. However, via my Internet surfing, I did come up with some options. A cool option that popped up was Rough Trade East. They had two free shows: one on Monday (Cloud Control) and another on Tuesday (Cults!!!). As also previously mentioned, the UK is one expensive place so free shows were welcomed in my opinion. Yes, sounds like Amoeba Records to me, also.
As is customary, during his travels Notes from Vivace will not go on holiday without making a decent effort in seeking out the local music scene from whichever far-off locale he jets off to (click here to see some of his past adventures). This time it was Edinburgh and London. This is a IV Part Series. For Part II check back tomorrow and check back Thursday for Part III and Friday for Part IV.
I recently went to catch Cloud Control at The Satellite. It got me off my butt to write this UK Music Scene column. If you love or hate this multi-part column, blame it on Cloud Control.
Why the U.K.?
My co-workers found it strange that someone who loves to travel as much as I do had never stepped foot in the United Kingdom (other than via Heathrow). So why hadn’t I ever gone to the UK prior to now? When I was over in The Netherlands as an exchange student some of my fellow classmates took off to London for a weekend. Upon their return, they called it the “most boring city in Europe.” That stuck with me – peer influence. Then there is the fact that every single person who comes back from London complains about “how expensive everything is.”
What changed my mind? As I was deciding on my next vacation, Edinburgh popped into my head. A city that just sounded ancient and cool. The thought about just taking a few days to check out London started to cross my mind. Could it really be that boring of a city? Expensive, definitely, but a city that large couldn’t possibly be boring. My analytical side started to kick into gear (or maybe it was my rationalization side). I had plenty of vacation days and needed to burn some of them. A five day vacation to Edinburgh just wouldn’t drain enough days and spending more than five days in Edinburgh (population of around 450,000) might get boring. Also, all my previous vacations were spent in one city. It might be considered more of an adventure if I went to two cities. I started doing daily checks on Expedia for hotel/airline combinations that fit my price range. With about a month left till my vacation, a surprising combination popped up that came in below my price expectations. I jumped on it. I was off to Edinburgh and London.
That pre-trip planning
During my last vacation to New Zealand, I had to deal with a lot of stress regarding my luggage (the constant pressure from airline/airport employees to check my luggage). It was time to capitulate and check my luggage. However, I still wanted a carry-on large enough to carry a couple days worth of clothes just in case my checked luggage got lost. I had plenty of experience with airlines losing my luggage and I didn’t want to take any chances with me having to wear the same clothes for who knows how long.
After giving some thought on the type of carry-on luggage I wanted to purchase, it dawned on me that what I needed was a backpack. I’d seen fellow fliers with backpacks that included wheels. A suggestion was made to check out Ross. After catching a movie in Burbank one morning, I headed over to the Ross that was down the street. They had a backpack, but it was larger than what I wanted. It looked like something a hiker might use, while I was looking for something more in-line with what is used for school.
Later in the day, I took off to a shopping center in Glendale that had a Ross and TJ Maxx. I went to the Ross first. Nothing there fit my needs. Off to TJ Maxx. I was disappointed with the selection since it looked like they just had suitcases, but while thinking I might need to settle for a backpack without wheels I noticed tucked away in a rack my perfect find – perhaps an inch or two taller than I might desire, but it fit my needs.
I took it home and tossed in a pair of pants, shirts, underwear and socks along with other items such as a book, writing material, and camera. It all fit with ease, good.
On my way to LAX, I learned that this added piece of luggage caused some back pain. I say: stupid airlines and their carry-on luggage policies.
The Icelandic volcano, Grímsvötn, began to erupt as my vacation was approaching. I remembered that last year we had the Eyjafjallajökull volcano that disrupted air traffic for a number of days. So before I took off for LAX I called up Expedia to get some thoughts from them. If a natural disaster happened, I was told, I would get reimbursed. I also looked at the Delta website. My flight to Amsterdam was a go, but the flight from Amsterdam to Edinburgh was in flux . . . ah, that was today’s flight, not tomorrow’s.
I typed “Iceland Volcano Air Delays” into Google and read a couple articles that indicated that expectations were for limited travel disruptions. However, limited meant that on Tuesday morning flights to and from northern Scotland would most likely be impacted. Northern Scotland? Is Edinburgh considered Northern Scotland? I wasn’t sure.
With that research done, it was off on my normal route to LAX, the metro system. A security officer and a LA county sheriff patrolled the Imperial/Wilmington Green/Blue Line stop. I think this was the first time seeing security there during the day (there is always security there at night). Not to sound like a middle class fear-for-your-life-type of guy, but that was good to see. It was also good to see other airline passengers using the metro. Eight of us boarded the Green Line shuttle to LAX and while the shuttle dropped folks off at various terminals a number of folks boarded for the Green Line. I love seeing folks use our public transportation system.
I think the whole door-to-door (Glendale to LAX) was done in record time.
While sitting in the Delta/KLM terminal, a guy from China came up to me, asking for directions. He first addressed me in Spanish. I told him I didn’t speak Spanish and so he switched to English. These multi-language foreigners.
When I went to New Zealand, I took Virgin Australia and I couldn’t help but gush about the whole experience. This time around, I was flying out on Delta/KLM and so there was no real fascination with the check-in process or aircraft; however, next to me sat a father and his young daughter. The young girl kept looking at me, saying, “Lola, Lola.” I had no clue why she was saying this to me. Her father explained, “It is an Elmo song.” When the plane arrived in Amsterdam and we were disembarking, I waved to my three year old seat mate. She waved back.
I exited the plane and immediately looked up at the departure schedule monitor, my Edinburgh flight was cancelled. I knew it (think Seinfeld saying “Newman”). I was informed to go to the transit desk. There, a long line awaited me. First, I tried the electronic process. That didn’t work. A KLM assistant came over and led me over to get a ticket for some face-to-face help. I waited two hours before getting to talk to someone.
I swear it reminded me of my exchange program days in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. All the exchange students were coming in and it took us hours just to get checked into the system for our dorm rooms. There were four staff waiting on perhaps 50 people. There were apparently two lines for different needs, but no one had a clue which line to stand in. We just stood there (or maybe we were sitting after waiting for hours – memory is sort of fading about the details), no one moving, I swear it took four hours. The rumor was that they had a hard cut-off time so some fellow U.S. classmates said they’d let me sleep in their room if I didn’t get processed before the office closed. So somehow the Dutch helped spearhead capitalism, they had one of the great empires even though their country is extremely small. They snuck around Nazi occupation to save numerous numbers of Jews (Anne Frank was hidden in Amsterdam), but when it comes to mastering queue efficiency, they just can’t do it.
I eventually made it to a KLM employee. I swear that within five minutes he had looked up all the necessary information on me and booked me on a flight to Leeds and told me that I’d need to go to the train station and take the train to Edinburgh. As I walked away, my analytical side was doing the math. How did I end up waiting in line for two hours and yet I was helped out in five minutes by a KLM employee? How many folks were in line in front of me? Five employees times six customers per hour (generous ten minutes each instead of five) times 2 hours equal 60 people? There was no way there were 60 people ahead of me.
When I got to the Leeds gate, I noticed a young couple with their child sitting in front of me. I recognized them immediately as the couple who arrived way after me at the transit desk, but had somehow gotten help before me. What caught my attention was the fact that the wife was wearing a Duke sweater. So I asked her if she’d attended Duke University. She hadn’t, but she knew someone who did and so when she was in the Durham, NC area she’d gotten a Duke sweater. She assured me that she was a Duke basketball fan.
The flight to Leeds was uneventful until the last few moments. We were flown out on a small plane that got whipped around by the wind as we landed. That gave us a nice roller coaster feel. (more…)
Here at Traffik, we’ve covered some of the bands on this year’s lineup and will be making an extra effort to catch their sets, so here’s some extra love for the following:
Jail Weddings: (6:30 Saturday)
Summer Darling: (7:40 Saturday)
Restavrant: (6:05 Saturday)
Twilight Sleep: 5:00 Sunday
Future Ghost: 12:50 Sunday
Tommy Santee Klaws: 1:50 Sunday
There are also bands such as Lady Danville (4:30 Saturday) and The Black Apples (5:50 Sunday) that we’d like to highlight.
The goal, of course, isn’t just to catch up with your favorite local bands. It is to find that band(s) that you’ve never heard of and to fall in love with their music. The beauty of festivals like the Silverlake Jubilee, which completely focuses on the current local music scene is that the bands on their line-ups are all bands you can go out and catch almost any day of the week at the multiple local music venues. They just make it easier for you to find the local music you like and would go see again by filling up a weekend of your life with live performances.
The Second Annual Silverlake Jubilee takes place this Saturday (May 21st) and Sunday (May 22). For more information visit the official website.
Rock Artist David Edward Byrd (pictured below – creator of iconic posters for Jimi
Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Ravi Shankar, and Grateful Dead) celebrated
his 70th birthday at Bedrock Studios on Saturday, May 7th, with an
exhibition of his works. (click on images to enlarge)