In October 2006, I headed off to the Eagle Rock Music Festival. At the end of the night, Monsters are Waiting took the stage. I came away with mixed feelings. I loved their sound, but Annalee Fery’s double jointed body movements made me feel like I was witnessing finger nails scratching a chalk board. Well, their sound was so enticing I continued to head off to their sets and either Annalee Fery’s body flexibility diminished or I just got more attuned to her style. In the summer of 2008, I caught their last set (I believe it was their last set) at the Getty Museum – it was amazing. At the time, Annalee Fery was pregnant. I figured the band would take a break and come back later. There was just silence. I’d check out their website every so often. I did internet searches on the band name, her name. Just silence.
Fast forward a couple years and a friend mentioned this band called Lonely Trees. He said he knew the guy in the band. So I looked the band up. Wait, Annalee Fery?!? Yes!!! She was back, which meant my love affair was back.
I’ve seen a handful of their sets and recently caught another at Casey’s Irish Pub.
#1 Comment of the night: “I love Casey’s Irish Pub. It reminds me of Chicago.“
#2 Comment of the night: “Our band has recently gotten addicted to Starbursts.”
This second comment came up when Annalee started to look around behind her. She pointed to a bag of Starbursts. She was handed a Starburst. I was thinking, “How is she supposed to sing with a Starburst in her mouth?” Ahh, she took a small bite and then put the remaining down on her synth to finish later.
The Annalee quirk: the quick curtsey followed by a “Thank You.”
My thoughts on a photographer’s other job: I believe that 5% (I’m not going to over-state this) of a music photographer’s job is to help out the band when something goes wrong on stage. I say this, because (at least in Los Angeles) a lot of the times you’re not only the nearest person to the stage, you’re also one of the few individuals within three feet of the stage. I’ve done this “other” job a handful of times (sometimes doing a decent job, other times not so well). One recent example is my helping out during Milo Greene’s residency at The Satellite. A drum stick went flying off. I picked it up. I got a look. A perfect toss and catch was made. Sometimes a band might want help, but I freeze because I’m not sure what all the hand signals mean. There is pointing in a direction and I look in that direction and can’t determine what they want. I figure though that a photographer is one of the better individuals to interpret these signals as they’re around bands all the time and have a general idea when something doesn’t look right on stage.
And so I was called upon to do this little side job at Casey’s. On their last song, Annalee gave me a look and started to point down. I looked down at the sound monitor. Ah, she wanted the sound monitor turned towards her. I did so and was given the thumbs up.
My favorite Lonely Trees’ song: “Fool.”
Side note on my recent history with Lonely Trees: A month ago they had a set at The Satellite and I wanted to go; however, I was covering Project Ethos Fashion Show for Intraffik. The conflicts that pop up in life, but all ends well, because I got to catch them at Casey’s.
Eagle Rock Music Festival
Saturday arrived and that meant one of my favorite festivals of the year was upon me: The Eagle Rock Music Festival. My intent was to get to the Eagle Rock Music Festival by 4 p.m. to catch Seasons, but around 2 p.m. I decided I needed a nap. As it turned out, the nap didn’t prevent me from catching Seasons. I made my way out of my apartment at around 4:30 p.m. and drove to the Eagle Rock Mall to catch the bus to the Festival. I was told that the buses weren’t going to start transporting people over to the Festival until 5 p.m. Hmm, having already missed Seasons (assumption at the time), I was intent on catching the next band on my list which was Moses Campbell. I was a bit irritated by this bus thing (why start at 5 p.m. when the festival kicked off at 4 p.m.) as I walked it – luckily the walk to the Festival isn’t that far.
I arrived at around 5 p.m. and would you know it, but things were a bit behind and so I was actually able to catch Seasons. My first couple hours at the Festival were a fun adventure. I got to catch the full set of Seasons. I then headed off to catch Moses Campbell. And then it was Downtown/Union and one of my favorite bands Manhattan Murder Mystery. Moses Campbell is a band that was mentioned to me by a guy while we waited for the metro Red Line. I’m happy I was eventually able to catch them. It was a fun set with the violinist busting a string within minutes of their start. They also sent out a plea that Echo Curio remain open. I do hope Echo Curio starts booking bands again. And as a friend had mentioned to me, I was able to see that Manhattan Murder Mystery had doubled in size. The last time I saw them they were a four piece band. I now saw them as an eight piece band. Maybe the next time I see them they’ll be at ten. It doesn’t matter. They rocked it.
From there, at least for me, I felt there was a little loll in my band options. I eventually headed off to the Razorcake Stage to catch Le Bestia and then hooked up with a friend and we headed off all the way to the other part of the festival to catch LA Vampires at the KOXY Stage. The only reason we headed down there was because I found the band name intriguing. The band played in total darkness on stage and the lead singer wore vampire glasses. Maybe that (the glasses) sounds cheesy, but I have to say I enjoyed the set – though I only caught about three-fourths of it as I was off back to the other side of the festival to catch a couple last songs of Wait. Think. Fast. – a band I missed out on seeing at Silverlake Jubilee. Now back to LA Vampires quickly. There is actually a connection here with the FYF Fest. The lead singer from LA Vampires used to be in a band with Best Coast. At the moment, Best Coast is having better success, but I’d keep an eye/ear out for LA Vampires.
The band of the event for me was The Submarines. I cannot say enough about how much I loved this band. It was like being enchanted. And of the bands I saw, I’d have to say they won over they crowd more than any other. Anyways, an interesting exchange happened between me and another camera guy. We were squeezed close to each other taking photos from slightly different angles. The other guy obviously wanted some photos from the angle I was at so he asked me, “Do you want to switch?” Of course, I eagerly agreed because I wanted some photos from where he was standing – even though we were within a few feet of each other.
From there I caught a bit of Walking Sleep until heading off to catch Toys that Kill. No diss here of Walking Sleep since in a previous blog I did write something up on them – I just needed to check out Toys that Kill. What better way to end a night out than some punk rock.
So this being one of my annual festivals, what did I notice? At one point as I was walking from one end to the other, I noticed this sea of people. It is unbelievable how large this event has grown over the years – though I have to admit some skepticism regarding how many people were there to see the bands versus just having a good time roaming the streets of Eagle Rock.
And to end the night a trio of us had some fun. My two friends offered to drive me to my car. We ended up driving all around Eagle Rock, the hills and valleys. It was a nice time to just talk after a long day of music.
Look for Notes from Vivace’s “Eagle Rock Music Festival in Photos” tomorrow (Friday)
For Part I click here
by Notes from Vivace
Eagle Rock Music Festival. I came across the Eagle Rock Music Festival three years ago. Since that time, I’ve placed it on my calendar as one of those yearly Los Angeles events I like to attend – such as the LA Times Book Festival and the International Tamale Festival (November 13-15, 2009, by the way). This year, I had a heightened excitement for the festival, because last year I skipped it. If I recall correctly, I thought it was going to rain and so I discounted it as a possible evening outing. When the weather turned out to be perfect a sense of disappointment swept over me, because I’d already made other plans with some friends – I know, somewhat pathetic since it is just a music festival.
When the band list came out on myspace I immediately took a look. I quickly realized that I was going to have a different experience this year versus my first year at the festival. This year was going to be fabulous, because I knew so many of the bands playing. The first time I’d gone, I hadn’t heard of any of the bands and it was a night of exploration. Exploration versus familiarity.
As the night of the festival came closer, I checked in with one of my friends to see if she planned on going. She was a go and gave me the name of the first band to see: Leslie and the Badgers. They were on at 6 p.m.
I spent Saturday afternoon hanging with some friends at Barnsdall Park. When 5 p.m. rolled around I said my good-byes and told a handful of them where I’d be if they wanted to hang out later in the day. All declined except for two friends who seemed rather excited about heading out. I told them where to find me and off I headed to Eagle Rock. (I never ran into them at the festival so I just assumed that they had decided not to come, but a week later one of them came up and told me how awesome the night was.) I parked at the Eagle Rock Shopping Mall where there was a free shuttle to the festival. Being a bit naïve about this since I’d always just parked closer to the event in previous years, I stood near the bus stop looking for a shuttle. I didn’t see anyone else hanging around for a shuttle so I just took off on foot.
I arrived at the Emerging Stage a little after 6 p.m., but the bands were a tad behind schedule so I got to see Leslie and the Badgers’ full set. I ran into my friend as well as a couple other friends during the set. After Leslie and the Badgers ended their set, we roamed around for awhile. During our roaming, we ran into another couple friends. This was suddenly becoming an awesome night of not only listening to bands, but also getting to hang with friends. A smaller group of us decided that we needed to get something to eat so the group split up with some of us crossing the street to Oinkster. Oinkster was crowded and I was concerned that we’d miss seeing some bands that we wanted to see, but the service was fast and the Oinkster staff was great.
We next headed over to the Razorcake Stage, but got sidetracked briefly at the Pep Boys stage where French Semester was playing. They sounded great, but we didn’t stick around too long as we wanted to continue up to the Razorcake Stage. (I have to say that I want to catch the French Semester sometime, because they really did sound good.) We then got sidetracked a second time at the Welcome Inn where Bonne Musique Zydeco played on the second floor walkway of the inn. There was a nice dance crowd in the parking lot. This is also where I found myself temporarily separated from my friends. I sent off a text message. I figured that perhaps they had continued on over to the Razorcake Stage, but when I got there none of them were there. I checked my phone and still hadn’t gotten a response back. So I circled back down and found them at the Welcome Inn. They were dancing away. Stupid me for not doing a full exploration of the Welcome Inn parking lot before heading off to the Razorcake Stage. (more…)
Let’s talk sports briefly. If you enjoy sports, you’ve experienced your favorite team suffering through more than its share of blow out losses. This is what you go through as a fan, but it particularly hurts when that type of loss ends a post-season run. For example, the Boston Celtics blowing out the LA Lakers last season. That one hurt. And so it happened again on a still too recent Thursday night when one of my favorite teams, the Duke Blue Devils, fell victim to a blow-out loss in March Madness. The Villanova Wildcats just took them apart. It was a game that if played during the regular season, I would have turned off the television (perfect example being the Duke v. Clemson game). But since it was March Madness, I felt compelled to watch the full game. For some tortured reason, I felt that by watching the game I was showing my support for their over-all successful season.
What does this have to do with the local music scene? Well . . . after the game ended, I headed off to The Roxy to catch Great Northern. (Yes, the two events’ only connection is in the fact that one followed the other.) I felt a tad miserable driving the streets of Los Angeles that night. Driving down Sunset, I kept thinking, “How is it possible that Duke couldn’t find an open shot all game long? How could Villanova contest every single shot the whole night?”
When I arrived at the Roxy all those thoughts faded. I last saw Great Northern play back at the 2006 Eagle Rock Music Festival. I rank that year as a highlight year for the Eagle Rock Music Festival. I saw both Great Northern and Monsters are Waiting that year. Even though I loved them, I never caught Great Northern again. (Since that time, I have seen Monsters are Waiting a number of times.) So after two plus years, I had some pent up desire to see them again.
Side bar. I know I mentioned in one of my “What I’m Listening To” lists that Great Northern was playing Silverlake Lounge in mid-March and this represented a can’t miss night. Well, I missed it. I had worries about getting a ticket as I noticed that the online tickets had sold out. Also, a friend mentioned that she saw Great Northern listed on The Roxy Calendar. Even though The Roxy is further away from where I live than the Silverlake Lounge, it is also a larger venue which means having a better view. (Nothing against Silverlake Lounge as I’ve been there plenty of times, but sometimes you’re stuck in the back and you can’t see a thing.)
I got to The Roxy at 10-ish and learned that two other bands had already gone on stage. I need to remember that The Roxy has earlier start times than other music venues on the Strip. At the Roxy, the first band goes on before 9 p.m. I already knew this beforehand based on prior visits, but I always seem to forget this fact.
Boring desk cleaning items. I got there slightly before some friends that I convinced to come out for the night. I’m writing the following to bore you with random text messages sent to me between 10:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.
Friend S: Ok cool. Looking for parking.
Friend S: We re here!
Friend C: I’m near the food counter
Anyways, those messages sent me roaming around the crowded floor of The Roxy, gathering my various friends in one location. I ran into Friend S and J first, said hello and then stated that I needed to locate Friend C.
Great Northern. When the clock hit 11 p.m. a beat started up from behind the curtains. The curtains rose and there stood Great Northern on stage. Two years since I last saw this band and I knew as soon as the curtains rose that I still loved them.
It is hard to explain any transformations that a band goes through when a two year gap between seeing them occurs so I’ll quote one of my friends: They got rid of their bassist – a real cutie. (My input: They found a new keyboardist who no doubt turns heads.) The band now focuses on experimental rock versus a previous pop sound. Their set included only one oldie.
My take: This band exudes a major cool factor. I swear, just a stroll across the stage is done in such a matter that speaks coolness.
A Great Northern story told from the stage. The lead singer complained about getting poison ivy on her wrist from SXSW.
Back to sports. I left soon after Great Northern ended their set. (A couple friends actually left before the Great Northern’s final two songs due to car meter issues. They swore later that they loved Great Northern, but had to compare their love of the music to the cost of a parking ticket.) I got into my car and my thoughts immediately turned back to the Duke basketball game. “How could they not find a single open shot all night long?”
Lemon Sun. I did get the opportunity to catch the band prior to Great Northern. They reminded me of another local band called New Fidelity (New Fidelity happens to be one of my editor’s favorite local bands so this plug is for you, Siria). They brought up a tap dancer for one song. They had a microphone right next to a small wood box they had for her. The tapping came out crystal clear. During the set, a kid who looked no older than twelve danced with joy during one song. If I ever have kid(s), I hope I remember that moment. I hope that I take my kid(s) out past their bedtime on occasion to catch some awesome local bands.