It was off to Make Music Pasadena on a recent Saturday afternoon. After having spent my vacation (a future column) using public transportation, I decided to head on out to Pasadena on a metro bus. It wasn’t a mistake, per say, but it took an hour to get to Pasadena from Glendale. If I was a skilled marathon runner, I would have gotten there in less than half the time. If I had driven, I would have gotten there in less than half the time. Sometimes, public transportation just isn’t worth it in Los Angeles County, I say. You may disagree with that, but let’s just leave it at that, a friendly disagreement.
But that is beside the point, because I did arrive at Make Music Pasadena in time to catch Warpaint on the Main Stage. I’ll describe their sound as finding yourself in a sonic heaven that sends you into a wonderful trance. As is often the case unfortunately (I am learning) at these music festivals, Warpaint had some equipment problems. The guitarist was having to fiddle with knobs throughout the set and eventually said, “Oh no, our bass is cutting out.” The band had a core group of fans. One of the sound guys on the stage seemed to be getting his flirt on with one of the guitarists. And after just a couple chords into their last song, I could hear screams from the crowd. I must say that the band members really know how to use their hair.
Comment: “Let’s hear your best call of the wild.”
After Warpaint, I walked across to Kendall Alley (a smaller outdoor venue) to catch Eliza Rickman. I was first introduced to Eliza Rickman sometime last year when she was playing with Aaron Beaumont over at Hotel Café. Her instrument of choice? A toy piano — though she also had a small drum set behind her. She used her right heel to kick the bass drum. Before starting her set, she handed out toy musical instruments to a trio of individuals in the audience. At the start of her fourth song, she said, “People with the toys, this is your time to shine. This song gets me tips at Farmers Markets from kids, because they love it.”
After saying hi to a couple friends that I noticed in Kendall Alley, I went back to the main stage to catch The Antlers. The main stage audience section was packed so I headed to the sidewalks on the opposite end of the street. At this point in the day, the sun was shining directly into the eyes of the band and so the lead singer eventually said, “I’m going to put on some sunglasses, because I can’t see you.”
For Matt and Kim, the next band on the main stage, I moved back into the audience section. I started out perhaps twenty rows from the stage. Matt and Kim came running on stage, throwing a couple t-shirts into the audience, and with that I surged forward ten feet. After their second song, I couldn’t help but notice that; first, they both had huge smiles (they smiled during their whole set); second, they jumped atop of their stools constantly. Their fun and energizing attitude carried over into the audience. Folks were crowd surfing throughout and there were at least three audience surges toward the stage. By the end of their set, I was four rows out and couldn’t help but wonder how I got there. As for those outside the audience section, they had also found their way into the street, but the security guards came over and asked that everyone move back to the sidewalk. The security guards behind the barricades also were dealing with crowd surfers who were deposited in the photography-only section.
Comment: Matt, “We made a video of this song in Time Square where we got naked. During Coachella, a guy jumped onto the stage and got naked, showing his penis to everyone. He’s now a registered sex offender in the state of California.” Someone from the audience, “It was worth it.”