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No, I love YOUR Way – Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy Live at the Hollywood Bowl

August 28th, 2014
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It was just two days past that we were at the Hollywood Bowl. Then, we saw Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails bring as much rock, bombast and technical wizardry to the stage as any act has at this venue in a long time. Would it surprise you to learn that just two days later that we have now heard another band play “Black Hole Sun” at the Hollywood Bowl? Yup. It happened. This time it was not a related heavyweight of the 90s alternative/grunge era though. This time it was Peter Frampton. Read more…

By Raymond Flotat Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews ,

Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden Live at the Hollywood Bowl (Review, Photos and Setlist)

August 26th, 2014
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Some years back, Nine Inch Nails pretty on a pretty massive finale to what was a truly epic career. Dubbed the “Wave Goodbye” tour, it was to herald frontman Trent Reznor taking a large step back from live performance and the Nine Inch Nails entity itself. Or, sort of. At first it was started with the notion that it would be the end for Nine Inch Nails, but around the time the tour wrapped up Reznor made statements indicating that the end might only be a hiatus.
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By Raymond Flotat Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews , ,

Jingle, Jangle – Glen Hansard, The Head and the Heart & Iron and Wine Live at the Hollywood Bowl

August 11th, 2014
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A full four years back, the Oscar-winning duo The Swell Season headlined the Hollywood Bowl. To say their performance gave us chills would be an understatement. In a year crowded with incredible performances, that show was probably the single best one we saw that year. The duo of singers/songwriters Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova had uncanny chemistry, playing a show with startling passion and heart. The grou-p somewhat on hiatus (and the musical inspired by the brilliant film they starred in Once now also a box-office and Tony-winning smash) Hansard and Irglova both have shifted their efforts mostly to solo work. Tonight, on the same stage he owned four years back Hansard returned to headline solo in a bill supported by Iron & Wine and The Head and the Heart. Read more…

By Raymond Flotat Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews , ,

Gregg Allman and Sturgill Simpson Live at KCRW’s Country in the City

July 21st, 2014
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In Los Angeles we have almost too many concert venues. Some months it seems as if there are two more opening and two more closing forever. It’s hard to imagine there being any more places that could reasonably fit a show, but deep in the center of the otherwise business- and skyscraper-filled Century City the descending garden terrace adjacent the Annenberg Space for Photography makes for a picturesque setting. Read more…

By Raymond Flotat Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews , ,

Peanut Butter and Jelly – Royksopp and Robyn Live at the Hollywood Bowl

June 30th, 2014
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Every once in a while we get a chance to experience an incredible dance event at the Hollywood Bowl. Some years back, Thievery Corporation practically burned the place down with world-infused downtempo jams. More recently, The Chemical Brothers delivered their unparalleled knack for full-bodied 4-to-the-floor mania. This week, we get the extra special treat of not only electro titans Royksopp, but also dance pop megastar Robyn. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough both Royksopp and Robyn are performing together, playing collaborative songs from their recently released Do It Again EP. It’s a night filled with immensely talented Swedes and Norwegians and there would be no better venue to bring a historic show like this to the fold than the Hollywood Bowl. Read more…

By Raymond Flotat Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews ,

The Heritage of Soul – Janelle Monae, Sean Kuti and Egypt 80, Roman GianArthur Live at the Hollywood Bowl

June 23rd, 2014
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At mxdwn, we consider the Hollywood Bowl our unofficial home away from home. Last year ended with a bang, The xx deftly demonstrating the eye-opening power of precision simplicity. This year’s season of shows (and the first of the annual KCRW sponsored World Music Festival shows here) opened with a headlining set from Janelle Monae. We previously saw Janelle Monae practically steal the show at a star-studded soul event headlined by Stevie Wonder. Not surprisingly, Monae has only grown in popularity since that show, largely on the strength of her recent album The Electric Lady. This is without a doubt, her single biggest headlining show in the USA to date in her career. Could Monae live up to the pressure and deliver on a performance fitting the stature, acclaim and legendary status of the venue?
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By Raymond Flotat Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews , ,

mxdwn Best of SXSW 2014

June 1st, 2014
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For a change of pace in 2014, we decided to take a little time and to ponder on who our favorite acts at SXSW were. Generally, we run this piece no later than two days after the festival. This time, we wanted to truly ponder on how the acts we saw at this year’s festival measured up. For those keeping score, in 2013 we picked Haim as Best New Artist. In 2012 it was Santigold. In 2011 it was Odd Future. The Sleepy Sun took top honors in 2010. And going all the way back to 2009 Akron/Family were the knockdown favorite. Without further delay, here are the Top 5 Best New Artists and Top 5 Best Established Artists of SXSW 2014. Read more…

By Raymond Flotat Posted in Features , ,

Country, Crown and Throne – Cinquanta: A Perfect Circle, Puscifer and Failure Live at the Greek Theatre

May 11th, 2014
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There was a time not that long ago when the world was just becoming familiar with a little band called Tool. Los Angeles residents and show attendees of the time were already clued in to what was happening, but most in the U.S. and the world at large were just getting exposed to the band and its singer with the sharp, haunting voice, Maynard James Keenan, through the band’s claymation videos regularly played on MTV. Twenty years on, Tool is a musical juggernaut. One of the top grossing touring rock bands in all of the world, and one of the most respected and beloved bands heavy music has ever known. Capable of rocking with the hardest of metallic crunch, but still accessible enough that those that struggle with metal’s often guttural, monster truck vocals aren’t dissuaded.

All photos by Marv Watson
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By Raymond Flotat Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews , , ,

#BIEBZ4EVAR – Coachella 2014 Weekend 1 Day 3

April 14th, 2014
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The first weekend of Coachella 2014 is done. What did we learn? As we discussed at length yesterday in our day 2 review, the festival has truly gone mainstream. On the third and final day, even Justin Bieber made a guest appearance. That’s not a typo, or a delusional freak-out following a cocktail of narcotics. Justin. Bieber. Has. Played. Coachella. Yup, the one and only Biebz joined rising star Chance the Rapper on the main stage today in the middle of the afternoon to perform the song “Confident.” We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. While day 3 lacked the knockout succession of soon-to-be-star acts day 2 featured, there were still a few standout performances worthy of the festival’s name and prestige.

All photos by Sharon Alagna
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By Raymond Flotat Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews , ,

The Great Equalizer – Coachella 2014 Weekend 1 Day 2

April 13th, 2014
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Day one of Coachella 2014 was filled with a bevy of music’s best, brightest and most revered. Day two of the grand champion of American music festivals surpassed the first day in every way save the spectacle that was OutKast’s first concert in 13 years. This day’s bill was packed. Packed on the level of where it was almost impossible to see the heavy hitters without literally running around for seven hours straight without stopping for a dinner break. The talent quality was as high as it could be hoped for, but unlike the sweltering heat of day one, day two had a unique problem seldom seen in all of Coachella’s history: extreme wind. As those who drive east from Los Angeles know seeing the windmill fields, much of the high desert around the Coachella Valley has a propensity for powerful windy spurts. This day was pleasantly cooler than yesterday, but the wind not only rocked every standing piece of architecture; it also kicked up enough dust to choke the audience into submission.

All photos by Sharon Alagna
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By Raymond Flotat Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews , ,