CONCERT REVIEW: Aaron Carter @ LA's The Mint

Aaron Carter photo by Jessica Klausing

Aaron Carter photo by Jessica Klausing

Aaron Carter was the “flyest kid on the block” in the early 2000s with his teen party anthem, “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It).” He wooed teenage girls worldwide with “I Want Candy” and rapped about winning a basketball game against Shaquille O’ Neal in “That’s How I Beat Shaq.” Flash forward to 2019, Carter is back with new music and a more mature image. He proved at Los Angeles’ The Mint that Aaron’s Party never stopped!

Check out the concert REVIEW.

Aaron Carter is offering Pizza Party Soundchecks and after show Meet n’ Greets for his 2019 tour!

Aaron Carter at soundcheck. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Aaron Carter at soundcheck. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

I’m a sucker for artist VIP packages so I decided to try them both out. The pizza party sound check was literally announced a few days before Aaron’s Los Angeles show. I had already bought my ticket and the meet n’ greet pass, but I thought, ‘hey, it’s my childhood idol plus pizza. What could possibly go wrong?’

My night started with a text instructing me to be at the venue at 6:30PM sharp. Upon arrival at 6PM, I received another text informing me that soundcheck had been bumped to 7:15PM instead. No biggie. I killed time at a neighboring café until it was time for check in. A few of us had gathered in front of The Mint’s main doors eagerly awaiting check in and…no one was there.

Confused, I decided to text back the number for advice and…no reply. To make matters worse, it started to rain. Go figure. Thankfully, The Mint had a canopy big enough for all of us to fit under. I was a bit frustrated and cold but determined to not let this little mishap rain on my parade, so to speak. At about 7:35PM, Aaron’s entourage arrived to finally let us into the venue.

Inside The Mint venue. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Inside The Mint venue. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

We were told that Aaron was running late and would be here in 10 minutes. I did find it a bit odd that no one checked us in or gave us a wristband. That’s usually the protocol at meet n’ greet type functions. Aaron’s entourage was busy setting up the merch table but assured us that we were fine without a wristband. The venue staff did at least come by to stamp our hands.

The last time I saw our soundcheck pizza.  sigh  I didn’t even get to gaze upon it’s cheesy magnificence. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

The last time I saw our soundcheck pizza. sigh I didn’t even get to gaze upon it’s cheesy magnificence. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

The venue manager even handed me the pizza for some reason. He took off before I could ask any questions. I looked around for guidance but everyone was just as puzzled. We decided to put the pizza at the bar. Big mistake. That was the last time I saw that pizza. We didn’t even get a slice. As soon as soundcheck started, the venue took the pizza away. First rule of pizza party soundcheck –never turn your back on pizza!

Aaron Carter sets up for soundcheck. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Aaron Carter sets up for soundcheck. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Aaron Carter had arrived around 7:45PM. He was proudly sporting his black LøVë sweatshirt with a blinged out diamond studded LøVë necklace around his neck. Everyone had quickly gathered at the stage for the soundcheck performance. Aaron smiled kindly and waved to all of us.

“Why aren’t you two wearing your LøVë sweatshirts?” He asked me and another fan.

Aaron Carter’s merch booth. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Aaron Carter’s merch booth. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

We looked around and noticed we were the only fans not wearing the shirts. The peer pressure was on so we decided to check out the merch booth. Unfortunately, the booth was only taking cash and we brought credit cards instead. The black LøVë sweatshirts are cute and looked quite comfy. I made a mental note to order mine after the show.

The sweatshirts are $45 dollars. You can order one HERE.

Aaron performed brief 30 second snippets of “Fool’s Gold,” “Bad 2 Good,” and “Dearly Departed.” I enjoyed watching Aaron but the screeching speakers made the audio unbearable at times. Soundcheck had to be rushed in order for the venue to open their doors on time at 8PM.  

Despite the hustle and bustle, Aaron still managed to make some time for his fans. He didn’t have too much time to chat but he at least made sure we all got a selfie with him before he had to leave.

Me and AC after soundcheck. I didn’t have time to put the camera on flash mode.

Me and AC after soundcheck. I didn’t have time to put the camera on flash mode.

I don’t want to knock the pizza party soundcheck experience for other fans. I do believe the staff could have been more organized, but I also take into consideration that the LA show was only the second stop of the tour. The soundcheck party is a brand new perk which has some kinks that I hope will be worked out for future shows.

Keep in mind:

-The experience is very quick. Ours lasted less than 15 minutes. Be camera ready.
-Aaron’s time is greatly limited at soundcheck. He does try to spend as much time as he can with fans but just be prepared.
-Eat that pizza as soon as you get it!

I will say the after show meet n’ greet was a great experience! The actual meet n’ greets are a much more relaxed experience than soundcheck. You line up at the merch booth after the show. A venue staff member will escort you backstage for your photo with Aaron. Aaron is such a sweetheart who really cares about his fans. I managed to chat with him a bit after my picture. He genuinely does appreciate all of the support. Thanks for a great show, Aaron!

Backstage with Aaron Carter.

Backstage with Aaron Carter.

CONCERT REVIEW: Leon Bridges @ LA's Greek Theatre

By Jessica Klausing

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The Los Angeles stars shined bright for Leon Bridges on his Good Thing tour stop at the Greek Theatre. Bridges brings to life a carefree nostalgic vibe with his 60’s inspired R&B grooves, soothing soulful voice, elegant ‘classic man’ apparel, and romanticized storytelling. The sold out crowd were in for quite a treat.

Check out the CONCERT REVIEW

Leon Bridges offers exclusive Meet n’ Greet packages for his tour stops. They are truly one of a kind. I have had the opportunity to participate in several VIP experiences for different artists and I must say Leon’s is by far my favorite! Here is my review of the VIP experience.

VIP check in. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

VIP check in. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

My instructions were to arrive for check in at 4:00P on the dot. The VIP tent and check in stations were set up in the employee parking lot behind the Greek Theatre. I had an easy check in even though a staff member almost forgot to give me my meet n’ greet pass. After that I made sure to double check to ensure all items were in my swag bag.

The VIP bag came with a signed Good Thing tour poster, 4 postcards of Leon, and a Good Thing album vinyl record cover. Super cool! They had a special merch booth set up for VIP members. I took a few minutes to browse the various tour t-shirts and posters until the lounge opened.

The VIP tent lounge. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

The VIP tent lounge. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

About thirty minutes or so after check in, we were allowed to enter our VIP lounge to chill until it was time for soundcheck and meet n’ greet. At first glance the tent does not look that great but it’s much more cooler inside.

Inside the VIP lounge. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Inside the VIP lounge. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Once inside this place was transformed into a swanky little nightclub. There were two bars on opposite ends, a retro vinyl record listening station, a guitar playing station, and cozy inflatable couches to lounge on. Definitely quite the little set up!

VIP listening booth. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

VIP listening booth. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

The listening booth was my favorite lounge perk! I loved how they turned the equipment cases into a book shelf decked out in retro posters, music books, and a generous record collection to sample. Leon’s crew can be my personal interior designers any day! The record collection had everything from Billie Holiday to The Temptations. It was pretty cool getting to listen to many of Leon’s musical inspirations behind his own retro-soul brand.

VIP record collections. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

VIP record collections. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

The next cool lounge perk was the guitar station. We were told this was actually one of Leon’s guitars. Kudos to Leon for allowing a bunch of strangers to pick up and play his guitar. Next to the guitar was a music stand with the sheet music for Leon’s song, “River” if you wanted to learn how to play it.

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Around 5PM, we were called to line up at the front gate for Leon’s soundcheck. We were invited in to watch the last two songs of the soundtrack. The crew strictly informed us that we were not allowed to take pictures or videos of the soundtrack. Unfortunately, I have no photos to share but just getting to see and hear Leon perform his songs up close was something so magical that not even a recording could capture.

My rockstar pose on the Greek Theatre stage.

My rockstar pose on the Greek Theatre stage.

After soundtrack we were lead to line up backstage. I figured that we were going to get to meet Leon and get our photos taken with him onstage. Super cool! However, this was not the case. We were given the opportunity to pose individually onstage. Still cool! The Greek Theatre is one of my favorite outdoor amphitheaters. From the audience’s point of view, it’s quite a breathtaking sight to see the endless sea of green trees behind the stage. Getting to see from the artist’s point of view was a unique experience. I prefer to see the artist and the trees but I’m sure it’s more breathtaking at night.

Meeting Leon Bridges.

Meeting Leon Bridges.

After the stage photos, we were told that Leon had his crew set up the meet n’ greets in his dressing room backstage! I thought it was really nice of Leon to invite his fans backstage with him. We got a little mini tour of the backstage area on the way to the dressing rooms. I didn’t get any backstage photos because I was not sure if it was allowed. I will say the backstage is not as glamorous as you think. It was quite barren with white cement walls. It reminded me more of a high school gym locker room to be honest.

Leon awaited us against the Good Thing tour backdrop in the dressing room. As we waited in line, several of us fans chatted excitedly about the first time we heard Leon’s music. The most beautiful thing about these VIP meet n’ greet experiences is being able to share the love of music with other like-minded fans.

Leon is such a gentleman! He was very sweet and gave lots of hugs. I liked how this experience did not feel rushed. It was truly genuine. We knew we were on a limited time frame but not once did an usher try to ‘hurry us’ through our photo with Leon. Thank you CID Entertainment! I wish more VIP experience companies would follow your lead.

I’m not sure if all of Leon’s VIP experiences are set up exactly that this LA one in particular, but if you get the chance, I would highly recommend it.

Coby Brown @ Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

Coby Brown performs at Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Coby Brown performs at Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Coby Brown treated fans to a beautiful, laid-back set in the intimate Second Stage Room at Hollywood’s Hotel Café on Thursday.

Brown is no stranger to the Hollywood music scene. He’s a composer and songwriter who’s had his work featured in numerous films and TV shows; most recently he completed the score for the biopic, “The Man Who Knew Infinity.” 

Brown is an acoustic folk artist, but more importantly, he’s a keen observer able to capture the singer-songwriter genre in the personal stories the lyrics tell, and the sensitive, emotional accompaniment of his band.

READ MORE.

Coby Brown Social Media:
Spotify
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Website

Monks Of Doom @ LA's Cafe NELA

Monks Of Doom photo by Jessica Klausing

Monks Of Doom photo by Jessica Klausing

Monks Of Doom are back on tour. Yes, you read this correctly.

The surrealist progressive rockers are back in support of their newest album, The Bronte Pin. This album is the first of new material released in 25 years. The long wait, though highly frustrating, was indeed worth it. Victor Krummenacher (vocals, bass, and guitar), David Immerglück (vocals, guitar, bass, and mandolin), Greg Lisher (guitar), and Chris Pederson (drums, percussion) pulled listeners into a post-rock world of cryptic hysteria and psychedelic instrumentals at LA’s Café NELA.

Check out our REVIEW.

Victor Krummenacher took some time to chat with us about the new MOD album. Check out our INTERVIEW.

Szlachetka @ Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

Szlachetka performs "Heart Of My Hometown" at Hollywood's Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Szlachetka performs "Heart Of My Hometown" at Hollywood's Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Szlachetka (pronounced SLA-HET-KA) is out on tour in support of his new album release, Heart Of My Hometown. Rolling Stone Magazine praised the album citing Szlachetka as a ‘New Country Artist to Know.’ That was evident as many Angelinos packed into the Second Stage venue at Hollywood’s Hotel Café on Wednesday night. The music was Americana roots rock superb, the storytelling honed the heartland spirit, and with the added chemistry of Szlachetka’s full band— it was transcendence into musical nirvana.

Check out our CONCERT REVIEW.

Szlachetka social media:

Official Website
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

Snow Patrol @ LA's Fonda Theatre

Gary Lightbody and Minnie Driver at the Fonda Theatre. Photo by U2Soul/Flickr.

Gary Lightbody and Minnie Driver at the Fonda Theatre. Photo by U2Soul/Flickr.

Snow Patrol performed a legendary set at Los Angeles' Fonda Theatre over the weekend.

Check out Courtney Lavender's REVIEW.

The mark of a great singer is measured less by vocal quality, and more by believability. Do you believe what you are singing? Do others believe you when you sing it? Though he may have tripped up technically at points, I never once doubted what Gary Lightbody was communicating, nor did anyone in the rapt audience. "Heal Me" was dedicated to someone who saved his life. I've been standing in the fire for way too long, he sang, and I could feel the flames.

Umphrey's McGee @ LA's Wiltern

Photo by Paul Citone.

Photo by Paul Citone.

Jam band Umphrey's McGee made a legendary comeback to Los Angeles this past weekend!

Amidst the hypnotic psychedelic light show and LED visuals, Umphrey’s McGee seamlessly weaves progressive rock, jazz, disco, funk, metal, and electronic genres into a cohesive dance mix. Each band member has a keen musical ear and an uncanny talent to communicate with each other on stage.

Check out the concert REVIEW.

Special thanks to Paul Citone for allowing me to use his amazing concert photographs!

Backstreet's Back -- In Vegas!

Written by Jessica Klausing

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Oh my God, they’re back again!

Just as the “Backstreet Boys:  Larger Than Life” show came to a close in July, the boys announced more dates extending their Las Vegas residency to November, January, and February.  Fans bought these tickets so fast that it set the record as the fastest selling residency show in history.  Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell treat fans to a nostalgic two hour show packed with their chart topping hits, classic backstreet dances, and over-the-top theatrics.

Check out my concert review HERE.

They sort you into groups at check in

They sort you into groups at check in

I was your typical Backstreet fangirl back in the 90s. I proudly owned all the BSB merchandise: CDs, books, comics, clothing, VHS specials, magazines, the Burger King toys, and the official Backstreet Boys: Around the World board game. You name it, I had it! My bedroom walls were completely covered with posters of my future husband at the time—Brian Littrell. I still remember crying tears of joy the day my mom surprised me with tickets to their sold out ‘Into the Millennium’ tour! Yes, I was THAT fangirl. Fast forward 17 years later—Backstreet’s in Vegas with meet n’ greet options. Say what!?! I knew I had to fulfill my 12 year old self’s biggest fantasy and meet my favorite boy band.

Love that snazzy BSB lamp on the food table.

Love that snazzy BSB lamp on the food table.

My adventure began at 3:30PM on Saturday, November 11, 2017. We were to check in at 5PM in front of The AXIS but I was convinced arriving obnoxiously early was a great idea. It was not such a great idea. I stood alone for a while. I tend to suffer from Pre-Concert Anxiety, so I get myself into this predicament a lot. One guy felt so sorry for me that he bought me a bottle of water. Eventually, about an hour later, others started lining up. I chatted with many fellow Backstreet diehard fans to get the inside scoop on the VIP instructions and the venue logistics, because Pre-Concert Anxiety…

Goofing around with the Brian BSBmoji

Goofing around with the Brian BSBmoji

Check in time started promptly at 4:55PM. We were given a VIP laminate and escorted upstairs into the VIP Lounge. The lounge was decked out in Christmas tree lights with 90’s music blaring out of the speakers. You could sit at a mini table or on a large beanbag chair. I think they were going for a swanky throwback nightclub vibe. Overall the lounge was cozy and very roomy. Even with 160 people, it never felt crowded. The snack table was well stocked with assorted candies, chips, and granola bars. Nothing appealed to me there. I did help myself to a free BSB embroidered napkin and koozie though.

 VIP members receive two free drink tickets to redeem at the bar. You get a choice of Pepsi, water, beer, or champagne. The bartender recommends the champagne. I happily concur! I didn’t take too many photos in the lounge due to the poor lighting. They do have a real nifty inflatable photo booth in the back. It comes with various BSBmojis on a stick. They held a raffle at the end of the meet n’ greet for a free ticket into the Backstreet Boys after party at the Chateau nightclub.

Feel the Backstreet love

Feel the Backstreet love

The Backstreet Boys arrived around 7PM for meet n’ greets. The staff had us split into three groups: A, B, and C. Groups were called one by one for the photos. This was a great idea rather than one huge line. Those of us with heels on were eternally grateful! Once I made my way to the front, I was told to talk to the first three boys, pose for the picture, and then talk to the last two boys. We were not allowed to bring our cellphones. They have a table for your personal items. I had a pleasant experience and did not feel rushed.

The boys are such amazing sweethearts! They truly do care about their fans and it really shows. I have never been to a more laidback meet n’ greet than Backstreet’s! They will accommodate your photo requests. I saw several people bring in various props for the boys. You can request certain poses and even choose to stand next to your favorite boy. I asked for a giant group hug and was not disappointed!

The AXIS theater at Planet Hollywood in Vegas.

The AXIS theater at Planet Hollywood in Vegas.

You can start lining up for the concert once your photo is finished. Those with seats/tables were told to follow security downstairs. The PIT folks were separated into two lines: Front of the Line Pass and regular PIT. I did not have a Front of the Line Pass. You really don’t need one. VIP members get first access into the theater. Keep that in mind. I went in behind all the FOTL people and still scored an amazing Main Stage front row spot.

Certain shows offer a Backstreet Boys after party at the Chateau nightclub. I did not go. My feet were killing me from standing in heels for over 9 hours (Yes, I’m aware of how incredibly lame that is). The nightclub has a strict dress code, and I never wanted to see my heels again after the concert. I have heard pleasant things about the after party. You’ll get a chance to take a selfie with 2-3 of the Backstreet Boys.  It’s much less structured than the meet n’ greet. You’ll need to pay for the Chateau VIP ticket if you want to mingle with the boys though.

Overall the “Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life” experience is a must for any Backstreet fan! The residency ends in February. Get your tickets:

TICKETS

 VIP TIPS:

-Arrive early (4:30P is an ideal time).

-Don’t feel bad if you are going alone. Trust me. Backstreet fans are super nice and chill. You’ll make lots of new friends in no time.

-VIP is a lot of ‘hurry up and wait.’ Be prepared to stand for several hours, especially if you have PIT tickets! You may want to consider dressing comfortably.

-Take a deep breath. The boys are very kind to their fans. You don’t get too much time to mingle with them, so have your questions and/or comments ready. (P.S. AJ and Kevin give the best hugs!).

-Walk, don’t run! I know it’s tempting for the PIT folks but security does not play. They will move you to the back of the line.

-Try not to stand in front of the Catwalk. Honestly, there is not a bad spot in the venue. The band tries to reach out and engage as many fans as possible. You’ll just have a higher chance of more Backstreet interaction from the Main Stage and Second Stage.

-You don’t necessarily have to get the Front of the Line Pass. VIP members get first access into the theater. You’re guaranteed a prime spot in the PIT.

-Make sure to get your drinks and/ or go to the restroom before the theater doors open. These shows always sell out. The PIT gets full quick! You don’t want to lose your spot.

-Don’t push other fans and/or throw personal items on the stage. Security will kick you out.

-Have fun! The experience is what you make of it.

Sound Majesty Presents: Mexico Benefit Concert at West Hollywood’s Whisky A Go Go

Written by Jessica Klausing

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2017 has been a year plagued with many natural disasters around the world. Last month Mexico’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake took hundreds of lives, leaving the country with over $1 billion dollars worth of damages.  Aid and relief funds are still desperately needed.  On Sunday, October 1, Sound Majesty hosted a Mexico benefit concert at West Hollywood’s famed Whisky A Go Go. 

Beck Black served as the emcee, introducing all eight musical acts including a Mariachi band! During the concert, attendees were encouraged to participate in the silent auction upstairs. The auction items included an autographed guitar, signed by all of the benefit artists, Vampire Vineyards wine, and exclusive sunglasses. All ticket and auction proceeds went to the Mexico emergency relief funds.

Matthew Phillips

Matthew Phillips photo by Jessica Klausing

Matthew Phillips photo by Jessica Klausing

San Diego based singer-songwriter Matthew Phillips took the stage at 6:00PM. With an acoustic guitar in hand, Phillips launched into “Together Forever,” a saccharine love ballad. Right off, I was impressed with Phillips ability to connect well with his audience.

Throughout his set, he made sure to make eye contact and reach out to every person in the room. His songs empathize with those who have been “friend zoned” and looking for hope.  His charisma and bell pure vocals stood out on “Goodbye” and “Always Be There.”  “No More Pain” was a beautiful tune dedicated to Mexico. The biggest highlight was his Goo Goo Dolls cover of “Iris,” which prompted an audience sing-a-long.

Jade PraiZe

Jade PraiZe photo by Jessica Klausing

Jade PraiZe photo by Jessica Klausing

Jade PraiZe upped the swag dosage for the night. The UK singer-songwriter strutted on stage with a large red hair bow and cool shades. Her sweet yet snarky demeanor gives a playful edge to her soulful lyrics. Vocally, she reminded me a bit of Amy Winehouse and Fiona Apple. 

PraiZe cries out “Don’t be fooled by the Milky Way/I got through in but I couldn’t stay,” in “Milk Way.” My favorite was “Hands Out” with the ever inspiring, “Put your hands out/Dance like there’s no tomorrow.” I do hope Ms. PraiZe sticks around. I’m curious to hear more from her!

Love Like Suicide

Molly Kills photo by Jessica Klausing

Molly Kills photo by Jessica Klausing

Love Like Suicide stole the show. Period. Singer Molly Kills portrays a gothic femme fatale as she seductively slinks around the stage with long black hair covering her face, crooning out dark secrets. Expect the dark, the sexy, the mystery, and the nostalgia. Their music is a throwback nod to the 90’s grunge and punk genres. If you love Garbage and The Cranberries, then you’ll love this band.

Their newest single, “Side Effects” off the EP, Verdugo exhibits impressive alternative guitar hooks and hypnotic synths. Guitarist Mor Kosmik and Bassist Troy Richardson riffed through other punkwave hits such as “Born Again” and “On A High.” The benefit show was particularly important to Kosmik, who is originally from Mexico City. She proudly showed off ‘Made in Mexico’ written on her left leg for the night.

The Knitts

The Knitts photo by Jessica Klausing

The Knitts photo by Jessica Klausing

The Knitts took us back to the post-punk and Brit-Pop scene. Their songs were reminiscent of early Rolling Stones and The Beatles. The songs boasted plenty of upbeat, catchy classic rock melodies. Lead vocalist/guitarist Charlie Volkens impressed with his boyish charms and husky low growls. The Knitts were determined to get everyone up during their set and they succeeded!

“Vamonos Mexico” turned the venue into one big dance party. “This is the only song we have about Mexico,” joked Charlie Volkens. The energy continued with the more country twangin’ “Hold Steady Pretty Lady.” “Get Up Get Out” had everyone chanting out the song’s title. This song could easily be the modern-day Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” party anthem.

Peter DiStefano

Peter DiStefano photo by Jessica Klausing

Peter DiStefano photo by Jessica Klausing

Peter DiStefano slowed it down with more beautiful acoustic guitar. Beck Black introduced his set as “pop rock unplugged.” DiStefano is a prolific musician in the business. He’s composed countless music for television, film, and video games. He is best known for his early alternative rock band, Porno for Pyros (The Jane’s Addiction offshoot).

DiStefano shared his softer rock tunes with us. His solo work is more delicate than his other musical projects. It’s a definite contrast to his electronica pumped side band, Venice Underground. He did surprise us with a few Porno for Pyros covers. His acoustic version of “Tahitian Moon” was performed with such graceful precision, that I actually prefer his version to the original.

Falling Doves

Falling Doves photo by Jessica Klausing

Falling Doves photo by Jessica Klausing

Hollywood’s own Falling Doves were up next. Their music is described as “whiskey laced vocals infused with bits of glam and blues.” Lead singer Christopher Leyva donned a leather jacket with slicked-up black spiky hair. He looked like the frontman of a hell raiser 80’s punk band. Don’t be fooled by the apparel. The music is fueled with heavy guitar riffs but it’s a definite nod to classic rock with confessional storytelling.

The Falling Doves rolled into the power rock anthem “Ready to Go!” The sultry guitar licks pop infused “Paris” followed. The set ended with a couple of epic covers. Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova” was the real crowd pleaser! Beck Black joined the band for Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”

Beck Black

Beck Black photo by Jessica Klausing

Beck Black photo by Jessica Klausing

The lovely and fierce Beck Black performed a special set. Ms. Black’s music is bluesy punk with a whole lotta soul! Minus drummer Adam Alt, Beck proves that she could still hold her own. Her commanding stage presence will pull you in if her seductive vocals haven’t already.

“Life's a Circus” brought out plenty of carefree attitude. Beck would playfully leap from guitar monitor to guitar monitor effortlessly. She would even drop and roll on the floor without missing a beat! Beck commands attention in “Vampires Come out at Night” with the sultry lyric, “Vampires come in the dark/when you light up a spark/they bite, they suck, your energetic blood.”

Corey Feldman and The Angels

Corey Feldman and The Angels photo by Jessica Klausing

Corey Feldman and The Angels photo by Jessica Klausing

Midnight struck when Corey Feldman and The Angels finally took stage. Due to a technical issue, Corey’s set had to be cut short for curfew. Corey didn’t seem too fazed. He spent several minutes chatting amicably with his fans from onstage. The set officially started about ten minutes later. Corey channeled his inner Michael Jackson with a bold red, black, and silver colored jacket and dark shades. His angels wore white lingerie with brightly lit up wings and neon glowing shoes. The performance itself was simply mesmerizing to watch. Maybe it was all those Christmas tree-esque lights?

The band opened with the iconic “Take a Stand,” in which Corey advises us, “We need peace (right now)/We need love (somehow)/The world is not full of clouds/Let the sun shine down.” The next song, “Walk” featured Corey on guitar. “It’s So Simple” was another inspiring pop song about making the world a better place. For the closer, Beck Black and the Mariachi band joined Corey for a Beatles cover of “Come Together,” dedicated to Mexico.  If you have never seen a former child star, scantily clad women, and a Mariachi band perform a Beatles song, then you have not experienced Los Angeles!

Corey Feldman and The Angels perform "Come Together" photo by Jessica Klausing

Corey Feldman and The Angels perform "Come Together" photo by Jessica Klausing

I gotta admire Corey for his optimism.  I’ll admit that his band concept may be a bit too whimsical. If tongue-in-cheek performances offend you then stay away from a Corey Feldman and The Angels show! However, beyond the “over-the-top” theatrics, his music does spread a positive message. Our world seems more obsessed with hatred than ever. With all the negativity going around, it’s a bit refreshing to hear songs about love and helping one another. Honestly, I think this world could benefit from more Corey Feldman and The Angels.

Tetrarch @ West Hollywood's Whisky A Go Go

Tetrarch (from left: Ryan Lerner, Diamond Rowe, Josh Fore, and Ruben Limas).

Tetrarch (from left: Ryan Lerner, Diamond Rowe, Josh Fore, and Ruben Limas).

Tetrarch is a Nu Metalcore band on the music radar in Los Angeles. After interviewing Diamond Rowe and Ryan Lerner back in 2011 for the EP, The Will to Fight, I have been dying to see Tetrarch live ever since. Reminiscent of Metallica and Korn, Tetrarch boasts self-reflective lyrics and jackhammering melodies. If you’re a fan of the intense and emotional, then look no further.

Tetrarch recently finished their Summer/Fall tour with DevilDriver, 36 Crazyfists, Cane Hill, and Uncured. I managed to see Tetrarch open the show on Wednesday at West Hollywood’s Whisky A Go Go.

Check out the concert review!

Tetrarch's new album, Freak, is currently number three on the iTunes metal charts! You can stream it on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify.

YARN @ NYC's American Beauty

Yarn photo by Todd Chalfant

Yarn photo by Todd Chalfant

Yarn played NYC's American Beauty last night. Check out our review HERE.

Yarn is an Americana band from Brooklyn, New York. The band formed in Brooklyn back in the mid 2000's and started playing shows in New York City every Monday night at Kenny's Castaways and every Wednesday night at Hill Country BBQ.

Yarn consists of Blake Christiana (Acoustic Guitar and Lead Vocals), Rod Hohl (Electric Guitar and Backing Vocals), Trevor MacArthur (Acoustic Guitar and Backing Vocals), Rick Bugel (Upright Bass), and Bobby Bonhomme (Drums).

Yarn shows are a bit different from the norm. The band feeds off the energy of the crowd and plays whatever they feel like playing. They don't use a setlist. It's crazy but makes for a unique one of a kind experience. Some songs clock in at three minutes and others clock in at 20 minutes. It could be a sing along, classic country, or even disco.

Yarn mixes a lot of different musical styles to create their signature sound. They don't follow any trends or write top 40 hits. They just do their own thing. They sound like they came out in 1972 rather then 2017. The band follows the Grateful Dead with epically long jam sessions. The best way to describe it is to go out to their shows and experience it for yourself.

 

Umphrey's McGee @ Central Park, NYC

Umphrey's McGee is one of the best live jam bands that I have listened to. Last year, My friend played "Cemetery Walk 2" off of one of their Hall of Fame albums for me. I'm convinced that catchy tune has changed my life. It's just pure feel good music. 

To quote my friend: "Whether you're a fan of Prog Rock, Heavy Metal, Psychedelic, Funk, Jazz or Electronic music-- Umphrey's McGee has you covered. The band easily weaves its way through lots of different musical styles sometimes all within the same song to create a sound all their own."

Check out his brief REVIEW.

Kingdom Hearts Orchestra--World Tour

A Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour!?! Be still my beating heart.

Disney Concerts, Square Enix, and La Fee Sauvage have teamed up to bring this magical world of Disney and Final Fantasy to life! Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra brings together the game's director Tetsuya Nomura and composer Yoko Shimomura. Exclusive scenes and surprise appearances await fans on this spine-tingling adventure.

Check out my REVIEW.

You can purchase your tickets HERE.

Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour Dates:

Singapore – May 6 & 7, 2017 – Esplanade Concert Hall (Singapore) 

Kuala Lumpur – May 13, 2017 - Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (Malaysia) 

Hong Kong- May 21, 2017 - AsiaWorld-Expo Runway 11

Los Angeles – June 10, 11 & 14, 2017 – Dolby Theatre (USA)

New York – June 24, 2017 – United Palace Theatre (USA)

Osaka – July 8, 2017 – ORIX Theatre (Tokyo)

 

U2 on The Joshua Tree tour

The Edge photo by Harlene Dryden.

The Edge photo by Harlene Dryden.

U2 is currently on tour this summer celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree and performing the album in full from start to finish.

Yes, you read correctly!

These Irish rockers are performing their landmark 1987 album at a city near you. Songs like "Red Hill Mining Town" are finally getting played live. This is not a drill!

Check out my REVIEW.

Not a fan of standing around in line all day? Check out the VIP package. VIP members get early access into the venue, free food and beverages (Alcohol is not free), and a raffle for a chance at winning a backstage tour (I was one number off from winning! ONE!) and The Edge's guitar strings (They make stylish bracelets and necklaces). 

Essence at Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

Essence photo by Jessica Klausing

Essence photo by Jessica Klausing

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." -Victor Hugo

This quote has been in my head since I started this concert review. Music is an effective outlet for communication. I find it easier to express myself through a song or score than in person. It's also cheaper than therapy. I tend to fixate on the lyrics. Allusions are always fun but I can appreciate someone who just tells it like it is.

My musician friend invited me to check out Essence at Hotel Cafe last week. I fell in love with this singer-songwriter's bluntness upon first listen.  Her Nashville rich voice takes you on a folk journey through finding yourself after heartbreak. 

Check out my concert review HERE

Blake Morgan & Janita Return to Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

Blake Morgan and Janita. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Blake Morgan and Janita. Photo by Jessica Klausing

I discovered Blake Morgan through his #IRespectMusic Campaign.

This ethical movement has gained nationwide support in favor of the Artist Pay for Radio Play Act. Morgan stands firmly behind that all artists deserve to be paid for their work. He's a recording artist, record producer, and founder and owner of the ECR Music Group. He runs ECR under the moral principle that all of its artists and labels own one-hundred percent of their master recordings.

While on a national tour, Blake Morgan and Janita played a double headliner at Hollywood's famed Hotel Cafe last year. I was in awe of these two artists. Both are powerful vocalists with different musical genres but just click beautifully together.

This year, I was in glee to see the two returning for another gig at Hotel Cafe. I'm convinced that these two just get better each tour! I refer to these artists as the dynamic duo.

Blake Morgan has a bell pure vocal delivery, haunting lyrics, and is a graceful guitar and keyboard virtuoso.

His touring partner, Janita is a Finnish American singer-songwriter who has released her most recent album, Didn't You My Dear, through the ECR Music Group. She has a stunning blueswoman voice with a stellar guitar talent. 

Together they are simply magic.

Check out my concert review HERE.

Mimosa Music Series - Mt. Joy & Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express

Chuck Prophet photo by Jessica Klausing

Chuck Prophet photo by Jessica Klausing

I decided to spend my rainy Sunday afternoon in North Hollywood. Two things I learned:

1. LA drivers will always be the worst.

2. Gary Calamar hosts his free Mimosa Music Series once a month at NoHo's Federal Bar.

The Mimosa Music Series are lots of fun for music lovers of all ages! The event started out of Calamar's living room in Laurel Canyon but had to be relocated due to high attendance. Patrons may purchase a brunch or snack on the free bagels. Each month showcases talented local singer-songwriters. January featured Mt.Joy and Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express.

Mt. Joy is an upcoming folkish acoustic jam band making waves. "Astrovan" has already received an impressive 230,000 streams in just 10 days on Spotify. The duo is currently hard at work on an EP. Their lyrical metaphors and soulful ballads are not to be missed.

Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express are another Bay Area music legend on my radar. This band does not disappoint! Prophet plays old fashioned rock n' roll. The kind that takes you back to memorable melodies, vibrant instrumentals, thoughtful lyrics, and a whole lot of passion for the sake of the song! 

Read my concert review HERE.

Ryan Beaver and Dan Layus at the Troubadour

Ryan Beaver and Dan Layus played hauntingly beautiful sets at West Hollywood's Troubadour. Check out my review HERE.

Dan Layus photo by Jessica Klausing

Dan Layus photo by Jessica Klausing

I'll be the first to admit it-- I'm not much of an Augustana fan! I have seen them on tour a couple of times and the music just did not click for me. My music buddy Eric was the one that encouraged me to give Dan Layus's solo album a listen.

I was a bit hesitant at first but found myself quickly engrossed with Dangerous Things. The title track song blew me away with Layus's delicate vocals accompanied with the pedal steel and fiddle. The more I listened the more I fell in love with Layus. His vocals are tender enough to show off his vulnerability. You feel the heartbreak in "Destroyer," "Only Gets Darker," and "Call Me When You Get There." The minimal production really enhances the intimate experience.

Seeing Dan Layus live was as much of a treat as listening to his album. You can hear the sincerity in his voice, the lyrics paint a vivid picture of love and regret, and his melodies are simply beautiful. It really feels like he is playing just for you.

Another surprise of the night was the opener Ryan Beaver. An upcoming artist with a voice as big as his heart. If you love Americana and Roots then you are destined to love both of these artists!

DTCV & Guided by Voices at the Teragram Ballroom

DTCV and Guided by Voices rocked out the Teragram Ballroom in downtown LA! Check out my concert review HERE.

Guided by Voices perform at the Teragram Ballroom. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Guided by Voices perform at the Teragram Ballroom. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Guided by Voices may require a second listen. You'll notice that most of the songs are short or end abruptly with poor sound quality. Robert Pollard records his music like this on purpose. The band might not seem like much other than some bizarre experimentalists upon first listen.

I encourage everyone to re-listen to them but more closely. Pollard gets to the heart of the message instantly. No industry filler. No over-the-top lyrical metaphors. No bullshit. He just simply spits it out. The sound is heavily influenced by British post-punk and psychedelic rock. Pollard's work is a surrealist art form. He's brash with no interest to fit into the cookie cutter mold of rock perfection. Thankfully we still have a rebel in the music industry!

"Window Of My World" from Half Smiles Of The Decomposed is my favorite Guided by Voices song. Not all of their music is quirky and loud. Some of them have beautiful compositions. This band deserves a listen.

The Outlaw Roadshow-NYC Review (Part 3)

Written by Jessica Klausing

                                                       Original art by  Man On Fire Design

                                                       Original art by Man On Fire Design

Day 3: The Final Installment

Saturday was the last night of the Outlaw Roadshow in the Big Apple. This night promised fans more surprises and great music. You can bet that no one went home disappointed! It would be difficult to pick which night was the best. Each night these bands have shared something special with the fans.

Live music has a way of making you forget about everything going on in your life.  It allows personal reflection without judgment. It’s that feeling of being surrounded by like-minded souls. It’s a spiritual journey through suffering and redemption that makes us who we are as people. This generates the dynamic energy shared between the bands and fans during a performance. This type of energy cannot be felt through a recording; It's what fuels a musician to push their artistic boundaries. It’s that moment of being able to watch something creative happen and transform right before your eyes. It is what makes live music an incredible experience.

These eight bands have honed their skills in their respective genres and brought an electrifying close to this action packed weekend at The Bowery Electric.

Click on the links below to read the other two Outlaw NYC reviews:

DAY ONE

DAY TWO

 

Tony Roberts

Tony Roberts. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Tony Roberts. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

“This ocean has my soul/ Long lost love that won’t let go,” is a lyric in “Siren Song” that's the heart of Tony Roberts’s music. His laid-back vocals paired with his acoustic guitar make his music ideal for a lazy day at the beach with an ice-cold margarita in hand. His musical style stood out among the other Outlaw bands.

This Key West singer/songwriter attributes his sound to his time spent on the surf scene in Costa Rica. While he may have the sound of Jack Johnson and Michael Franti, his songwriting is closer to that of Bob Dylan. Roberts identifies the average man's worries but with a positive outlook. 

Recommended Tracks:

Siren Song: “Siren Song,” Dreams of Gold,” “The Only Thing Missing,” “The Same Old Stupid Love,” and “A Damn Cold December.” 

 

The Rationales

The Rationales venture outside of the indie rock norm. The dreamy orchestration make up the power pop melody while the ripping guitars proudly show off the alt-country roots. The band considers themselves simply rock N’ roll.  David Mirabella’s lush vocal delivery compliments well within a softer ballad like "Ruby Colored Halo" and the more hard rockin' songs like "Radio."

These guys are an absolute joy to watch live. Mirabella pours his soul into heartfelt lyrics and channels passion through his guitar. When asked about the thought process behind their music, David Mirabella responded, “I just start playing guitar and let my subconscious thoughts take over.”

Recommended Tracks:

The Going and The Gone: “Guardrail,” “Far Away,” “On the Vine,” and “Ruby Colored Halo.”

The Distance In Between: “Real Life,” “Jaded,” “Burned Again,” “Try to Tell Me,” “Tongue-Tied,” and “The One You Wanted.”

Dream of Fire: “Drunk all the time,” “Radio” and “Let it Go.”

 

Star Anna

Star Anna performs "Dancing in the Dark." Photo credit by Jessica Klausing.

Star Anna performs "Dancing in the Dark." Photo credit by Jessica Klausing.

Star Anna’s stage presence was a sheer vision of mystery. She donned a large black hat that hid most of her face in the dimly lit Map Room while her voice cried out the lonesome blues that has put her heart through the wringer.

Her Bruce Springsteen cover of “Dancing in the Dark” gave the upbeat song a dreary air of nostalgia. Star Anna’s performance will take you on a journey through how to heal after hitting rock bottom.

Recommended Tracks:

Light in The Window: “Light in the Window,” “Big Bad Wolf,” “3X3,” “Everything You Know,” and “Down to the Bottom.”

 

Kirby Brown

Within the theme of being misunderstood comes Kirby Brown. In the song "Joni," Brown sings of a woman that claims she's an open book when in reality, she's aloof. Brown uses allusion and his hometown inspiration as the tools for his poetic narrative style. 

I found Brown’s performance quite engaging and charming. He does not try to come across as something he is not. Instead, Brown shines with his acoustic guitar and modest vocals. His overall sound is a delicate balance between country and bluegrass.  

Recommended Tracks:

Child Of Calamity: “Young! Young! Young!,” “No…My Generation,” “Coattails,” “Talk,” and “Throw You Away.”

 

Julie Rhodes

Photo credit by ROBERTO TERRONES 

Photo credit by ROBERTO TERRONES 

I discovered Julie Rhodes thanks to my die-hard music friend Eric. We had listened to her album, Bound To Meet The Devil all the way to the venue. A powerhouse voice with the soul of Billie Holiday, the grit of Janis Joplin and the charm of Bonnie Raitt all rolled into one. Her live performance is as mesmerizing as her album.

Rhodes’s prowess will have you throwin’ your hand up and declarin’ ‘Hallelujah’ to her gospel cries! “Faith” offers a positive message about holding on through the dark days. Her soulful hums and crackling guitar riffs ignite her fiery passion.

Recommended Tracks:

Bound To Meet The Devil: “In Your Garden,” “Faith,” “Hey Stranger,” “Holes,” “See the Sun,” and “Skyscraper Blues.”

 

Town Meeting

Photo credit to HOWL Magazine

Photo credit to HOWL Magazine

Town Meeting is an Americana folk band with music that serves as the soundtrack for the small-town underdog destined for something great. “But if we know who we are, who can tell us what we’re not” in “If This Were a Movie,” offers the inspirational message of being true to yourself. Their story-driven lyrics and gorgeous harmonies rank them in the same league with folk legends The Avett Brothers.

The song “Phoenix” shows off what this band is capable of with their sensitivity to lyrical content and musical arrangements. The lyric “California isn’t what I thought it’d be when I put myself inside a plane and left my family,” was made more heartbreaking with a bluesy harmonica and a simple guitar strum.

Recommended Tracks:

If I Die: “Time,” “Verge,” “If This Were a Movie,” “Phoenix,” “Wash My Hands,” “Digging,” and “Orange and Reds.”

 

Matt York

Matt York’s music teeters somewhere between indie rock and rockabilly. His sound is closer to The Hold Steady but I would compare his lyrical wit to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

York’s lyrics offer playful jabs at a simple man going through the motions of life. It often reflects sad scenarios but with an optimistic sounding guitar. However you want to interpret his music, it is pure rock N’ roll goodness and it got the audience up and dancing without a care.

Recommended Tracks:

Boston, Texas: “Big Fan of Why,” “Let’s Go to the Beach,” “Losing Streak,” “New to You,” and “Sick of it all.”

 

Old Jack

Old Jack closes out Outlaw Roadshow NYC 2016. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing.

Old Jack closes out Outlaw Roadshow NYC 2016. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing.

Old Jack brought the house down at The Bowery Electric! Dan Nicklin is the epitome of Boston rock swagger. Nicklin took stage sporting a brown fedora, sweet shades and a plaid scarf loosely tied around his neck. The moment he crooned his fireball whiskey-smooth vocals into the old soul aficionado “Drivin’ All Night,” I just knew this was special.

Nicklin belts out the woes of a ramblin’ man with infinite wisdom. Backed with bluesy backup vocals, vibrant percussion, and some stellar guitar solos, he had everyone up clapping and singing along. This much lightning in a bottle called for an encore. Dan Nicklin sent the fans off with enough musical passion that would make any Outlaw proud.

Recommended Tracks:

Gone Before You Know: “Chorus Line,” “Deny Me Not,” “Face Like Mine,” and “Hold Tight.”

What is Home to You: “Miles Away,” “Oh Daddy,” “What is Home to You,” “Easy to Love,” “Lonely Alone,” and “Whistle Blowin.”