LMN Interview: Barry Privett (Carbon Leaf)

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P1560245Ten years ago, I was at a music store perusing the CD shelves in the hopes of discovering something new and amazing. I settled on a fall-colored album with a big red butterfly called Indian Summer. It was by a band I hadn’t heard of that went by the name of Carbon Leaf.  I decided to take the album home without even hearing a note (something I did regularly back then), and quickly fell in love with its warm tones. Upon repeated listens, I forged a deep connection with the album’s lyrics. Songs like “Life Less Ordinary”, “What About Everything?”, and “Let Your Troubles Roll By” spoke to me at a time in my life when I was making a lot of choices about my future and who I wanted to be.  This album came to define this particular period of my life.

Ten years later, Carbon Leaf is still one of my favorite bands. What has impressed me most is their ability to persist; to forge new paths in this crazy music industry to retain and celebrate their music and their fans. In 2014, the band decided to re-record Indian Summer in order to reclaim the tracks they had originally released while on a record label. While on their recent West Coast tour, I was able to chat with Carbon Leaf singer, Barry Privett, about the somewhat unconventional re-record, what it takes to thrive as a band over the long haul, the band’s popularity on the east coast vs west coast, and what he would dress up for on Halloween. Here’s what I learned:

 

On Creating Indian Summer Revisited:

LMN: What inspired the remake of this album?

Barry: We’ve been a band for a long time, but only a few years we were actually on a record label. That [Indian Summer] was our debut. We had written the album and recorded it as an independent band and someone had forwarded it on to the label and they wanted to release it, so we licensed a deal and all and released two more subsequent albums with Vanguard Records. That relationship ran its course and we decided to leave that label in 2010. We have been independent for most of our career except for that period. We released two albums in 2013, two albums the year before that and we were like well, what do you want to do next? You know Indians Summer turns ten this September. It’d be cool to celebrate that somehow.

But the record label owned the album. We were no longer on the label so there wasn’t a whole lot we could do, but they didn’t own the actual songs themselves. We retained all the rights to the songs so it’s just the master recordings we couldn’t do anything with. So we decided to do a little research and found that we were off the term long enough that we could re-record it if we wanted to. We decided to re-record the album and put it back under our wing and have control over the songs again…or at least the new version of the songs.

LMN: Were there any particular challenges in remaking such a fan favorite?

Barry: We didn’t want to mess with it. If that was your favorite record we wanted it to still sound and feel like your favorite record. The challenge for us was to emulate the old one, but to improve up on it. Make it more organic. Update some of the things like machine drum loops that we could make live. Little subtle tweeks, but keeping the soundscape the same. We went through the original tracks and meticulously researched the sound that we had. Going back ten years is kind of tough! The gear changes, the techniques change, the room that you’re recording in changes. We got kind of good at getting there and I feel like it sounds like Indian Summer, but more organic. It’s got a better band feel I guess.

LMN: Do you have a favorite re-imagined song?

Barry: It’s funny, we don’t. We kind of anticipated some debate about that. The fact is we feel like we got it right the first time in terms of the songs and, for the most part, the production. We’ve had the benefit of having ten years behind us of playing the songs, so intuitively if you listen to “Let Your Troubles Roll By” on the first album, we were making that up as we went along, using some drum loops and patching weird sounds and having them come and go and we fashioned the song like that. Whereas now we play it live. It’s a band playing it. There are some parts that are different that we’re happier with, but I think the original stuff holds. It still stands.

LMN: Do the songs mean anything different now than they did ten years ago?

Barry: That’s an interesting question. Certainly, the immediacy of where you were then kind of rubs off and the songs take on a new life as you evolve and write new material and that becomes your new present thing. But that album still holds a place and time for me which I think is what makes it a great album. To be a fan of an album and to listen to it and for it to be a time stamp. That’s my goal, really, to make an album be a time stamp of life, where things are. And it did. It did do that. You start to remember a lot of things when you were recording about that time and relationships and it did bring that back.

 

On East Coast vs. West Coast:

LMN: I have a question from a fan who came from Virginia, but lives in Los Angeles now. She wants to know why you are more well-known on the east coast than out here on the west coast.

Barry: Well, we’ve put in a lot more time on the east coast for sure. We’ve been playing the east coast for six or seven years before we even got out west. You can play the east coast pretty easily, there’s a city every couple of hours. Out here, it’s still a pioneering effort to get from one outpost to the next. I wish we could get out here more often, but once a year is kind of where we are. It’d be nice to build more in some other cities. Some cities are bigger than others. Seattle is a big city, Portland is a bigger city. LA’s hard just because it’s saturated with so much entertainment.

LMN: Do you identify as an east coast band or with a particular scene?

Barry: It’s funny, we’ve been doing it so long we’ve seen scenes come and go and a lot of bands come and go regionally and we’ve kept at it. I can’t really say there’s a scene we’ve really been a part of. I guess when you’re young and first starting out it feels more like a scene but the reality is you start drilling down so much in what you’re doing, in writing and recording and touring, you’re not just hanging out in the scene, you’re focused on your fans and your material.

LMN: Do you identify at all as a Virginia band?

Barry: Well sure, our roots are there. I’m a Virginian. Carter’s a Virginian. Terry’s a Virginian. That’s where our families are and where we hang our hat.

LMN: And from what I’ve heard from all of my Virginia friends, you’ve done quite well, especially in the college scene out there.

Barry: We’ve been treated very well. We’re lucky.

 

On Surviving as a Band:

LMN: Is there any advice 2014 Barry would give 2004 Barry?

Barry: you mean aside from go to med school.

LMN: haha! Yeah, that’s something my 2014 self might tell my 2004 self too. But, you guys have evolved a lot and experienced different facets of the industry. What have you learned from all of that?

Barry: It’s tough. There’s so many variables to determine whether you’re going to be successful at it and being talented is not necessarily one of the major factors. Do you have a good group where there’s chemistry? Do you get along? Are you able to make your life work around the obtuse nature of being in a band and the demands of touring and being in your head a lot and writing? It’s a full time gig. It’s an overtime gig. You have to love what you’re doing and believe in what you’re doing and be able to assess where you are and ask yourself, is it working? Is there a response? Can you get out on tour and get back home? Ultimately, it’s equal parts follow your heart and be realistic, always self-assess.

LMN: Carbon Leaf seems to have been quite successful at that, at keeping it going.

Barry: it’s extremely hard. You can be kind of successful at it and have a tight little business, which we do, but it’s incredibly demanding. The reality is when you’re younger, there is more time and less responsibility. You can get by on less. As you get older, those other parts of life are going to come in and so it’s a tough gig for you to keep your eye that far down the road.

 

On What’s Next for Carbon Leaf:

LMN: So, what are you up to next, more touring?

Barry: Yeah, we’ll be touring up through the holidays. And then January/February, we’ll be doing some writing. We’re thinking about a couple of projects now for the New Year, but we haven’t made any decisions.

LMN: You always seem to find a way to change it up from album to album. Where will you be going next?

Barry: That’s what we’re thinking about and I don’t have an answer. We did the Celtic album, Ghost Dragon, a rock/folk album with Constellation Prize, then some of the Vanguard re-recordings. We might do some more with that for some other albums, but nothing’s poking out yet. There’s some song we want to get to but we’re not quite sure what’s next.

LMN: You have had quite the productivity rate in regards to releasing.

Barry: And we’ve been like that since 2010. We were like, let’s release something every 6 months, woo hoo! We did that maybe every 8 or 9 months. We’ve done five or six projects since then. And then we finished those two albums back to back six months apart. I thought, well we’ve been together for years, let’s take a look back at some stuff because I would like to go back to the old stuff. Bring it back and kind of update it with the lineup that we have. I think we’ll do some more of that and balance it with writing the new stuff.

LMN: Do you have a favorite part of being on tour?

Barry: I love seeing the country, getting out of the east coast is a nice kind of breath of fresh air.

LMN: and escaping the colder weather?

Barry: Now it’s still nice out, but that won’t last long. We’ll start making our way north and then east again. You get a project up and running then you’re ready to get out on the road and promote it and after a couple of months, you’re ready to be done with it. Kind of like anything.

On a Carbon Leaf Halloween:

LMN: So, Halloween is coming up. If you were to do a show, what would you do?

Barry: uhh, we used to do Halloween shows and they were so much work. They were messy. We would decorate and carve pumpkins and put cobwebs everywhere and dress up. It just got so hard. I grew out of it. If I did it again I would hire crew members to clean up afterwards.

LMN: What would you dress up as?

Barry: There was one time I had a shaved head so I thought I’ll be a skeleton this year. There were a couple of years that I was kind of a suave werewolf. I had a fur ascot, a smoking jacket…I looked pretty good. I’m not gonna lie. I’d probably do that again.

 

After the interview, I stuck around The Roxy to enjoy the show. Here are a few pictures:

 

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Amanda’s SD Concert Calendar 10/20-10/26

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So, last week was kind of full and not in the show going kind of way. I hurt my shoulder in dance class and thankfully today it’s way less sore (and crunchy) than it was when I hurt it on Thursday. Saturday was a loooooooong day at the barn which resulted in me passing out by 10:30pm (I’m getting old!) and yesterday was a “get stuff done) kind of day. Whew. Today I am actually at Disneyland with my mom, which is pretty exciting with all the decorations. I’m hoping to actually get out this week. Fingers crossed!

Monday: Asia @ Belly Up at 8pm

Tuesday: Marissa’s Birthday Bash with Octagrape, Grand T, The Stupid Daikini @ U31 at 9pm

Wednesday: Bear Hands, Fences @ North Park Theater at 7pm
AND: Allo Darlin’ @ Soda Bar at 9pm

Thursday: Wildcat! Wildcat! @ Casbah at 9pm
AND: Truth and Salvage Co., Hit Dog Hollar @ The Merrow at 9pm
AND: Jesse LaMonaca and The Dime Novels @ Sycamore Den at 9pm
AND: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. @ Belly Up at 9pm

Friday: Alt J @ Soma at 7pm- SOLD OUT
AND: St. Lucia @ Humphreys at 8pm
AND: Afghan Wigs @ Belly Up at 9pm

Saturday: SD Music and Beer Festival feat: Royal Teeth, Breach The Summit, The Active Set @ San Diego Waterfront Park at 5pm
AND: Daryl Hall and John Oates @ Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater @ SDSU at 8pm
AND: Griffin House, Lee Coulter @ Soda Bar at 9pm
AND: Jenny Lewis @ House of Blues at 7pm
AND: Warpaint @ North Park Theater at 8pm
AND: One Eye Red @ The Merrow at 9pm
AND: Phish @ Sleep Train Amphitheater at 7pm
AND: Mason James @ Lestats at 9pm

Sunday: Jake Newton, Javier Dunn @ Lestats @ 9pm

 

Keep in Mind:

October 29th- Sean Mullins @ Belly Up
October 30th- New Politics, Somekindawonderful @ House of Blues
October 31st- Citizen Cope @ Humphreys
November 1st- Delta Spirit @ Belly Up
November 1st- Switchfoot @ Cal Coast Credit Open Air Theatre
November 7th- Flyleaf @ North Park Theater
November 9th- The Black Keys, Jake Bugg @ Viejas Arena
November 9th- Shakey Graves @ The Irenic
November 15th- Tegan and Sara @ The North Park Theater
November 18th- Smallpools @ House of Blues
November 19th- Bastille @ Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl
November 19th- Cold War Kids
November 21st- Minus the Bear
November 21st- The 1975 @ Soma
November 25th- Vance Joy @ House of Blues
December 2nd- Fleetwood Mac @ Viejas Arena
December 2nd- Alex Clare @ House of Blues
December 8th- Augustana @ House of Blues
December 18th- HIM @ House of Blues

Kristen’s LA Concert Calendar: 10/20-10/26

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Culture Collide was wonderful, but it left me exhausted. I had a blast sampling all the international bands and some international foods. Band highlights included all the Swedish bands (We Met Tomorrow, Solander, Nervous Nellie), a super fun young band from The Netherlands called Taymir, and my new go-to dance band from Isreal, Skyroads. If you’re sad you missed out (which you should be), don’t miss It’s a School Night this Monday which features Taymir as well as another great Culture Collide band, Fractures.

They aren’t my only international band picks this week. We also have Germans, Milky Chance, British acts including Dry the River, The Dunwells, and Placebo and Czech singer-songwriter, Marketa Irglova.

Here are the rest of my picks:

 

Monday: Zane Carney at The Hotel Cafe (9pm)
ALSO: Milky Chance w/ Linus Young at The Troubadour (8pm)
ALSO: Spoon at The Grammy Museum (8pm)
ALSO: Alt-J at Greek Theatre (7:30)
ALSO: Ivory Deville at Townhouse & The Del Monte (9:30)
ALSO: It’s a School Night at Bardot f. Taymir, Fractures, and more (8:30)
ALSO: Monday Monday at Room 5 (8pm)
ALSO: Hunnypot Radio live FREE at The Mint (7pm)

 

Tuesday: Dry the River w/ Nathaniel Rateliff and Otis English at The Troubadour (8pm)
ALSO: Wildcat! Wildcat! At The El Rey (9pm)
ALSO: Frazey Ford w/ Garrison Starr at The Hotel Cafe (7pm)
ALSO: Olin & The Moon at Bootleg HiFi (9pm)

 

Weds: All-American Rejects (acoustic) at The Hotel Cafe (9:30)
ALSO: Katy Rose at Silverlake Lounge (10pm)
ALSO: Kristen Toedtman at Room 5 (8pm)
ALSO: The Black and The White at Bootleg HiFi (8pm)

 

Thursday: The Dunwells at The Hotel Cafe (8pm)
ALSO: Kimbra at The Roxy (8pm)
ALSO: Colin Hay at Largo (8:30)
ALSO: Daniel Lanois at The Grammy Museum (8pm)

 

Friday: Marketa Irglova w/ Rosi Golan, Griffin House, Truth & Salvage Co. at The Hotel Cafe (7, 9, 10:30)
ALSO: Matthew Jordan at Room 5 (9pm)
ALSO: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. w/ Miniature Tigers and Madi Diaz at Tower Theater (8pm)
ALSO: Trampled By Turtles at The Fonda (9pm)
ALSO: Jesse Macht at Harvelle’s (9:30)
ALSO: The Two Tens at The Viper Room (9pm)
ALSO: Bob Dylan at Dolby Theatre (8pm)
ALSO: Placebo w/ The Moth & The Flame at Club Nokia (9pm)

 

Saturday: Afternoons at Origami Vinyl  (7pm)
ALSO: Marketa Irglova w/ Rosi Golan at The Hotel Cafe (7pm)
ALSO: Sweet Talk Radio at WitZend (8pm)
ALSO: The Echo & The Sound at The Lexington Bar (9:30)
ALSO: Francisco the Man at Bootleg HiFi (8pm)
ALSO: Bob Dylan at Dolby Theatre (8pm)

 

Sunday: Sean Rowe at McCabe’s (8pm)
ALSO: Bob Dylan at Dolby Theatre (9pm)

 

 

 

To Keep in Mind:
October 27th: Rachael Yamagata at The Troubadour
October 27th: Ben Howard at The El Rey
October 29th: The All-American Rejects at The Hotel Cafe
October 29th: The Wild Feathers and The Apache Relay at The El Rey
October 29th: Betty Who at The House of Blues
November 1st: New Politics at The Fonda Theatre
November 4th: Penny and Sparrow at The Troubadour
November 5th: The All-American Rejects at The Hotel Café
November 7th: The Kin at Bootleg HiFi
November 8th: Bear’s Den at Bootleg HiFi
November 10th/11th: Jamie Scott at The Troubadour
November 11th: Lights at Fonda Theatre
November 11th: Neulore at The Hotel Cafe
November 12th: The All-American Rejects at The Hotel Cafe
November 14th: Jay Nash at The Hotel Cafe
November 20th: Bastille at Shrine Expo Hall
November 21st/22nd: The Matches at The Troubadour
November 28th: Vance Joy at The Fonda Theatre
December 5th: Tyler Hilton at Bootleg HiFi
December 9th: Dear Boy at Bootleg HiFi
December 9th: Augustana at The Fonda Theatre
December 10th: Howie Day at Saint Rocke
December 13th: Howie Day at The Hotel Café
Feb. 6th: Hozier at The Fonda

 

~ Kristen

http://www.localmusicnation.net/

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Amanda’s SD Concert Calendar 10/13-10/19

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Happy Monday! I’m happy because it’s finally cooled down a bit and it’s beginning to feel more like fall and I hope it stays that way. I have boots, scarves, and warm fuzzy sweaters I can’t wait to wear. Anyway, we have a pretty full week of music this week and a handful of sold out shows. Unfortunately, the Kodaline show has been cancelled but there’s some fun new finds like Steady Hands at the Casbah on Wednesday, Flashbulb Fires at Lestats on Saturday, and Aiden Connell and The Noonday Parade at Lestats on Friday. So much good stuff out there this week!

Monday: The Horrors @ Belly Up at 8pm
AND: The Drums @ Soda Bar at 9pm- SOLD OUT

Tuesday: J. Roddy Walston and The Business @ Belly Up at 9pm
AND: James Bay @ The Loft at UCSD at 7pm
AND: Andrew McMahon @ House of Blues at 6:30pm
AND: Polica @ Casbah at 9pm- SOLD OUT
AND: David Bazan  + The Passenger String Quartet @ The Irenic at 7pm- SOLD OUT

Wednesday: Cherub @ House of Blues at 6:30pm
AND: Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties, Steady Hands, Matt Brasch, Brian Marquis @ The Irenic at 7pm

Thursday: Little Dove @ Bar Pink at 9pm
AND: Stephen Rey and The Sextette @ Sycamore Den at 9pm
AND: Branda Xu, The Lovebirds, Erika Davies @ Lestats at 9pm

Friday: Kodaline @ House of Blues at 6pm- CANCELLED
AND: Ray LaMontagne @ Cal Coast Credit Open Air Theater
AND: Yellowcard, Memphis May Fire, Emarosa @ North Park Theater at 7pm
AND: Aiden Connell and The Noonday Parade @ Lestats at 9pm
AND: Rubblebucket, Royal Canoe @ Casbah at 9pm

Saturday: Lukas Nelson & P.O.T.R., with Vaud and The Villains @ Belly Up at 8pm
AND: The New Pornographers, Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ North Park Theater at 7:30pm
AND: Flashbulb Fires @ Lestats at 9pm
AND: Rubblebucket, Royal Canoe, Nicky Venus @ Casbah at 9pm

Sunday: I Am The Albatross @ The Merrow at 9pm

Keep in Mind:
October 23rd- Wildcat! Wildcat! @ Casbah
October 23rd- Truth and Salvage Co., Hit Dog Hollar @ The Merrow
October 24th- Alt J @ Soma
October 24th- St. Lucia @ Humphreys
October 20th- New Politics @ House of Blues
October 29th- Sean Mullins @ Belly Up
October 30th- New Politics, Somekindawonderful @ House of Blues
October 31st- Citizen Cope @ Humphreys
November 1st- Delta Spirit @ Belly Up
November 1st- Switchfoot @ Cal Coast Credit Open Air Theatre
November 7th- Flyleaf @ North Park Theater
November 9th- The Black Keys, Jake Bugg @ Viejas Arena
November 9th- Shakey Graves @ The Irenic
November 15th- Tegan and Sara @ The North Park Theater
November 18th- Smallpools @ House of Blues
November 19th- Bastille @ Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl
November 19th- Cold War Kids
November 21st- Minus the Bear
November 21st- The 1975 @ Soma
November 25th- Vance Joy @ House of Blues
December 2nd- Fleetwood Mac @ Viejas Arena
December 2nd- Alex Clare @ House of Blues
December 8th- Augustana @ House of Blues
December 18th- HIM @ House of Blues

Kristen’s LA Concert Calendar: 10/13-10/19

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Culture Collide is coming! This festival, based in the Echo Park area and with an emphasis on international bands, is one of my favorites. It’s always a good vibe and I usually walk away with a new band or two to add to my “must see” list. I have yet to listen to all of the bands, but SXSW pick We Met Tomorrow are playing several sets and I hope to make all of them! For more information on who’s playing, set times, locations, and ticket sales: http://www.culturecollide.com/festivals/losangeles/

Otherwise, we’ve got another great week of music ahead. Zane Carney continues his must-see residency at The Hotel Cafe, UK buzz band, Catfish and The Bottlemen hit the Echo before going back home to a string of sold out shows, and, speaking of sold out shows, Hozier is in town. I envy all who have a ticket to that one.

Here are the rest of my selections:

 

Monday: Zane Carney and Broken Anchor at The Hotel Cafe (9, 10)
ALSO: No Small Children at The Mint (9pm)
ALSO: Will Hoge w/ Logan Mize, The Gallery at The Roxy (7:30)
ALSO: Gerard Way w/ The Eeries at The Troubadour (8pm)
ALSO: Broods at The El Rey (9pm)
ALSO: Lucinda Williams at The Grammy Museum (8pm)
ALSO: It’s A School Night at Bardot f. Austin Brown, Swimm (8:30)
ALSO: Monday Monday at Room 5 (8pm)

 

Tuesday: Catfish and the Bottlemen at The Echo (11pm)
ALSO: Meiko at Bootleg HiFi (10pm)
ALSO: Gerard Way w/ The Eeries at Fonda Theatre (9pm)
ALSO: Jessie J at The El Rey (9pm)

 

Weds: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness at Fonda Theatre (7:30)
ALSO: Walk The Moon at The Echo (8pm)

 

Thursday: Hozier w/ James Bay at Cathedral Sanctuary at Immanuel Presbyterian Church (7pm)
ALSO: J Roddy Walston & The Business at The Troubadour (8pm)
ALSO: The 88 at The Hotel Cafe (8pm)
ALSO: Stop Motion Poetry at Room 5 (10pm)
ALSO: Rubblebucket at The El Rey (9pm)
ALSO: Culture Collide in Echo Park (8pm)

 

Friday: Irontom at The Satellite (9pm)
ALSO: Halo Circus at The Hotel Cafe (9pm)
ALSO: Afternoons El Cid (11:30)…record release
ALSO Saint Motel FREE at Santa Monica Pier (6:45)…followed by a screening of The Grand Budapest Hotel
ALSO: Annie Lennox at The Grammy Museum (8pm)
ALSO: St. Lucia w/ Haerts at Fonda Theatre (9pm)
ALSO: Culture Collide at Echo Park (4pm)

 

Saturday: The Watkins Family Hour at Largo (8:30)
ALSO: Mike Doughty at The Mint (8pm)
ALSO: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour at The Troubadour (8pm)
ALSO: Culture Collide at Echo Park (1pm)

 

Sunday: Charming Liars, The Filthy Souls, and Raw Fabrics at The Troubadour (7:30)
ALSO: Perfume Genius at The Roxy (8pm)
ALSO: Meiko and Matt Szlachetka at Saint Rocke (7pm)

 

To Keep in Mind:
October 21st: Dry the River at The Troubadour
October 21st: Wildcat Wildcat at The El Rey
October 21st: Garrison Starr at The Hotel Cafe
October 22nd: Lewis Watson at The Troubadour
October 22nd: The All-American Rejects at The Hotel Cafe
October 23rd: The Dunwells at The Hotel Cafe
October 24th: Truth & Salvage Co. at The Hotel Cafe
October 27th: Rachael Yamagata at The Troubadour
October 27th: Ben Howard at The El Rey
October 29th: The All-American Rejects at The Hotel Cafe
October 29th: The Wild Feathers and The Apache Relay at The El Rey
November 1st: New Politics at The Fonda Theatre
November 4th: Penny and Sparrow at The Troubadour
November 5th: The All-American Rejects at The Hotel Café
November 7th: The Kin at Bootleg HiFi
November 8th: Bear’s Den at Bootleg HiFi
November 10th/11th: Jamie Scott at The Troubadour
November 11th: Lights at Fonda Theatre
November 11th: Neulore at The Hotel Cafe
November 12th: The All-American Rejects at The Hotel Cafe
November 14th: Jay Nash at The Hotel Cafe
November 20th: Bastille at Shrine Expo Hall
November 21st/22nd: The Matches at The Troubadour
November 28th: Vance Joy at The Fonda Theatre
December 5th: Tyler Hilton at Bootleg HiFi
December 9th: Augustana at The Fonda Theatre
December 10th: Howie Day at Saint Rocke
December 13th: Howie Day at The Hotel Café
Feb. 6th: Hozier at The Fonda

 

~ Kristen

http://www.localmusicnation.net/

https://twitter.com/_localmusicnat

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Halo Circus at The Hotel Cafe 10/3/14

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halo circus

I only knew Allison Iraheta as the young red haired belter from one of my favorite seasons of American Idol. These days she’s rocking out with her band, Halo Circus who are doing an October Residency at The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. Last Friday night she ignited the stage with her now electric pink hair, fun songs, and fiery attitude.

Halo Circus is a rock band, but they know how to bring it down before going full tilt.  Allison can belt, but her voice has a jazzy quality to it, giving it a texture in its quieter moments that really gives the band its distinct mark. This was evident from their first tune, “Nothing At All” with its dramatic instrumental opening and seductive off-tempo vocal rhythms.

HaloCircus_HK3A6956

photo by Peter Figen

The thing that stands out most about Halo Circus is the passion that permeates every note of every song. Allison, in particular, is feeling it down to her fingertips and it’s always a pleasure to see a song just envelope its singer. I’m not overly familiar with Spanish, but thanks to the expressive Iraheta, I had no trouble understanding what the Spanish song, “Verdad”, was supposed to be about.

Perhaps my favorite song of the night was the ballad, “Guns in Our Hands”. I love how Allison’s voice can show so much power and so much restraint all at the same time. Other highlights were the explosive Duran Duran cover of “Do You Believe In Shame” and powerful closer “Band Aid”.

Allison mentioned that she wanted the night to be fun and that reflected not only in the band onstage, but in the audience that seemed full of fans who knew many of the words to the songs. They will certainly be back for more. You have two more chances to join them tonight and next Friday (the 17th) at 9pm. Hotel Café. Be there!

Here’s a Halo Circus music video for their song, “Out of Love”

~ Kristen

Must See Show: Rags & Ribbons at Bootleg HiFi 10/8

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RagsAndRibbons_Mirror

Portland trio, Rags & Ribbons have been on our must see list since they played the opening notes of “Magnesium Dream” at their Overture Con performance last year. The harmonies! The piano! The pulsating, hypnotic beats! This band deserves your attention and if you’re in So-Cal, you’re in luck as they are currently in the middle of their West Coast tour. Wednesday night, Oct. 8th, they will grace the stage at Bootleg HiFi in Los Angeles. Here are 8 reasons you need to be at that show (4 from us and 4 from Rags & Ribbon’s singer/guitarist Ben Weyerhauser:

Our take:

1. Pianos rock! – Who can resist a hook-y piano driven tune? Rags & Ribbons does piano rock right.

2. You enjoy a good live show – the recordings are great, but there is something magnetic that happens when the three guys of Rags & Ribbons take the stage together

3. The venue – If they can drive all the way down from Portland, you can certainly drive across town to The Bootleg. The venue is my current favorite in Silverlake. Street parking is never a challenge, there is a nice patio area great for in-between set chit-chat, and they serve ginger beer and sparkling apple cider. Bonus points if the back room is open with its comfy seats, ginormous wall TV, and ping pong table.

4. This video- This video from “Even Matter”, a song off their debut album, The Glass Masses has converted several of my facebook friends into fans. Press play and see if it does the trick for you.

Ben’s take:

5.. The lineup – Rags & Ribbons plays at 9pm, opening for LA rockers Kiven and that band has been on fire lately.

6.  The sound is right – The band is traveling with their own sound guy, so they will be sounding their very best

7. Last chance! – This is the last time Rags & Ribbons  will be in LA this year and it might be awhile before you have the chance to see them again

8. The industry is coming- It’s an important show for the band. If you’re already a fan, they would love to see you and have your support.

 

See you at the show!

 

~ Kristen