Amanda’s Top Ten Musical Experiences (cont.)

I bet you thought I forgot all about this! Well, the truth of the matter is… I haven’t been home to write and when I am home, I’m sleeping. I’ve been out making new musical experiences for 2012! As such I’m giving you three more of my top musical experiences and I promise the top 2 won’t be far behind.


5.SXSW- I don’t really know how to describe SXSW to anyone other than calling it a musical orgy of sorts. There is so much to see and do whilst in Austin, Texas that it’s hard to keep your head on straight. Last year was my first year and I hope to be going every year after. The cool thing about SXSW is you really only need money for a place to stay and some food. We never went to any official shows (which is what badges are required for) and we had a hard time keeping up with all the musical options out there. During our time at SXSW we saw; Fierce Creatures, Viva City, Purple Melon, AWOLNATION, Neon Trees, The Head and The Heart, The Kin, Dead Sara, Fitz and The Tantrums, Tailor Made Fable, Keaton Simons, Liam Finn, Atomic Tom, Ivan and Alyosha, Queen Caveat, The Gallery, Sabrosa Purr,  The Greenhornes, The Silent Comedy, Mother Mother, Agnes Obel, Brian Wright, Brooke Fraser, Cary Brothers, Holly Conlan, Jim Bianco, Joey Ryan, Kenneth Pattengale, Laura Jansen, Little Red Radio, OK, The Milk Carton Kids, Deluka, Hugo, Meriwether, My Cousin The Emperor, Sinai, Taylor Locke & The Roughs, The Good Natured, Augustana, Doll and The Kicks, Empires, Lenka, Twin Atlantic, and The Stone Foxes. Well, you get the idea…


4. Blink-182- I was never a huge fan of Blink. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t change the radio station when their music came on or anything but nothing about them made me have a burning desire to see them live. In 2011, I saw them not once but twice and they will always have a warm spot in my heart. The first time I saw them was for the Honda Civic Tour. I was working with Kevin and Rebecca Joelson and doing some shooting of the event which means I was in the pit for the first few songs and was able to be side stage for the rest of their set. I was surprised at just how many Blink-182 songs I knew and Rebecca and I sang along from the sidelines. What really blew my brain was when they ‘finished’ their set and this giant rig comes down from the batons where all the lights are. I had been staring at it all night trying to figure out what it was. Well, it was a giant arm with a drum set attached! Travis got on this rig and was taken out over the audience while he played a solo for a few minutes. The rig would tilt down, back up and move around. It was mind blowing!!!! Needless to say, I was a fan after that.


3. Bonnaroo- In 2011, Bonnaroo was what Coachella should have been lineup wise. If you’ve ever been to or know about Coachella, think of Bonnaroo as the cooler sister who is both hippie and hip. Bonnarro is also held in a giant field and while it lacks the artistic attractions like the wandering robot and the giant hand that can kill a car, it has yoga and it’s own post office. Bonnaroo also has this giant fountain which I’ve been told gets painted different colors every year but it’s a great way to stay cool in the heat. Coachella doesn’t have that. Granted Coachella is easier to get to, but flying out gave us the chance to hang out in Tennessee and check out Nashville for a day or two. Our highlights from Bonnaroo were already posted on this site but we had a blast watching Eminem, The Head and The Heart, Portugal. The Man, Neon Trees, Kopeckey Family Band, Mumford and Sons, Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons, Alberta Cross, The Black Angels, and The Decemberists. Bonnaroo is a new tradition in my book and I can’t wait to see the lineup for 2012!


See you soon for my top 2!

Kristen’s ’11 Mix – Bonus 2 – Harper Blynn

Bonus 2. “Halo” (Beyonce/Dirty Projectors Cover) – Harper Blynn


I spent a lot of time this year hanging out at The Mint. I had friends who worked there so…this often translated to free music and food. And it was good music and food (garlic fries, mac n cheese, taquitos, yum!). Some memorable nights at The Mint included any High Voltage night (Marti Gras, Dead Sara, Queen Caveat), Andrew Belle and Schuyler Fisk, Liam Gerner, Empire (a fantastic new band), etc. Harper Blynn is one of those bands I discovered at The Mint. They absolutely blew me away. I was transfixed by their energy and their songs. I love their album, Loneliest Generation, but it’s this cover of Beyonce’s “Halo” that I felt needed a spot on this mix as it became my wake up and get out of bed tune of the year. These Brooklyn boys spend a couple of months in LA doing a residency at The Hotel Cafe and brought out other fantastic artists like The Damnwells, Cary Brothers, Todd Carey, and Laura Jansen. They also did a couple amazing shows at Bardot. It was a great year for me and Harper Blynn.


~ Kristen

Kristen’s LA Concert Calendar: 12/12-12/18

Last Friday night, I had another one of those epic evenings on the Sunset Strip. I started at The Viper Room to see San Diego’s Kevin Martin. Then I ran to The Key Club to catch Jon McLaughlin and Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers with what must have been one of the most polite audiences I’ve ever been a part of. In drastic opposition, I stopped by The Roxy to witness some of the magic that is Camp Freddy. This week’s special guests included Neon Trees, Linda Perry, Sebastian Bach, Paul Stanley (KISS), and Fred Durst. I was going to head back to The Viper for the after party, but got sidetracked by some friends and pizza at Frankie and Johnny’s. Nights like these remind me why I love The Sunset Strip.

Monday night I’ll be back on The Strip for High Voltage Magazine’s Holiday Party at On the Rox. This will be the first of many holiday parties/charity events going on this week featuring some great artists and culminating in one of my favorite events of the year: The Hotel Cafe’s two day holiday party. For more details on these parties and other Kristen-approved musical events occurring this week, just keep reading:


Monday: High Voltage Magazine Holiday Party featuring Zero1, The Active Set, Suddyn, and Bethpage Black (8pm)
ALSO: So & So and Some Hear Explosions at The Viper Room (10:15, 11:15)
ALSO: Wires in the Walls FREE at Bootleg Bar (11:30)
ALSO: Brandi Carlile at Largo at the Coronet (8pm)
ALSO: Writers in the Round at Room 5 featuring Garrison Starr, Adrianne, Dawn Thomas, and Maia Sharp (9pm)


Tuesday: Ernie Halter, Mariah McManus, Amie Miriello at The Hotel Cafe (8,9,10)
ALSO: Noush Skaugen at Bar Lubitch (9:30)
ALSO: Sick of Sarah and The Lookout Kids at Silverlake Lounge (8, 10)
ALSO: Beachwood Holiday Party at The Piano Bar featuring Jesse Cole, Johnny Moezzi, Tripp Rezac, Ragsy, etc. (9pm)
ALSO: Brett Detar at The Satellite (10pm)


Weds: Noush Skaugen at Room 5 (8pm)
ALSO: The Rescues at The Hotel Cafe (9pm)
ALSO: Kyle Nicolaides at Bootleg Bar (9pm)


Thursday: Youngblood Hawke at The Echo (9pm)
ALSO: Carina Round at The Hotel Cafe (7pm)
ALSO: The Spring Standards at Silverlake Lounge (8pm)
ALSO: Invisible Children Benefit Concert Night 1 featuring Jon Foreman, Matt Pryor, Aaron Gillespie, etc. (7pm)


Friday: Hotel Cafe Holiday Party Night 1 featuring Priscilla Ahn, Meiko, Rocco Deluca, Raining Jane, Tim Jones, Adam Grace, Walker Young, Laura Jansen, etc. (7pm)
ALSO: Why Hunger Benefit Concert at Hard Rock Hollywood featuring Cary Brothers , Bleu, and Crash Kings (9pm)
ALSO: Invisible Children Holiday Benefit Night 2 featuring The Mountain Goats, Ivan & Alyosha, etc. (7pm)
ALSO: Belle Brigade at The Satellite (10pm)
ALSO: Forrest Day at Molly Malone’s (10pm)
ALSO: Camp Freddy at The Roxy (11pm)
ALSO: Beverly Kills at The Federal (6pm)
ALSO: Chris Cornell at Orpheum Theater (8pm)
ALSO: Oh Land at The El Rey (8pm)


Saturday: Hotel Cafe Holiday Party featuring Butch Walker, Joe Purdy, Cary Brothers, The Rescues, Keaton Simons, Holly Conlan, Austin Hartley Leonard, Jake Newton, Chris Pierce, Amie Miriello, etc. (7pm)
ALSO: Terraplane Sun at The White Buffalo at Bootleg Bar (9, 11)
ALSO: Tori Amos at Orpheum Theater (8pm)


Sunday: Odd Us and Red Circle Underground at The Hotel Cafe (8:30, 10:30)
ALSO: Tori Amos at Orpheum Theater (8pm)


To Keep in Mind:
December 23rd: Camp Freddy at The Roxy
December 31st: Semi Precious Weapons at The Roxy
January 10th: Dead Sara at The Troubadour
January 12th: Milk Carton Kids at The Largo
January 17th: The Silent Comedy at The Roxy
January 19th: Civil Twilight at Bootleg Bar
January 29th: Tyrone Wells at Saint Rocke
January 31st: Atomic Tom at Bootleg Bar
Feb. 2nd: Mutemath at Club Nokia
Feb. 14th: Twin Atlantic and You Me at Six at The Troubadour
March 9th: William Fitzsimmons at The Troubadour
March 13th-18th: SXSW (Austin, TX)
March 18th: Dia Frampton at The Troubadour
March 24th: Ani DiFranco at The Orpheum Theater

~ Kristen!/_localmusicnat

Kristen’s LA Concert Calendar: 10/3-10/9

This week brings us Filter Magazine’s Culture Collide Festival. This multi-cultural festival, primarily taking place in Silverlake, combines live music, film screenings and food from around the world. For more information, check out the website ( Festival tickets can be purchased for $20 and there is a free block party at the end of the week. I’m not overly familiar with many of the bands, but I’m looking forward to discovering some new international artists. All of my recommended musical events associated with the festival will be marked with a CCF.

It’s a very rich music-wise. Here’s what I’m most excited about:


Monday: Nightmare & The Cat and Youngblood Hawke FREE at The Satellite (10,11)…starting a not to miss October residency with Youngblood Hawke
ALSO: Fat City Reprise and Red Circle Underground at The Viper Room (11:15, 12:15)…the beginning of Fat City Reprise’s October Residency
ALSO: Indians FREE at Silverlake Lounge (11pm)…yet another October residency (Monday’s in October are PACKED!)
ALSO: Songwriters in the Round at Room 5 featuring Liam Gerner, Scott Goldbaum, and Stephen Wrabel (9pm)
ALSO: It’s a School Night at Bardot featuring Elizaveta, The Kopecky Family Band, and Hanni El Khatib (9pm)…free with RSVP


Tuesday: Joe Purdy at The Hotel Cafe (9:30)
ALSO: Transfer at The Roxy (8pm)
ALSO: Viza at The Viper Room (10:15)
ALSO: Wires in The Walls, Escalator Hill, and Oak and Gorski at The Central (9,10,11)
ALSO: Locksley at The Bootleg (10pm)
ALSO: Johnny Moezzi at The Foundry (8pm)
ALSO: Liam Gerner at The Mint (10:30)


Weds: Nico Vega and Blondie at Club Nokia (8pm)
ALSO: Terra Naomi and Ari Shrine at The Silverlake Lounge (8:30, 9:30)
ALSO: Ivan & Alyosha at The Echo (8pm)
ALSO: Bethpage Black at Rolling Stone LA at Hollywood and Highland (11pm)
ALSO: Robbie Robertson at The Grammy Museum (8pm)
ALSO: Kopecky Famiy Band at The House of Blues Sunset (8:30)
ALSO: CCF- Liam Finn at Whole Foods in West Hollywood


Thursday: Garrison Starr and All New People at The Hotel Cafe (10pm)
ALSO: Liam Gerner, The Americans, Patrick Park, and Maxim Ludwig at The Bootleg (8:30)…wow a great night of music all the way through!
ALSO: CCF- Liam Finn at The Echo (11:30
ALSO: CCF- The Black Box Revelation at Swinghouse (8pm)


Friday: Incubus at The Hollywood Bowl (7:30)
ALSO: CCF- The Asteroids Galaxy Tour at The Echoplex (11pm)
ALSO: CCF- WIM, He’s My Brothers/She’s My Sister, The Postelles, Avi Buffalo at ReFORM (8:30)
ALSO: CCF- Laura Jansen at Echo Park United Methodist Church (9:30)


Saturday: Rachel Platten, Keaton Simons and Michael Tolcher at The Hotel Cafe (9pm)
ALSO: Chamberlin at Bootleg Theater (11pm)
ALSO: Abigail Washburn at McCabe’s Guitar Shop (8pm)
ALSO: CCF- Carina Round at Echo Park United Methodist Church (8:30)


Sunday: Michael Tolcher, Rachel Platten, Keaton Simons at Saint Rocke (7,8,9)
ALSO: Tyrone Wells at The Hotel Cafe (8pm)
ALSO: CCF Block Party featuring Avi Buffalo, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, The Tender Box, etc. (2pm)



To Keep in Mind:
October 10th: The Silent Comedy at Bardot
October 11th: Rival Sons and Evanescence at Hollywood Palladium
October 11th: Switchfoot and Anberlin at The Wiltern
October 14th: Butterfly Boucher at Bootleg Theater
October 17th: Youngblood Hawke and Imagine Dragons at The Satellite
October 18th: Portishead at The Shrine
October 19th: Melissa Ferrick and Harper Blynn at The Hotel Cafe
October 22nd: The War on Drugs at The Satellite
November 3rd: Twin Atlantic and Awolnation at The Music Box
November 4th: Mike Doughty at The El Rey
November 7th: Lights at The El Rey
November 8th: Thrice at The Mayan Theater
November 8th: First Aid Kit at The Troubadour
November 11th: Jack’s Mannequin and The Academ Is… at The El Rey
November 12th: Feist at The WIltern
November 13th: Milk Carton Kids at The El Rey
November 17th: Marketa Irglova at The Troubadour
November 19th: Milo Greene, The Belle Brigade, and The Civil Wars at The Wiltern
November 29th: Rachel Yamagata at The Troubadour
March 13th-18th: SXSW (Austin, TX)

~ Kristen!/_localmusicnat

Hanson’s 12 hour SXSW4Japan Benefit: Album now Available!

So many things were going on in Austin the week of SXSW that it’s impossible to do/see/even know about it all. One thing I was tangentially aware of was Hanson’s efforts to raise money for those in Japan suffering from the tsunami fallout. Apparently the brothers put together a fundraiser in less than 24 hours that brought in over $100,000 worth of donations for the Red Cross.  The fundraiser was in the form of a telethon that took place on the last Saturday of SXSW and featured so many wonderful artists coming in and giving exclusive performances that were then streamed live. is re-streaming the performances RIGHT NOW!:

Even more exciting, ITunes and are now selling a digital album called SXSW4Japan featuring nearly 50 tracks from the artists that participated. All proceeds are going to the Red Cross.

So, what are you waiting for? GO and get it!

Some of my favorite artists featured include: Hanson, The Lonely Forest, Cary Brothers, The Boxer Rebellion, Laura Jansen, Alpha Rev, Jenny O, Keaton Simons, Anna Nalick, The Parlotones, Kina Grannis, Michelle Branch, and Rooney…but there are SOOOOOO many more!

Charlie Mars at the SXSW4Japan benefit:

Hanson covers “Lean on Me”

~ Kristen

Watch live streaming video from sxsw4japan at

Listen to This!: Jim Bianco’s “Loudmouth”

I absolutely LOVE that the very first thing you hear when you press play on Jim Bianco’s new album, Loudmouth, is laughter. I have been a fan of Mr. Bianco for a couple years now, seeing him play at The Hotel Cafe, Hotel Carolina, and, most recently, SXSW, and one of the things I love most about his live performance is that it always puts you in a good mood.  Not afraid to speak/sing his mind and often delivering the unexpected, this CD succeeds in capturing the essence of a live show and takes the listener on a journey to fun and somewhat unexpected places.

My first thought after l began listening was “I can’t believe these songs haven’t been released already!” Seriously, “Elevator Operator”, an infectious tune about a woman who aspires to be an elevator operator, was the first song I remember hearing Jim Bianco sing a couple of years ago. And the song “Sinners” has long been the anthem I’ve associated with Bianco; that song that calls all the musicians in the room to the stage and gets the crowd on their feet singing along.

I suppose it’s appropriate to open the album with this song that goes, “Heave ho to hell we go. Look out here we come!”  Bianco’s voice lends itself well to the more debacherous tune and I’m fairly sure he could make a children’s nursery rhyme into a song that would turn your cheeks pink. But don’t let the theme of the first tune deceive you into thinking the entire album follows this lead.

The rest of the album goes back and forth between upbeat tunes with a devil may care attitude like “Take You Home” and “Shut Up and Kiss Me” and songs showing more emotional vulnerability such as “Talented” and “Ok, I Suppose”.  The gruff in Bianco’s unique voice pulls off both ends of the spectrum equally well and with the aid of the musical arrangements (horns versus strings, the piano versus keyboard,  acoustic versus electric guitar, an array of percussion), this CD has the ability to take you from headboppin’ smiles to heartbreaking sighs in the matter of minutes.

Let Loudmouth grab your attention with catchier ditties like “Sinners” and “Elevator Operator”, but stick around to see this loudmouth’s softer side. After several listens, the tune that really stays with me is the album ender, “Home”. I’ve always enjoyed this song, but there is something about how it’s arranged on the album that seems to elevate its emotional intensity.

“Home” also brings the album great closure. It’s like that “Sinner” from track one, who has been through all these emotional ups and downs has come to some sort of conclusion about life.

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound. A sinner’s prayer is heard while falling to the ground. I once was lost but now I’ve found. Home.

“There is only one voice whispering in our ear. There is only one place, we’re already here. There is only one word. It’s the word you’re thinking.”

Loudmouth is a seamless transition from Bianco’s 2008 release, Sing. If you are a fan of that album, or enjoy any of Bianco’s brethren on the Hotel Cafe circuit (Cary Brothers, Laura Jansen, Jay Nash, Meiko, Brian Wright, etc.), this album will fit quite nicely in your collection.

And if you’re in Los Angeles TONIGHT (Monday April 4th), Come to Bardot to celebrate the release of Loudmouth. Jim Bianco plays at 10pm!


~ Kristen

Kristen’s LA Concert Calendar: 3/28-4/3

Just got back from Saint Rocke where we experienced a most excellent evening of music. Justin Hopkins lead a mildly chaotic yet thoroughly enjoyable songwriters in the round featuring several artists (whose names I’ve sadly mostly forgotten). Justin himself played only a few songs, although I wish he could have done more. At one point, he brought up a 10-year-old girl who was an incredibly talented guitar player and songwriter. Keaton Simons also made an appearance and took part in several impromptu jam sessions after singing a few of his own tunes including a brand new one he claimed he just wrote yesterday.


The headliner of the evening was the incredibly entertaining Wakey!Wakey! Between the fun tunes and the funny banter, my cheeks still hurt from all the smiling and laughing. Seriously, if you’ve never been in a “conversation” with Wakey!Wakey! frontman, Mike Grubbs, you cannot fully appreciate the full spectrum of his talent. And speaking of talent, I should mention the violinist whose accompaniment elevated each song to a level of mesmerizing despite the fact that she had a cut on her finger.


It was a fantastic way to begin the week. Hopefully the rest of my schedule this week will be equally or more enjoyable. Check out my list:


Monday: Honeyhoney at Bootleg Theater (10:30)
ALSO: Sabrosa Purr at The Viper Room (10:15)
ALSO: Chris Robinson Brotherhood at The Echoplex (8:30)
ALSO: Songwriters in the Round at Room 5 (9pm)


Tuesday: Brian Wright at The Hotel Cafe (9pm)…record release show…and after what I heard at SXSW this would be my top pick of the week!
ALSO: The Canyons and Satellite at Molly Malone’s (8,9)
ALSO: Stop Motion Poetry at Room 5 (9pm)


Weds: Queen Caveat and Imagine Dragons at The Viper Room (8,9)
ALSO: Semi Precious Weapons at On the Rox (10pm)…the last of their Empire residency shows before they head off to re-join Lady Gaga
ALSO: Laura Jansen at The Hotel Cafe (10:30)


Thursday: Ringside at The Roxy (10pm)
ALSO: Ari Hest at The Hotel Cafe (9:30)


Friday: Bird by Bird at The Roxy (8pm)
ALSO: Viza at The Troubadour (11:30)
ALSO: Brendan James and Matt White at The Hotel Cafe (8,9)
ALSO: J. Scott Bergman at Molly Malone’s (8pm)


Saturday: Tyler Hilton at The Hotel Cafe (10pm)
ALSO: Northstar Session at Molly Malone’s (10pm)…album release


Sunday: day of restuntil something inevitably comes along…


To Keep in Mind:
April 6th: Andy Clockwise and The Silent Comedy at The Troubadour
April 10th: Milk Carton Kids at The Hotel Cafe
April 11th: Chris Robinson Brotherhood at The Echoplex
April 15th: Scarlet Grey at The Roxy
April 16th: Matt Wertz and Ben Rector at The Troubadour
April 20th: Ellie Goulding at The Music Box
April 22nd: Purple Melon at The Roxy
April 25th: Airborne Toxic Event at The Satellite
April 25th: The Head & The Heart at The Troubadour
May 4th: The Pipettes at The Satellite
May 7th: The Silent Comedy at The Roxy
May 15th: Eisley at The Troubadour
May 27th: The Script at Club Nokia
June 2nd: Manchester Orchestra at The Music Box
June 9-12: Bonnaroo!!!
June 13th: Florence and The Machine at The Greek Theater
September 22-24: Hotel Carolina
June 29th: Brooke Fraser at The Music Box

~ Kristen