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 SXSW ’11 Mix: Part 5

This year’s SXSW experience was a little different than in years past (ie I actually got to GO instead of my usual just listening to all of the artists). Still, I wanted to maintain the spirit of my annual SXSW Mix being a list of artists that are mostly new to me that I somehow discovered or was inspired to write about due to my SXSW experience.  I am so excited about every one of these artists/groups. I can’t wait for them to come through LA and play!

Here’s the final part of the official mix:


17. “Dominos” – Electric Touch

For a hot minute, Electric Touch was in LA and I discovered their music here. Then they moved to Austin, so I had to wait ’til SXSW to see them again. Now, they’ve played Coachella and seem to be doing a bit of Warped Tour this year. Keep your eyes open for this band, ’cause your ears will be happy if you do! Here are some tunes including my favorite, “Dominos”.



18. “Amalgam” – Halos

Ok, I saw this band at The Viper Room well before SXSW…but they were there and this is the perfect excuse I’d been looking for to mention how much I enjoy them. Check out their album, Living Like Kings in Confined Spaces.


19. “American Dream” – Sinai

Phildelphia’s golden boys, SINAI, gave one of their rare performances at SXSW this year. It was one of my most anticipated performances of the week as I’d been waiting to see this band, comprised of some of my favorite musicians, play since they announced their formation. They certainly didn’t disappoint. I love this video for “American Dream” because quite a bit of it was taken at their Austin performance.


20. “Remove Money Maker” – Viva City

These Brits were a big part of my SXSW experience. The more I see them, the more I love them. Check out their CD, Phobia, which features this song as well as other dance-able hits.


~ Kristen


and you think we’re done but wait…

SXSW Day 3: Recap

Sorry for the delay in posting…it’s been crazy. I wrote this as a recap of Friday’s events:

I’m sitting down at the end of the day thinking about all that I just accomplished in the previous 24 hours and I’m simply floored. I refuse to believe that it was this morning that I ventured into the British Music Embassay for some breakfast (egg buttys and chips) and tunes, yet I don’t recall a breakfast I’ve had since, so it must have been! Today was particularly special because it was my birthday (YAY!) and honestly I can’t think of a better way to have spent it. Here are some highlights

* the aforementioned breakfast (seriously the food here in Austin has been amazing)

* the aforementioned British bands (ie The Good Natured)

* meeting Bob Geldof on a random park bench

* Dancing for every single band on the amazing lineup at The Force launch party at Red Eye Fly (included Little Red Radio, My Cousin The Emperor, Purple Melon, The Silent Comedy, Taylor Locke & The Roughs, Viva City, Hugo, and Deluka among others…I mean seriously I have never danced that hard for that long)

* dancing on stage with The Silent Comedy

* FINALLY seeing SINAI (jaw on the ground)

* discovering another band from Philly that blew my mind (Meriwether)

* Keaton Simons (who just makes any day a much better one)

* finally getting to see Liam Finn

* again, all the really cool and interesting people met out on the street or at the venues

* fried pickles


Amanda’s typing up the Day 4 recap as I post this…coming soon!


~ Kristen

Gearing up for SXSW: Kristen’s 10 “Must See” Artists

TOMORROW, we leave for Austin. I’m in the midst of frenzied preparations. I haven’t been posting much these last couple of weeks, in part, due to the fact that every spare second I have managed to accumulate has gone to listening to artists I may get the chance to see at SXSW and preparing my lists and schedules.

I thought I’d share some of the artists I’m most looking forward to (a combination of old favorites and new discoveries). So, here it is. My 10 “Must See” Artists at SXSW ’11:

1. The Silent Comedy

These San Diego boys have been on my must see list for awhile now. Their growing popularity means they’ve been spending more time away from Southern California so I relish even more every chance I get to see them.

When to see them:

2. Queen Caveat

I’ve gotta go support my favorite up-and-coming LA band. For those of you not in LA, don’t miss one of the first opportunities to see Queen Caveat play outside of their hometown. SO much love for this band!

When to see them:


3. The Kin

These Australian brothers are favorites of mine from back east. One of the exciting things about SXSW is that it brings together favorite artists from all over the country/world. Also, be sure to follow The Kin on twitter so that you’ll know where they plan to do their next musical robbery on Saturday in Austin.

where to see them:


4. Empires

One of my favorite bands out of Chicago. I’d been itching to see them again since they opened for Biffy Clyro at Bootleg Theater.

where to see them:


5. Dash & Will

Two girls from Australia whose tunes caught my ear immediately. I’m even more excited to see them and buy their music, because finding their tunes to download in the US= nearly impossible.

where to see them:

6. Dead Sara

I’ve seen them three times in LA in the last month or so and I can’t remember the last time a band has blown my mind quite this much. Any chance I’ll get to see Dead Sara, I’m taking!

where to see them:



I’ve been wanting to see this new band out of Philly since its inception at the end of last year. I’ve been very jealous of all my Philly friends who have gone to their shows. Now it’s my turn!

where to see them: Friday 8pm: Austin Music Hall (208 Nueces) at the Monster Energy Showcase

8. The Lonely Forest

I adore this band out of Washington. They were actually on my SXSW ’10 mix. I was terribly sad to miss them play The Echo last week. I only justified my absence with the thought of seeing them play multiple times at SXSW.

where to see them:


9. Twin Atlantic

They’re from Scotland and they’ve opened for Biffy Clyro. What more do I need? Oh, I also am loving this tune…

where to see them:

ALSO: Weds 4pm at The PureVolume House (504 Trinity St)


10.Mother Mother

A band from Canada that I fell in love with a couple years ago thanks to the song “Hayloft”. I keep missing them when they come through LA, so I’m not going to miss out in Austin!

where to see them:


Honestly there are SO many excellent bands I’m looking forward to seeing at SXSW…can we say “scheduling conflicts”..Here are a few more (still not even half of what’s on my list)

We Barbarians
Fitz & The Tantrums
Hoots & Hellmouth
Joey Ryan
Atomic Tom
Jamestown Revival
Andy Clockwise
Chelsea Automatic
Jukebox the Ghost
The Blue Pages
The Gallery
Saint Motel
Brooke Fraser
The Stone Foxes
Allen Stone
Semi Precious Weapons
Fierce Creatures
Lelia Broussard
Nicole Atkins
Taylor Locke and The Roughs
Dan Wilson
Taddy Porter
Forrest Day
Scars on 45
Little Red Radio
Toy Bombs
Andrew Belle
The Deaf
Brett Dennen
American Bang
Ram’s Pocket Radio
Admiral Fallow
Makeshift Prodigy


We shall see how many of these bands make my final SXSW ’11 mix!

to check out last year’s mix click here

See you in Austin!


~ Kristen

Kristen’s LA Concert Calendar: 1/31-2/6

It’s been quite the week for music! Sorry I’ve been so quiet, but I’ve been busy enjoying great shows every night and I haven’t had the time to write. Some of the highlights from last week include seeing one of my fave songwriters and storytellers, Anna Nalick, watching Keaton Simons blow the roof off of The Roxy with his amazing new tunes, hanging with friends and falling in love with new bands like Armada at The Mint, getting what I hope continues to be my weekly fix of new band love Queen Caveat, and, of course, being reminded of why Nico Vega is one of the greatest bands I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching perform.

Also, this week I had the extreme pleasure of talking with one of the most exciting new bands coming out of the Philadelphia music scene, SINAI. More on my interview with them PLUS footage from the last weekend’s Philly adventure still to come…

In the meantime, amazing live musical opportunities continue to present themselves here in Los Angeles…here’s what’s on my “not to be missed” list for this week:

Monday: Songwriters in the Round at Room 5 (9pm)
ALSO: It’s a school night at Bardot featuring Tristen, Alex Luke,  and  Peter, Bjorn, and John (9pm)

Tuesday: Queen Caveat at The Viper Room (10pm)
ALSO: Patrick Park at The Hotel Cafe (10pm)
ALSO: Oh Land at The Troubadour (8pm)
ALSO: Satellite at The Roxy (8pm)
ALSO: Maniac at Crazy Girls (11:15)
ALSO: Jonathan Clark at Molly Malone’s (8pm)

Weds: Anna Nalick at The Hotel Cafe (9pm)
ALSO: Jake Newton and Satellite at Club Central in Santa Monica (9,10)
ALSO: Shawn Hlookoff and Jenni Alpert at Genghis Cohen (9pm)

Thursday: Garrison Starr, Lelia Broussard, Curtis Peoples, and The Canyons at The Hotel Cafe (8,9,10,11)
ALSO: Great Northern at The Satellite (10pm)
ALSO: War Tapes at Silverlake Lounge (10pm)
ALSO: Soraria at The Whiskey (10pm)
ALSO: We Barbarians at The Echo (10pm)
ALSO: Abbot Kinney at Molly Malone’s (10pm)

Friday: The Wood Brothers with Carsie Blanton at The Hotel Cafe (7pm)
ALSO: Oh Land at The Echo (7:30)
ALSO: Tennis at The Echo (10pm)
ALSO: First Friday at The Natural History Museum featuring Wild Nothing and Abe Vigoda (8pm)

Saturday: The Silent Comedy at The El Rey (8pm)
ALSO: Tony Lucca at The Hotel Cafe (10pm)
ALSO: Forgetters at The Echo (8pm)

Sunday: Jordan Cook and Dead Sara at The Viper Room (10,11)

To Keep in Mind:
Feb 9th: Sarah McLaughlin at Nokia Live
Feb 9th: Tina Dico at The Troubadour
Feb. 12th: Saint Motel’s Zombie Prom
Feb. 15th: Mother Mother at The Satellite
Feb 16th: Nicole Atkins at The Troubadour
Feb. 16th: Scars on 45 at The Hotel Cafe
Feb. 20th: Beth Hart at The Echoplex
Feb 26th: Josh Ritter and Scott Hutchinson (Frightened Rabbit) at The Music Box
Feb 26th: Young the Giant at The Roxy
March 1st: Biffy Clyro at The Troubadour
March 3rd: Civil Twilight at The Troubadour
March 4th: After Midnight Project at The Roxy
March 22nd: War on Drugs at The Troubadour
May: The Script at Club Nokia
September 22-24: Hotel Carolina

~ Kristen

Kristen’s Concert Calendar: 12/20-12/26

Hope everyone’s gearing up for the holidays…after the Hotel Cafe Christmas party I attended on Friday, I’m finally starting to feel the spirit of the season. Unfortunately I am WAY behind with all the practicals (preparing for holiday travel, gift manufacturing, etc.).  Doesn’t help that my new computer is just not up to snuff (I need a tech savvy robot for these things).

Usually I venture to Philadelphia for the Christmas season. There is a fantastic show that takes place on the 26th each year supported by local radio station, WMMR. This year the Mistletoe Jam features IKE, SINAI, The Shakers, Venice Sunlight, and Anthony Renzulli Band.  I wish I could be there. But instead of spending the holidays with my musical family in Philly, I am opting to see my actual family in Missouri (to the grandparent’s house I go!). Have yet to look into concerting options in the Show Me State, so if anyone reading this happens to know of any good venues or local bands in the St. Louis region, let me know!

Unlike Philly, where over the holidays everyone is in town and local bands shows are plentiful, LA seems to disappear and shows become scarce. Still, here’s what I found:

Monday: Agent Ribbons at Bootleg Theater (midnight)
ALSO: Songwriters in the Round at Room 5 (9pm)
ALSO: It’s a School Night at Bardot featuring Midnight Magic (10pm)

Tuesday: Watkins Family Christmas show at Largo (9pm)
ALSO: Dead Country at Silverlake Lounge (11pm)
ASO: Amber Rubarth at Room 5 (9pm)

Weds: Jenni Alpert at Room 5 (7pm)

Thursday: last minute Christmas shopping

Friday: frantically processing my holiday presents

SaturdayMerry Christmas!

Sunday: recuperating from all that holiday cheer…

To Keep in Mind:

January 7th: Scarlet Grey at The Roxy
January 9th: Bonnie Dune at The Roxy
January 20th: Charlotte Martin at Bootleg
January 20th: Nikka Costa at The Roxy
January 22nd: Guster at The Music Box
January 28th: Free Energy at The Roxy
Feb 9th: Sarah McLaughlin at Nokia Live
Feb 9th: Tina Dico at The Troubadour
Feb 16th: Nicole Atkins at The Troubadour
Feb 26th: Josh Ritter and Scott Hutchinson (Frightened Rabbit) at The Music Box
March 1st: Biffy Clyro at The Troubadour

~ Kristen

What I am Thankful For…

Why MUSIC of course. Music of all shapes and sizes…but mostly music that moves me in its live format. I am also thankful for all those people in my life that have a similar appreciation for music…or that simply indulge me in my obsession by accompanying me to shows.

I am thankful to be living in Los Angeles, a city that has so much to offer music-wise. I can’t imagine going back to living a life in which there weren’t opportunities for fantastic live music every night of the week.

Although, I am spending the holiday in LA…working, Thanksgiving is a time to be thinking about home. I do really wish I could be in Philadelphia this weekend. Last night was WMMR’s Gobblaroo featuring a couple fantastic LA-based bands with Philly roots (The Shakers, Fat City Reprise) as well as Stonethrown, and the debut of Philly’s hottest new band, SINAI. I wish I could have been there…if you were, I’d appreciate reviews. Also, tomorrow night at The Grape Room marks the return of The Awesome Brothers, a collaboration of some of my favorite musicians gathering together to play some of their favorite songs. Musical bliss for sure. If you’re in town, don’t’ miss it!

Happy Thanksgiving to my music-loving family (both near and far)!

~ Kristen

And on that note, I leave you with the song that’s been playing on repeat in my head all day. Jonathan Singleton’s “Airplanes.” I would like to take this moment to point out that I DO like some country music…and that I wish that Jonathan would venture back to LA…and bring The Grove with him this time.