Austin City Limits (2009) Day 2 Photos and Review!

7 10 2009

WORDS: Q. Manning

You’d be hard-pressed to imagine a way that Day Two of ACL Fest could have been different from Day One. Whereas the day before had everyone putting on sunblock and buying cowboy hats/sunglasses (I know I had to), Day Two created an ocean of umbrellas and ponchos.

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After the first day, I thought I had a pretty good handle on the supplies necessary to brave ACL Fest. I headed to Wal-Mart at 5:30am and grabbed a new backpack, hand sanitizer, Febreeze, gum, band-aids for my newly acquired blisters and everything else I could think of. I was pretty damn proud of my ability to plan and off we headed to the festival.

But all my planning was for naught, as I forgot the one thing needed most: the poncho. We waked our way to the festival, or in my case, hobbled my way, and as we crossed the Colorado River/Ladybird Lake, all you could see on both sides were rain clouds and drizzling. But we had hope things would let up, and onward we soldiered.

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We started the festival with an interview with the Suckers, a progressive rock-band based out of Brooklyn, New York who played 2009 SXSW here in Austin. The band only has out a single EP of 4 songs, but is currently in the studio finishing up some new material for a full LP release, but more on that during Sunday’s coverage when the band plays.

After the interview, the rain let up and we were able to get out to the Grizzly Bear show at the Dell stage. The crowd was excited with seeing the band away from the bad weather as the sun had finally started to peak its way through the thick quilt of clouds. Grizzly Bear played a solid set, being forced a little back from the front of the stage due to the rain. Grizzly Bear played SXSW already and apparently rocked the house, but this time around, some of the pure musicianship from the album just didn’t translate. Maybe it was the potential of rain or maybe it was the open-air format, but when the mud settled, it felt like some of their magic was lost.

Grizzly Bear

By this time, the sun had come out and we were thinking today would end up being great. The rain wasn’t too bad to have destroyed the landscape and Paul and I were both comfortable taking photos and not being worried about our equipment getting destroyed. Flogging Molly was the next stop for us and the energy and anticipation of the crowd made the air crackle. Or that’s what I thought it was, because about 5 minutes before the band started, the rain went from a drizzle to a torrent and we just couldn’t risk the equipment.

To the chagrin of all in attendance, we had to push our way back out of the crowd and stand on the edge of everything where the band did their thing. From the first note, the crowd was going and many folks there were warning people to go ahead and put their umbrellas away because once the pit started, all rules were off. Big words, but the actions didn’t quite match. Even the diehard who were willing to let the music move them found their spirits a little soggy. But the band never let up, probably because they’re used to this sort of weather in their native Ireland.

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We headed back to the Press area to escape the rain and hopefully wait things out. Luckily for us, a media outlet didn’t show up and their tent was available for some of us to hang out in. After about an hour we checked the weather and it just wasn’t going to let up for the rest of the day, so we made the call to leave for the day and see how things would be the next day. For my purposes, I could watch coverage on Hulu and see some of the bands we wanted to cover. Unfortunately for Paul, photos of his computer screen don’t have quite the same impact.

As for the bands later that night, only Ghostland Observatory was being broadcast on Hulu. Watching the show online was a much lesser experience, but some of GO’s patented badassery still came through. Austin music fans have no doubt seen this distinct duo, but it was nice to think of all the exposure the band would get from Hulu and ACL itself. Electronica fans know who they are, but what about fans of Pearl Jam or Flogging Molly? Now they’d get a chance and Ghostland didn’t let Austin down. Frontman Aaron Behren stalked around the stage like a pro, his high pitched, Freddie Mercury-laden voice echoing throughout the park.

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Right before I hopped into the shower to wash off the funk of the day, Paul told me he had a 103 degree fever and wouldn’t be able to shoot on Day Three. Now I was going to be writing and photo-documenting the event.

All I could hope for was a better climate than Saturday, otherwise, things were going to get really tricky, really fast.




Austin City Limits (2009) Day 1 Photos and Review!

6 10 2009

WORDS: Q. Manning

Day One of ACL was about as picturesque as you could imagine. The sun was out, the grass was lush and the party had started, because, when you get down to it, that’s all any music festival really is. Great food, music, a sea of cowboy hats and and scantily clad genders of your choice.

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We arrived at the festival a little later than we’d planned, not accounting for the massive amounts of traffic in downtown Austin. We hopped on the shuttles and arrived at Zilker Park just in time to head over to the Austin Ventures stage to see The Parlor Mob tear up the stage. I’m a fan of 70’s style rock and these guys brought it. From the wailing vocals to the pounding, tribal drumming, these guys at times invoked the very essence of Led Zeppelin but infused with a modern rock sensibility. I walked away from the set a fan.

The Parlor Mob

Next up we headed over to The Walkmen at the XBOX360 stage. Braving the Austin sun with collared shirts and slacks, the band opened up with a greeting of “Hello music lovers!” and proceeded to infuse the festival with some much needed folk-inspired indie rock. Frontman Paul Maroon may look like Captain America but his voice is a little bit Bob Dylan meets Black Francis with the phrasings of Jeff Tweedy. Their music was infectious, rousing the crowd, and all that was compounded when the guys brought a great horn section to come out and accompany them. Like with The Parlor Mob, the sound wasn’t anything new, but it was definitely something I enjoyed.

The Walkmen

Phoenix was one of the bands everyone in the festival had been buzzing about and the crowd at the large AMD stage was massive, forcing me to hang back on the periphery and enjoy sitting on the soft grass. The French band brought their particular brand synth infused rock to the crowd and the attendees loved it. My exposure to the band had been limited to only their most from their last album, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” and I’ll admit to being a tad disappointed by the set. Much of the energy and style I’d heard in their studio recordings was missing, though I could see I was in the minority.


After Phoenix, we hung out waiting for John Legend to perform and the sounds of Raphael Saadiq came wafting in from the XBOX360 stage across the park. Saadiq’s music was wonderful, classic R&B with a heavy bass line and amazing horn section, he moved the crowd gathered around his stage and most of the people waiting for Legend alongside me.

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Legend started his set by moving along the walkway that bisects the crowds at the larger ACL Fest stages, telling the crowd to “Emancipate yourself!” and went into his set. Never having been a huge John Legend fan, this was my first real exposure to much of his catalog and I found the experience to be similar to what Legend wore on stage that day – safe and toothless. Even his cover of Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” was lacking in soul and emotion. When he started I wasn’t a fan and when it was all said and done, my opinion hadn’t been changed.

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But then came one of the biggest surprises of the entire ACL Fest and a band that was much anticipated: supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. I knew Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters & Nirvana fame was in the group, but I wasn’t sure to what capacity. Was he singing? Playing guitar? He was playing drums and the power everyone first heard when Nirvana hit the scene was here in spades.

Them Crooked Vultures

Even more interesting were the other members of this supergroup: Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on bass & keyboard with Queen of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme. Helping out was QOTSA guitarist Alain Johannes on guitar.

Them Crooked Vultures

If I had to compare the band to another band, I’d have to say Queens of the Stone Age, but more for their pure rocking rather than the vocals of Homme, who didn’t quite sound the way I expected, with his voice often taking on a David Byrne/Talking Heads quality. Most songs play with time signature and cadence, making most songs unpredictable. Everything seems to be driven by Grohl’s power drumming which had the crowd moving and gyrating. Coupled with Jones’ bass lines, the best description for this collection of musicians has to be “churning rock and roll.”

Them Crooked Vultures

Them Crooked Vultures are relentless and tight. Unfortunately, they don’t have an album available, meaning the great songs I heard will have to stay part of my memory rather than in my iTunes. Hopefully the guys will either get into the studio and record or release whatever they’ve done. Right now, the world needs some solid, true rock & roll.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Alas, moving over to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs after Them Crooked Vultures was a let-down. Like many people, the songs “Maps” resonated with me as just a well-crafted song. But I’d never been able to connect with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and a live performance didn’t change that. The vocals for lead singer Karen O needed to be cranked. This is odd considering the subdued music coming from the band. Each song I kept wanting the band to bring it, but it never happened. Karen O puts on a great stage show, however, with some truly fantastic stage presence. If you went in a fan, it was probably great to hear your favorite songs live, but for someone who was wanting to be impressed, the end result was lackluster.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

And such ended the first day of ACL Fest. The sun was hot, but the situation was tolerable. Day Two, however, would be a much different story.


Fourth of July in Hermosa Beach

5 07 2009

IMG_1824Fourth of July, the day this great country we live in got it’s Independence on. But for many Southern Californians, including myself, it’s just another excuse to get drunk and crazy on the scandalous sands of Cali. Formerly living in San Diego for some nine years, I was accustomed to probably the craziest Fourth of July’s this great nation has to offer: PB (Pacific Beach). And this was back in the day when drinking on the beach wasn’t illegal! Now that I live in LA I got to experience the Fourth of July in Hermosa Beach which I was told is equally fun and just as crazy. Although I had an amazing time that went a bit blurry after sundown, nothing beats the madness in PB. After starting the morning right with some tasty Clamato Marys we then cabbed it to Hermosa and engaged in some drunken festivities at Hennesy’s, the Poop Deck and some house party on the strand. Shit was poppin’ and way too much fun! I didnt’ even let the flurry of douche bags and bros bother me too much. Needless to say it was a stellar day and for some unknown reason I just can’t seem to get the song “Mr. Wendell” out of my head. Hmmm . . .

Check out some photos of the debauchery here.

TransWorld Skateboarding Awards Photos

15 06 2009
What really goes on in the ladies bathroom . . .

What really goes on in the ladies bathroom . . .

The TransWorld Skateboarding Awards hit the Avalon in Hollywood this past Friday, June 12, 2009 and what an event it was! The theater was packed with sweaty skate enthusiasts of all kinds just waiting to hear the winners, as well as the premiere of “Right Foot Forward.”

Adding to our natural high of happiness, the cocktail waitresses were serving up the free bevies in the New Era VIP balcony while we sweated beads. Damn that spot was crowded! Shit was so hot I opted to chill in the foyer a couple times. The premiere of “Right Foot Forward” was tight! Matt Beach killed! The crowd went wild after he closed his part with a silly-smooth, yet bad ass stunt. Watch the vid and you’ll see what I mean.

Following the vid, Osiris sponsored an eventful afterparty upstairs in the Spider Club. Free drinks, bands, DJ’s, and fun, friendly people all around. Although there were some hot ladies in the house, and of course your token porn stars (Alektra Blue and Mikayla Mendez presented awards), the ratio (like all skate events) was dominated by males; I’d guess about 70/30. Good for the girls, bad for the boys (I wasn’t complaining). Always great to run into all my North County/SD boys, love em! I was also stoked to run into my buddy Mario, the amazing drummer for the kick ass loudest psychedelic rock band in San Diego, Earthless! Apparently he can also lay down some pretty sweet soul rockin’ garage tracks as a DJ! Word.

We then afterpartied it up for a bit at the infamous Hotel Roosevelt where we ran into the super tall, Russel Brand—the cheezy rocker dude from “Forgetting About Sara Marshall.” That guy is great! Too bad the rest of the Roosevelt is usually saturated with LA douchebag actors, stanky reality TV peeps and lots of ridiculous sluts. We bounced back to the Renaissance and engaged in some SLEEP.

Peep some photos of the night here.

And the winners are:

Sean Malto

Heath Kirchart

Alien Workshop

Mind Field, Alien Workshop

Peter Hewitt

Anthony Van Engelen, Mind Field

Chris Cole

Christian Hosoi

94/9 Independence Jam Photos

9 06 2009

94.9-Indy-Jam09 062This past Sunday’s 94/9 Independence Jam, proved all the more reason why California (So Cal in particular)is hands down the best place to live! The weather was perfect, sun was shining and the vast Pacific blue was directly behind us as we rocked out to The Creepy Creeps, Scarlet Symphony, Metric, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Black Keys. The Oceanside Pier Plaza is the best location I’ve ever been to, can’t beat a vivid sunset along the ocean to the tune of some of your favorite musicians. I only hope we can expect more summer shows there after this awesome venue.

Considering I was back in my old hood, I knew right off the bat I was gonna have an epic time with all my North County homies (good to see all of you). Not to mention three of my favorite bands were playing! After pre-partying at the FireWater then cruising on our bikes to the show, it was all smiles after that. Miller Lite kept our buzz jumpin’, and all the bands playing kept our bodies shaking.

  • The Creepy Creeps – Came in for their last song but these guys rock that surf-garage-punk fo show! You can always count on their on-stage Go Go dancers for some eye candy. By far Creepy Creeps are one of San Diegos’ finest.
  • Metric –   A lot of  the tracks off of “Fantasies” being played here, so the tone was a bit more mellow than past Metric sets. But we sure did dance our lil tushies off once “Combat Baby” came on!
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – By far the best performance (along side my beloved Black Keys)! Karen O’ is just the ultimate female rocker, with her original style and zest. Her sexy howls make every man wish a certain part of their bodies were her mic. “Zero” and “Honey Bear” were of most memorable moments for me—I was later labeled as: “you’re the dancer in the lil white dress!” It was one of those dancing days for me.
  • The Black Keys – A beardless Dan Auerbach rocked his guitar so hard that he blew through a few amps: “We’re having some technical difficulties here, as always.” Drummer Pat had my buddy Albert in awe of his stealth skills. The boys jammed the night away to a LOUD fuzzy set rocking the faces off of everyone! Always coming through, always the best, and always making me smile and glow—Gratzi.

Check out the Photo Galleries page for some pics and video of the event.

Black Lips at Glass House in Pomona, Calif. May 2, 2009

3 05 2009

Not even 24 hours on first-time American soil, I welcome my cousin, quite the cute Peruvian import, to the good ole US of A with a crazy Black Lips show.

Thanks to my boys at the Glass House, we had a blast! Although the venue wasn’t sold out, it was a solid crowd. My cousin was in awe of the rockin’ madness: kids crowd surfing, stage diving, girls rushing the stage and kissing the band, and nerds cuttin’ loose, it was a sight to see. This show was much more mayhem than the previous. Might have been due in part to an audience where 80 percent were under the age of 21.

After a great set and a couple encores we headed to the Glass House bar and engaged in some stiff cocktails and fun conversations. My cousin couldn’t understand why Ian Saint Pé, the guitarist of the Lips, was sporting metal on his teeth (a grill). Being that we were partying with the Lips, Ian gladly explained his grill (and much more) to us.

“Where I come from (New Orleans) lots of kids wear grills. It’s like having $2,000 in your mouth, very uncomfortable,” he shared. “I do it cause I’m crazy like that. We’re all crazy like that.”

He then pulls the grill off his teeth where my cousin screeched in amazement! Keep in mind, this was her first day in the states, coming from Peru and speaking very little English.

All in all it was a great night. Ian is a total sweet heart and kept us laughing with his words. My Glass House boys are always a good time and candy to my eyes. Thanks boys! Xo

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26 04 2009

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