When this world, this country we live in is going bat shit crazy, and it’s always going bat shit crazy, laughter is always the best medicine to balance it all out. It’s easy to throw on a TV show for comedic relief, but more and more people are getting their asses off the couch and making it down to their local comedy club. A good thing. Tonight is one occasion to make it out in Los Angeles on a Tuesday: Mike E. Winfield at Laugh Factory in Hollywood.
Capsula from Buenos Aires have become quite the regulars at SXSW, performing from 2008 to 2014, and now again in 2016. The band has their 11th album on the way this year, Santa Rosa.
Bleached may call Los Angeles home, but it doesn’t look like the four-piece will be spending much time in the sunny city in 2016. Jennifer Clavin (vocals, guitar), Jessica Clavin (guitar), Marc Jordan (drums) and Micayla Grace (bass), recently announced a new U.S. tour that starts on the west coast after SXSW and moves east, ending back in their home town on May 5 at the Telegram Ballroom.
Now seasoned veterans of SXSW, Sheffield’s The Crookes return to Austin with treasures in tow: ten brand new tracks that make up their 2016 full-length album, Lucky Ones, which follows Dreams of Another Day EP, released when the band first appeared at SXSW in 2010, Chasing After Ghosts (2011), Hold Fast (2012), and Soapbox (2014).
Telegram - comprised of singer Matt Saunders, bassist Oli Paget-Moon, drummer Jordan Cook, and guitarist Matt Wood - hails from London, having played together since 2013. That year BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley’s debuted their first single, “Follow,” which quickly catapulted their sound and fan desire.
I couldn't help but notice the focus of a recent article in Quartz, (“Music festivals are making more money by ditching cash,” December 1, 2015) was on how festivals are embracing cashless payment systems. Really? That unto itself is not necessarily news, as cashless payment systems are not a new, twinkle in the eye technology.
What stands out is that the case study referenced was the Clockenflap Music Festival - in Hong Kong. The actual news is the continuing adoption of cashless, not only in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, but in Asia.
In years past RFID systems were put in place to manage more streamlined access control, while some festivals, even the larger ones, put cashless into the ‘maybe someday’ category. At the same time, numerous festivals have implemented the technology with great success.
So that ‘someday’ has arrived. Fear of adoption will continue to plague festival promoters through a loss of competitive edge. There’s a way to overcome this. Festival leaders have opportunities to go into potential implementations with a clear idea of how these technologies work and better predict the outcome by learning from others who’ve walked the walk.
This month in San Diego, event technology companies, festival organizers, promoters, and thought leaders will gather at the annual International Music Festival Conference (IMFCON) + International Film Festival Summit (IFFS) to discuss how far festival operations, in all its facets, has come and what’s in store for the 2016 season (and beyond).
The three-day conference will dive into both film and music festivals, looking at trends and advancements in each industry, including the evolution of programming, operations, and attendee engagement (“Reviewing the Modern Film Festival: Current and Future Possibilities,” featuring Steven Gaydos VP and Executive Editor, Variety, and Colin Stanfield, Festival Producer, New York Film Festival).
Taking a look back at last this past year's festival season, “The Golden Age of Festivals” has Andy Hermann, Music Editor for LA Weekly, asking panelists Branden Chapman, The Recording Academy; Tom Russell, Founders Entertainment; and Simon Rust Lamb, Former COO & General Counsel for Insomniac, about the potential for a festival bubble to burst, when competition shows up in your backyard unexpectedly, and how they’re preparing for festival season 2016.
“Making Waves: Innovative Revenue Models for Music Festivals” will most likely include a conversation on cashless payment systems (Jeff, will you guys give Intellitix the green light to take Bonnaroo cashless in 2016?), along with how ticketing, social media, and fan engagement has evolved to drive an increase in sales.
Tapping into ways festivals can expand their brand’s reach beyond the people in attendance, “Creating Your Festival Channel: Technology, Strategy and More” will dive into how streaming, video, radio and social channels bring a larger audience into the live event experience. Google will join in along with SFX, Goldenvoice, Open Garden, and Bulldog Digital Media, who will moderate the conversation. Potential questions may include: How have these activations and tactics proven to drive the following year’s ticket sales, with the proverbial fan FOMO being played to their advantage? How can these pieces of content be repurposed throughout the year’s marketing and sales efforts?
I expect other topics of discussion will arise, but with a slightly more elevated take than last year’s IMFCON, as experiences and intelligence is shared:
How can we operate Health & Safety better?
How will climate change shift current emergency response practices and will next-generation technology solutions help to avoid problems that plagued the 2015 season?
When will the U.S. be able to go beyond the tabu of drug testing and embrace the benefits of this practice as their festival counterparts in the U.K. and Europe have done?
What festivals are increasing their use of iBeacons, notifications, geofencing, and evolved social media tools, and what was the outcome from this past year? What’s the potential for 2016?
Where are networking technologies like mesh and mobile-to-mobile platforms headed?
How will convergence of film, comedy, music, food & wine impact festival programming as fans increase their desire for diversified experiences?
What part does small to mid-sized and niche festivals play in the industry and what are the operational benefits and challenges?
How will the evolution of VR play a part in the real-time and post festival experience for the fan?
How will M&A continue to impact the festival space, both on the promoter and the technology side?
When is happy hour?!
Many questions. No doubt, many answers will be taken away from this year’s IMFCON-IFFS.
And along with the panels are the numerous and unique opportunities to connect face-to-face with new and old acquaintances alike, sparked opportunities for business partnerships, and chances to pluck knowledge nuggets and that could potentially make a huge difference in this coming festival season.
See you there!
If you’ve been dismayed by the dirge of electronic music that’s liken to a root canal without anesthetic, Slow Magic brings instant relief with sounds of joy, of a fantasy trip through the enchanted kingdom, as if he tapped psychically into your happiest memories and put them to song.
That first experience of seeing Slow Magic a few years back at Larimer Lounge was just more expansive this past year when he opened for Hot Chip at the Ogden. The crowd was already all smiles and giddy, knowing what was in store for all of us that night. The Wolfe in dance clothing kicked things into high gear with tracks from this year’s stunning album, How To Run Away, a perfect soundtrack for escapism and inspiration.
The kids went nuts for one of the fav singles, “Girls,” pulsing and prancing from the top of your head down to the money maker. “Hold Still” simmers and flows with introspection, like a solo walk in the rain in the low light of dusk, and midway through and many miles later, you reach a peak to see the sun rising ever so softly as you’re serenaded..”hold still…hold still…”
“Still Life” enters the eardrums with a simple yet poignant piano line, emerging and twisting into a jazz licked melody, with a bit of 70s soul layered atop chattering drums and rhythms.
With 2012’s Triangle and now How To Run Away, the masked music maker is clearly focused on creating electronic music that’s an expression of our most human elements. Whether he’s in a small club in Denver or the Ukraine, or a larger venue with thousands, he always brings that magic to the stage to complete the circle as people dance, bounce and sweat with glee.
See Slow Magic tonight at the Gothic with his tour mates Giraffage and Lindsay Lowend.
DEC 03, 2015 - DENVER, CO - GOTHIC THEATRE
DEC 04, 2015 - SALT LAKE CITY, UT - URBAN LOUNGE
DEC 05, 2015 - BOISE, ID - KNITTING FACTORY
DEC 08, 2015 - BELLINGHAM, WA - WILD BUFFALO
DEC 09, 2015 - VANCOUVER, BC - FORTUNE
DEC 10, 2015 - VICTORIA, BC - DISTRIKT
DEC 11, 2015 - SEATTLE, WA - SHOWBOX
DEC 12, 2015 - PORTLAND, OR - WONDER BALLROOM
DEC 13, 2015 - EUGENE, OR - HI-FI
DEC 16, 2015 - ARCATA, CA - ARCATA THEATRE
DEC 17, 2015 - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - REGENCY
DEC 18, 2015 - LOS ANGELES, CA - FONDA
DEC 19, 2015 - SANTA ANA, CA - OBSERVATORY
DEC 20, 2015 - SAN DIEGO, CA - OBSERVATORY NORTH PARK
JAN 3 - JAN 6, 2016 MIAMI, FL - HOLY SHIP
Culture Collide continues tonight in Echo Park with another stellar line up taking place in SIX venues. First things first is the revised set times for Echo Park Methodist Church:
6PM - Maya Johanna | מיה יוהנה
6:45PM - Panda Elliot
7:30PM - NGAIIRE
8:15PM - Cristina Valentina
9:00PM - Balthazar
10:00PM - The Album Leaf
Tickets are available here.
Here's our picks for tonight:
Grounders - 6:30pm TAIX
Gounders, a lovely four-piece goes perfectly with the dog days of summer that in Southern California fashion, is dripping ever so warmly into our fall days in October. Releasing their self-titled debut in spring of this year and have been running full steam ever since, showcasing at SXSW, summer festivals, and now Culture Collide this weekend. They'll stay on tour to play Moe's Bar-B-Que on October 11 before showcasing at CMJ.
Panda Elliot - 7:30pm Echo Park Methodist Church
Touring here from Argentina, Panda Elliot mixes a cocktail of underground club alt rock, indie dance, and Latin jazz soundscapes with a modern twist. Her love for the dark are lovely come through bright and fresh on her cover of The Cure's "Love Song," and then easilly bounces over to acoustic a capella in the recently posted "Velociraptor" recorded live in Jacksonville during their current tour.
Balthazar - 9pm Echo Park Methodist Church
To say I'm ecstatic to finally catch Belgium's Balthazar would be a huge understatement. Having been a full fan status since 2010's Applause, the same year of their supreme performances during SXSW, I couldn't get enough of how Balthazar continued to stretching their musical limbs to the height of a Cirque de Soilie performer, twirly 50 feet above the crowd in breathtaking grace and glory. “Any Suggestion” on Rats, the second album that appeared two years later, goes well with a whiskey neat whilst sitting next to Tom Waits at the neighborhood dive bar. "Nightclub" strums along with dirgy determination, one of the singles from the newest album, Thin Walls, and "Bunker" comes 'round for the latenight walk home, hoody covering your head in the misty moonlit air.
Album Leaf - 10:30pm Echo Park Methodist Church
Album Leaf is another band I have yet to see live since 2010, the year I chatted with Jimmy LaValle after he'd moved to Santa Cruz during his wife's graduate school education. Five years later, and Album Leaf's label Sub Pop is in reissue mode of In A Safe Place, out of print since 2007, and will include a black and limited edition colored vinyl of "Loser." In addition to Culture Collide this evening, Album Leaf is set to perform said album in its entirety at at All Tomorrow’s Parties “Nightmare Before Christmas” and then again at Prestatyn Holiday Centre, North Wales, UK, November 27th-29th.
Full Culture Collide Schedule for Friday, October 9 - tickets are available here.
“This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts.” Faithless nailed it on the head when they coined this lyric. It’s a belief many of us take to heart when we’re on that dance floor, feeling the music wash over us like flowing baptismal water, cleaning way the debris of the day. This ethos is also quite fitting for Tchami. When donned in his clerical collar, the Parisian DJ and producer is known to lead his congregation of dancers to the promised land of house-bass’d bliss.
In our multitasking world, music listening is typically done while we’re busy doing other things; driving, working, polishing the silver. Gone are the days of laying on the floor with our big headphones and simply listening to every note, memorizing lyrics, feeling the bridge and chorus. The musical experience performed by Cardiff’s, now Los Angeles, Until the Ribbon Breaks causes one to pull off the road, to stop, lay and listen to the gorgeously orchestrated, multi-faceted A Lesson Unlearnt.