Category: Festivals

Eagle Rock music fest lineups announced: Flying Lotus and more

  Flying lotus

This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

Purveyors of the Eagle Rock Music Festival are quick to remind us that as even when summer's over, there's always room for a sweaty afternoon of cultural cramming in one of L.A.'s many artistic enclaves. Now in its 13th year, the festival's weekend convergence of underground sounds, foodie madness and family fun still proves potent with a sprawling lineup that bounces from laptop beats to zydeco.

Co-produced by Center for the Arts Eagle Rock and the office of L.A. City Councilman José Huizar, the daylong festival descends on its namesake city on Oct. 1 from 4-11 p.m. with 11 stages and more than 65 acts, including Flying Lotus, Mia Doi Todd and Rooney, to name a few. The fest is once again centered on Colorado Boulevard between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Angus Drive. Stages curated by Dublab, FYF Fest, Low End Theory, Kingsize Soundlabs, the Ship Studios, L.A. Record, KOXY Radio, Razorcake and Zocaloc combine to immerse Eagle Rock's downtown in sound. More local notables include the noise rock band Health and Brainfeeder beatmakers Tokimonsta and Teebs.

The Eagle Rock fest still embodies the community spirit that some local festivals (ahem, Sunset Junction) seem to have lost -- right down to the free arts and crafts demo classes and the quaint $5 suggested donation upon entry.

A dizzying full lineup of events, stages and set times can be found at the festival's official website, but here's a brief run down of what music acts you can look out for and what stages they're playing.

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Greg Anderson of Southern Lord talks Power of the Riff fest

Pelican 1

Before the Power of the Riff came along, the local L.A. metal scene was in need of a unifying festival. It was something that Sam Velde -- frontman of L.A. band Night Horse -- and Greg Anderson of Southern Lord Records knew they needed to be a part of.

Raging inside the doors of the Echo and the Echoplex, the day-long L.A. festival created a new thrash of energy among heavy music acts ranging from punk to hardcore to heavy metal when it premiered last year in L.A., San Francisco and Seattle. And despite running on corporate cash courtesy of its partnership with Converse, the celebration of amp-splitting distortion carried a spirit of DIY ethos you might find at almost any backyard metal bash -- only with bigger bands and a couple hundred more long-haired headbangers.

This year, the festival is no longer a free event, though Converse remains partly involved. However, Anderson says the 19-band line-up -- running the gamut from underground '70s icons such as Pentagram to the modern-day brutality of Chicago band Pelican -- is what makes this fest worth the $30 price of admission. Add to that an underground record-swap meet, the Grill 'Em All food truck and pop-up shops curated by local indie labels.

In Anderson's view, it's a chance to provide both a memorable show and an appreciation to the community it serves. Judging by the festival's expansion this year -- with extended two-day line-ups in San Francisco and Seattle -- the Power of the Riff's format and philosophy have served as an example to like-minded metal fests in the U.S. and abroad. Pop & Hiss recently caught up with Anderson, who let us in on why paying to see the Power of the Riff ensures the long-term power of the people in the L.A. metal scene.

Last year's Power of the Riff was free due to corporate sponsorship from Converse and Scion. What changed this year?

It was kind of a unique situation [last year], where we got corporate sponsorship. Sam [Velde] had a friend at Converse that was really into what we were doing and wanted to meet with us about it. So we met with him and he said, "This idea is great, but I’d like it to be free." So he put up the money in order to make it a free event. This year, we didn’t really have that luxury. Converse is involved a bit, but it was the same old story, that their budgets just weren’t there for promotion like they were last year, so we weren’t able to make it a free event.

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King Fantastic talks about the origins of electro-infused beach bum gangster rap

King Fantastic performed Saturday at Audiotistic 

Those who think L.A.'s recent proliferation of Day-Glo T-shirts and skinny jeans signifies the death of West Coast gangsta rap might want to introduce themselves to King Fantastic's gritty squall of bass and attitude.

The partnership consists of rapper Killer Reese One of hip-hop group Bleu Collar and producer Troublemaker of electro outfit Rad Omen. Eclectic and menacing, the group's big beat vitriol was born in Venice Beach and Playa del Rey in 2010, perhaps a surprise to those used to name checking Compton, Oakland and Long Beach in their hip-hop history discussions. But if the tracks from their 2010 debut,  "Finger Snaps and Gun Claps," or their forthcoming EP, "Death of Summer," tell us anything, it's that King Fantastic proudly represents its ZIP Code.

Since blasting its way onto the underground hip-hop circuit last year, King Fantastic has specialized in  sweat-soaked performances and remixes using a myriad of artists -- Bassnectar, the Bird and the Bee and Linkin Park among them. Last weekend, the duo rolled into San Bernardino for this year's electro-inspired Audiotistic festival in San Bernardino. Pop & Hiss caught up with the group prior to Audiotistic to talk about the origin of the music it succinctly describes as "Westcoastsynthesizerbeachbumgangstermusic."

Before King Fantastic, one of you was known primarily for underground rap (Reese), the other for electro-based music (Troublemaker). Even though it incorporates both genres, your music has a distinct gangsta rap feel to it. Was that something you both wanted from the beginning?

Troublemaker: When I heard Reese rap for the first time, I knew he would sound good over the music that I was making. There’s rappers that I entertained the thought of working with, but they could never see where I was coming from. The scene I came out of was more drum and bass and underground hip-hop, which Reese was also a part of with Bleu Collar. We’re also influenced by Ice-T and DJ Quik, who have synth music in their tracks. We had an understanding of where each other came from and saw that our ideas could work together.

Killer Reese One: At the time we started the group, I wasn’t even gonna do music anymore, because it had gotten so boring, and you start to get trapped in the same old scene. Then I listened to Troublemaker’s stuff, and it sounds like gangsta rap. You might call it drum and bass or whatever, but it sounds like Ice-T to me. I’m not a real bluesy type of rapper; my beats have to come a lot harder. Troublemaker’s beats are super bass-heavy and gangster without even a word recorded on it.

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Insomniac's Audiotistic festival: EDC promoter delivers the bass

Audiotistic goes off without a hitch
Wading neck-deep among sweat-lodged Diplo fans never seemed so calm. It was almost surreal, given the blasts of bass and laser lights that engulfed the populace inside the main stage, dubbed Treble Frequency, at the height of San Bernardino’s Audiotistic electronic music festival this weekend. But in the grips of big beat Armageddon, the threat of being thrashed around like a rag doll was the last thing ruminating in the minds of fist-pumping fans.

As the sound raged, two bikini-clad women in fox-colored spirit animal hoodies ducked in the middle of the herd to absorb a swirl of neon lights on the fingertips of a fellow raver, unafraid of being trampled by anything except sensory overload. Aboveground, Diplo’s squinted eyes surveyed the crowd as he smirked and cranked up the dials.

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San Diego’s Johnny Rad Fest returns for its fourth year

Johnny Rad Fest 
In the last decade, garage rock festivals have blossomed across the U.S. like unruly weeds from a cracked sidewalk. Dedicated to spreading the gospel of the raw and hedonistic rock 'n’ roll exemplified by acts such as Nobunny, the Black Lips and the late Jay Reatard, Portland, Ore.’s Slabtown Bender, San Francisco’s Total Trash Fest, Memphis, Tenn.'s Gonerfest and Atlanta’s Mess-Around staked claims for their respective regions. That may be well and good, but what’s a Southern Californian to do when seeking out a beer-soaked, blown-out weekend of rock 'n’ roll?

The brightest hope is San Diego’s three-night Johnny Rad Fest, which returns for its fourth year this weekend. The diverse, all-star lineup includes costumed keyboard punks the Spits, Indiana’s garage pop Half Rats, the vocal-driven Shannon and the Clams, psych-leaning hard rock from one-time Reatard Ryan Wong’s Tokyo Electron, and legendary garage rock icon and founding member of the Oblivians Greg Cartwright with his soulful Reigning Sound.

Indiana transplant and Lurkville skateboard entrepreneur Tyrone Taylor started the festival in 2008, when he realized he wasn’t going to be able to make it to that year’s Gonerfest. “It was kind of far away,” he said in an interview Monday. “There were a lot of bands playing I wanted to see that weren’t really local California bands.” Rad Fest, as it is affectionately known to regulars, was intended to correct that omission –- and hopefully enrich San Diego’s anemic garage music scene.

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Rock the Bells, House of Blues announce concert, theater series

Mobb deep to perform full album on Rock the Bells tour

With the recent partnership between hip-hop omni-brand Guerilla Union and House of Blues announced this week, fans of marquee rappers of the '90s are being promised a hybrid of big ticket concerts in both festival and concert form. As Guerilla Union’s annual Rock the Bells festival prepares to hit San Bernardino on Aug. 20, the companies Tuesday announced their first joint venture: The Rock the Bells Presents Concert and Theater series.

The string of live showcases at House of Blues venues around the country will feature artists from the festival performing iconic albums in their entirety. The North American tour kicks off in the middle of August with Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon and Ghostface Killah reproducing the seminal album “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx” alongside fellow East Coast artists Mobb Deep performing their 1995 classic, “The Infamous.”

In September, the reunited duo Black Star (featuring Mos Def and Talib Kweli) begins its month-long run of full-album shows, hitting the road with its critically acclaimed “Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star.” 

Tickets for the August shows are currently on sale, while the September Black Star shows go on sale Friday.

Unfortunately, it seems that most of the concert madness won’t be swinging directly into L.A. In California, both rounds of shows in August and September are only happening at the San Diego House of Blues. Check below for a full list of dates

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iHeartRadio Music Festival sells out in 10 minutes

Janes_addictionWith an impressive lineup and promises of being both "the biggest live music event in radio history" and a "once-in-a-generation gathering of artists," it wasn't a surprise that the recently announced iHeartRadio Music Festival quickly sold out when tickets went on sale Saturday.

Tickets for the inaugural two-day concert, taking place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sept. 23 and 24, were gone a mere 10 minutes after going on sale.

The who’s who among the Top 40 lineup includes Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, Kelly Clarkson, the Black Eyed Peas, John Mayer, Jane's Addiction, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, David Guetta, Sublime with Rome and special guest performances by Sting and Usher.

Both nights combined are expected to attract more than 25,000 attendees, according to a festival representative.

Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the festival supports the launch of the iHeartRadio app, which allows users streaming access to radio programming. Each of the performances will stream live online, on mobile devices and through select radio station websites.

More performers are expected to be added to the bill.


Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, Sting tapped for iHeartRadio Music Festival

Essence Music Festival: Acts new and old keep the Superdome shaking; attendance tops 422,000

OneRepublic, Miranda Cosgrove, Earth, Wind & Fire tapped for L.A. County Fair concert series

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Perry Farrell of the band Jane's Addiction performs at the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest on Saturday, July 16, 2011. Jane's Addiction is slated to perform at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. Credit: Patrick Doyle /The Canadian Press Images

Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, Sting tapped for iHeartRadio Music Festival

Billed as "the biggest live music event in radio history," the two-day festival, set for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in September, also features Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj and Kelly Clarkson.


Though summer has already had its fair share of big-ticket, multiday festivals, Clear Channel is kicking off fall with what it's billing as "the biggest live music event in radio history."

The radio conglomerate on Monday announced the lineup for the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Festival, and the roster for the two-day festival, set for Sept. 23 and 24 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, is quite the who’s who among Top 40.

Night 1 features performances by Coldplay, Alicia Keys, the Black Eyed Peas, John Mayer, Carrie Underwood, Bruno Mars and Jane's Addiction. While Night 2 has Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Kenny Chesney, Nicki Minaj, Rascal Flatts, Kelly Clarkson, David Guetta, Sublime with Rome and special guest performances by Sting and Usher.

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OneRepublic, Miranda Cosgrove, Earth, Wind & Fire tapped for L.A. County Fair concert series

Ryan_tedder OneRepublic, “iCarly’s” Miranda Cosgrove, Salt-N-Pepa and Earth, Wind & Fire are among the headliners tapped for the L.A. County Fair’s End of Summer Concert Series.

The line-up of concerts and live entertainment -- there is a monster truck rally, motorcross competition and demolition derby for those wanting to skip the music -– begins on the first night of the fair, Sept. 3, with a night of funk/soul throwbacks courtesy of the Ohio Players, Rose Royce and Lakeside and concludes Oct. 2 with Earth, Wind & Fire.

Also scheduled to appear: “American Idol” contestant Kellie Pickler, En Vogue, REO Speedwagon, Michael McDonald and the Beach Boys.

There is a limited amount of free general admission seating for each of the concerts.
Reserved seating is available from $18.50 to $125 -- concert tickets, however, don’t include admission to the fair.

Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster and go on sale Sunday at 10 a.m.

Check out the full line-up after the jump:

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Essence Music Festival: Acts new and old keep the Superdome shaking; attendance tops 422,000


Halfway through Mary J. Blige’s closing set at the Essence Music Festival on Sunday night the singer dived into an emotional address to the audience that aptly summed up what the nation’s largest R&B and hip-hop festival, at it’s core, stands for. 

“Thank you for supporting me when no one else did … for having faith in me … for buying my records when nobody cared,” she said as her eyes seemed to brim with tears. 

Blige has logged performances at more than half of the festival’s 17 incarnations, but Sunday’s slot marked the first time she closed. It was a moment she reveled in, and a testament to the fact that, despite enjoying a boost of mainstream pop crossover success in the latter bit of her storied 20-year career, only a festival as focused as Essence could be the place that embraced her narrative -- especially when it was long enveloped in pain and self-loathing. 

Sunday’s attendance at the Superdome was easily the highest of the weekend, but it was Blige’s outpouring of emotion to the audience, and not festival numbers, that wholly characterized the success of the festival.

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