Category: Skrillex

Nicki Minaj, Glen Campbell, Wilco among L.A.'s top summer concerts

Southern California’s summer pop music calendar includes Hard Summer, Make Music Pasadena and Rock the Bells festivals.

Images: Fiona Apple (Jack Plunkett / Associated Press) Nicki Minaj (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times); Maxwell (Sean Gardner / Getty Images)
Nicki Minaj. Skrillex. Glen Campbell’s goodbye tour. Wilco. Some big names in pop are coming to Southern California this summer, promising a decent warm-weather season and the extension of a concert year that already has promoters singing.

Last month, promotion giant Live Nation, which also operates Ticketmaster, reported a 6% increase in ticket sales for the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period last year -- no doubt due to a spring that has seen Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, the Beach Boys and Roger Waters touring; the Beverly Hills-based company also just promoted three sold-out Coldplay shows at the Hollywood Bowl. With artists such as Justin Bieber and Madonna not making it out West until the fall, the year’s blockbuster tours would seem to conveniently miss L.A.’s summer months.

But music fans still have a lot to celebrate this summer.

The annual downtown dance event known as Hard Summer has expanded from one day to two, and the yet-to-be-announced rock-centric festival known as FYF, also downtown and produced by the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival promoter Goldenvoice, has also stretched from one to two days over Labor Day. A festival spokeswoman says to expect the lineup to be revealed by the end of this month. What’s more, the Dave Matthews Band, one of the concert industry’s biggest stars, will swing through Southern California in September.

Gary Bongiovani, editor of concert-tracking publication Pollstar, also notes that tours are maximizing value: “We’re seeing good solid three-act shows these days. One way to stand out of the fog is to combine and offer fans real value. We see Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, Wisin Y Yandel. That’s a great tri-bill. In previous years, we may not have seen that combination of talent.”

Here’s a look at just a few of the big-name acts and can’t-miss shows coming to the L.A. this summer.

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Video: Reggie Watts blames Skrillex for ruining dubstep

Reggie Watts in new Funny or Die video

In Reggie Watts' new video for Funny or Die, the musician-comedian draws blood early, when, after a quick introduction in which he announces a collaboration with Jack White, Watts declares war on dubstep producer Skrillex. "This one goes out to you, Skrillex. The one artist responsible for ruining dubstep," he says. "Here we go with a Skrillex tribute called 'Skrill the Hell Out of Here.' "

Watts, who's in the middle of a tour that hits the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood at the end of May, then begins creating an on-the-fly track using only his voice and a sampler/loop box. Starting with a sibilant high-hat, the New York-based artist moves through the sounds, building a stereotypical dubstep track. Wobbly bass lines, trippy, echoed loops, hard electo-sounding snare pops and all.

Then he starts singing/rapping to make his case: "Mr. Skrillex, I enjoyed what you did, oh yeah. I went to Burning Man four years ago, I heard a little bit of dubstep, I started moving to the groove." Watts describes how the music moved him before saying, "Now dubstep is everywhere, car commercials, Kraft products. Congratulations, Skrillex. Lick it up, get paid. I understand, it's nice to get paid. But you got to understand what you did."

After a few more choice words, Watts begins to focus on a new target: "David Guetta, where are you? David Guetta, you know what you did."

The whole clip is worth watching below. In addition to Watts' date at the Fonda on May 30, he's also coming to television: On June 8, he'll begin co-hosting a new show (with Scott Aukerman) called "Comedy Bang! Bang!" on IFC. Want more? Watch Jon Hamm and Reggie Watts build a song about the TV show "Taxi."

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Hard Summer books Skrillex, Miike Snow, Boys Noize, James Murphy

L.A.'s own Skrillex and Sweden's electro-poppers Miike Snow are among the many acts that will anchor the 2012 edition of the dance-focused Hard Summer, returning for the third year to the Los Angeles State Historic Park downtown. Reflecting the growth of electronic music and the strength of the festival market, Hard Summer will grow to two consecutive days this year, with opening night slated for Aug. 3.

Other artists set to appear at Hard Summer include Bloc Party, Boys Noize, Bloody Beetroots, Nero, James Murphy, Squarepusher and Bootsy Collins & the Funk Unity Band (full lineup below). Two-day passes are available and start at $119, not including surcharges. Last year's single-day Hard Summer was a sellout with 30,000 tickets sold.

Festival founder Gary Richards said ticket sales in 2012 are between five and 10 times greater than they were at this point last year. Capacity grew last year from about 25,000 to 30,000, and Richards did not yet have final word from the city on whether or not he could expect a similar growth this summer.

Richards said expanding to two days was a no-brainer. "It’s pretty logical to go from one day to two days," he said. "You have to build so much infrastructure –- the staging, the fencing and the power. If you put it all in there for one day, you may as well use it for another day."

It hasn't always been this easy for Richards and Hard Summer. The company is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, but just two years ago the event was caught up in the maelstrom that descended on electronic events in Los Angeles after things went haywire at 2010's Electric Daisy Carnival. Richards had hoped to stage two separate summer events at the park in 2010, but was forced to downsize to one. 

"It’s been a hot-button issue in the city for a long time," Richards acknowledged. "But I think with our operation, everyone likes working with us and we’ve come through on our end to make it as safe as can be."

The mainstream acceptance of electronic music seems to be accelerating at a rather rapid pace, thanks, in part, to Skrillex, who earned a Grammy nomination for best new artist. The recently concluded Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festivalin Indio has placed dance on equal footing with rock since the event's inception, and Swedish House Mafia was one of the mainstage headliners this year. Sunday, Coachella vet Kaskade announced he would be performing a July 27 date at Staples Center.

Despite the recent goodwill toward the electronic community, Richards isn't ready to relax. "Whenever we’re doing an event, we have to bring our A-game and everyone has to be prepared for anything that can happen," he said. "We can’t let down our guard. We don’t leave any stones unturned to try to keep this safe."  

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Skrillex releases 'Bangarang' video

Skrillex has released a new video for 'Bangarang'
If you're a menacing-looking adult and you happen to find yourself inside a Skrillex video, you can count on getting your comeuppance at the hands of some mighty disenfranchised and angry youth. In Skrillex's world — or at least in his videos — the kids are taking control.

That was the lesson of Skrillex's "First of the Year (Equinox)" clip (from the "More Monsters and Sprites EP), and it's a theme the young L.A. electronica producer returned to for the video to "Bangarang," the title track to his latest e.p. The song starts with a twitchy guitar sample and promptly dives into Skrillex's inimitable face-punching bass drops — a suitable backdrop for this tale of pre-teen delinquency.

The theme of youth empowered by crime or at least n'er-do-welling might not be much of an innovation, but Skrillex is riding high after a sweep of the major dance Grammys awards and a string of beyond-sold-out New York and Los Angeles shows, so we can't exactly blame for for sticking with what's clearly working.


Album review: Skrillex's "Bangarang"

Grammys 2012: Deadmau5 trolls Skrillex on the red carpet

Review: Skrillex at Dim Mak

—August Brown

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images For (Belvedere) RED

Grammys 2012: Deadmau5 trolls Skrillex on the red carpet

Deadmau5 wears a T-shirt with Skrillex's phone number at 2012 Grammy Awards

Electronica artist Deadmau5, who performed during the landmark dance-music collaboration with David Guetta, Chris Brown, Foo Fighters and Lil Wayne, might have started a good-natured dance-titan beef on the Grammys' red carpet.

It began when Deadmau5 arrived on the red carpet wearing (in addition to his trademark mouse helmet)  a black T-shirt with a phone number and the phrase “U mad bro?,” a popular comeback in the darker corners of Internet prankster subculture.

The phone number, with a 626 area code, apparently belongs to his fellow Grammy-nominated dance artist Skrillex. Skrillex was a good sport about it — posing with Deadmau5 and applauding his gumption on Twitter.

Skrillex shouldn't feel too bad about the joke though — he won both major dance-music Grammys for his e.p. "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites." That said, it's probably too late to call and congratulate him — the phone number’s mailbox is, naturally, over capacity now.

Full coverage

And the winner is... 

Adele's magnificent return to the stage

Critic's Notebook: The junking of commercial rock music

— August Brown

Photo: Deadmau5 arrives at the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo / Chris Pizzello)


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