Category: Tony Pierce

Prepare for chaos: In advance of Echoplex show, Monotonix talks live show, diet regimen


Monotonix plays the Echoplex on Thursday, and prospective attendees should hide their beers, protect their cellphones and be prepared to rethink how they view a rock show.

The Israeli trio hates playing on the actual stage, instead opting to rock out in the audience, on the audience, atop the bar, in the bathroom -- and don't be too surprised if the 40-something singer Ami Shalev ventures outside the club to climb a tree and sing from a branch.

They take the antics of Gogol Bordello, the raw power of the Stooges, and meld it with a type of performance art that's equal parts house party, Marx Brothers and chaos.

In support of their new album "Not Yet", produced by legendary engineer Steve Albini, Shalev spoke to Pop & Hiss by telephone, noticeably happy with their sophomore offering, released through Drag City on Tuesday.

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Luxuriating in the Lollapalooza VIP lounge: Enjoy Lady Gaga and Green Day, then get a 'mini-spa treatment'

Ladygaga Will the kids call it Lollapagaga?

Perry Farrell's long-running alternative music festival Lollapalooza announced Wednesday morning which bands would rock Chicago's Grant Park Aug. 6-8. Headliners ranged from alt-pop rockers Green Day to top 40 dance phenom Lady Gaga.

Other acts include Soundgarden (who will reunite for the first time since 1997), Arcade Fire, Devo, Cypress Hill, The Strokes, Wolfmother, Gogol Bordello, Drive By Truckers, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Phoenix, Social Distortion, Jimmy Cliff, Spoon, The New Pornographers, The xx, AFI, Erykah Badu, Metric, Blitzen Trapper, Grizzly Bear, Minus the Bear,Yeasayer, and dozens more.

The three-day traveling festival originated in 1991 and had a strong run through '97. In 2003 Farrell resurrected the tour for an additional year. In 2004 there was no concert or tour, but in '05 Farrell and his partners settled in on hosting a two-day festival in Chicago's Grant Park. The popularity of the Chicago event turned Lollapalooza into a three-day affair in 2006, which it has maintained ever since. 

Much like our local Coachella and Tennesse's Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza often draws the biggest names in alternative and pop music -- sometimes some of the same artists play all three festivals. Jay-Z, for example, will headline both Coachella and Bonnaroo. 

Individual tickets for Lollapalooza have sold out, but three-day passes are still available for $215.

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Day 3 of music at SXSW: Is Austin prepared for Hole and Gwar?

The unsinkable Courtney Love comes to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, with a re-jiggered Hole. They headline the Spin@Stubbs showcase on Red River at 5 p.m.

Just as fascinating as Mrs. Cobain, maybe more, metal gods Gwar will be interviewed for an hour in Room 18abc of the Austin Convention Center, starting at 5 p.m. "You think you've got it tough in the music business? Try establishing a career when you're from another planet!" the SXSW music book asks. Maybe that's their secret.

Feeling something completely different? Folkie Victoria Williams takes part in a 15-minute set at Jovita's (1619 S. 1st St.) at 5:45 p.m.

Sonic Youth shredder Thurston Moore (above) returns to Austin for a solo performance at 8 p.m. at the Red 7.

Local Natives are getting some excellent -- and much-deserved -- buzz here. They play the Galaxy Room on 6th Street tonight at 9.

Several blocks away, She & Him play the Lustre Pearl at 10 p.m. M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel are hard to miss here. Not only are they playing several shows, but Deschanel's eyes also peer from magazine covers all over the dirty streets of Austin.

Canada's answer to both Billy Bragg and Ryan Adams, Matthew Good, plays the cozy basement of Prague just south of Congress on 5th Street at 11 p.m. Good doesn't tour the States often, so if you missed him at the Troubadour earlier this week, this might be your last chance to see him in the U.S.

Mimicking the Beatles in a weird way, sorta, Sum 41 will bring its pop punk to the roof of Maggie Mae's at midnight.

Then, finally, if you couldn't get into the Spin party, Hole is playing a late-night (1 a.m.) show at the Dirty Dog Bar on 6th Street. If you don't want to end your night with some celebrity skin, you're missing the point of this grand melange of excess. Go rock.

-- Tony Pierce from Austin

Photo of Thurston Moore at the Mohawk in 2008. Credit: Tony Pierce / Los Angeles Times

Twitter and Facebook helping to revitalize some Sunset Strip clubs


In a forward-thinking tech-based panel that could have easily taken place earlier this week during SXSW Interactive, three wired leaders of legendary Sunset Strip entertainment venues discussed today how social media is helping them bring back audience and work together.

In what has been deemed "co-opetition," the Viper Room (@theviperroom), the Roxy(@theroxy), and the Comedy Store (@thecomedystore) have been working together in creative and digital ways to bring more attention to the clubs during these trying times.  It all started when Roxy owner Nic Adler saw the Viper Room enter the world of Twitter.  He virtually and publicly welcomed his competitor to the space by announcing their virtual presence to the thousands of "followers" interacting with the Roxy via Twitter. That simple gesture of goodwill opened the floodgates of camaraderie that has helped the Roxy increase its business by 30% over last year, Adler said, and has helped the Viper Room see its regulars return.

Nathan Levinson, marketing director of the Viper Room, said that because of the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and now Foursquare, he has been able to cut advertising spending in half. Adler says that the interaction between his customers, and would-be customers, via social media has made his club better and has restored the image of the Roxy to many.

Another element is the age of the panelists. Adler (@nicadler) says it's because he, Levinson (@n8thesk8), and the Comedy Store's Alf LaMont (@alflamont) are from a younger generation that they are more willing to put aside traditional approaches to competition and marketing.  Not only have the men worked together to launch the Sunset Strip Music Festival, which some have compared to a taste of SXSW, but they have helped each other master Twitter, which they agree works best in their busy lives.

"Twitter is the fastest, most forward-moving form of social networking", Levinson said in the "Social Media Case Study of L.A.'s Sunset Strip" panel. "It is my favorite."

When asked which he prefers, Adler compared Twitter and Facebook thusly: "One is when you're moving and one is when you're sitting at home."

The newest social media craze, Foursquare, hasn't gone without notice from these men. Simply "checking in" on Foursquare will get you entry to the Comedy Store, LaMont said, while checking into the Roxy will get you upgraded to VIP, Adler announced.

"We're just trying to give people a little something extra with social media," Adler explained. "It's promotion without flat-out promoting."

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Alf LaMont, Nathan Levinson, Nic Adler and panel moderator Kyra Reed. Credit: Tony Pierce / Los Angeles Times

Ray Davies, STP, She & Him, the XX and others on tap today at SXSW


So many bands, so little time.

When the night comes, indie darlings She & Him come to the always-impressive Filter showcase at the Cedar Street Courtyard at 10,  and if you stick around, Dinosaur Jr. bassist Lou Barlow rocks his solo work at midnight.

What's this? The Stone Temple Pilots are playing tonight at the Austin Music Hall at 10:30, the same slot held by Motörhead on Wednesday night. It's a big venue and Lemmy didn't quite fill it up -- can the original line-up once deemed  "foxy" by Pavement pack 'em in? So much depends on Scott Weiland. Won't miss this one.

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SXSW: Ann Powers and Todd Martens discuss the first night of music

LA Times music writers Ann Powers and Todd Martens discuss the first day of music at SXSW and touch on the tragic loss of Alex Chilton.

Taped in front of the legendary club Emo's on 6th Street in Austin at 2:30 a.m., the pair talk about their favorites of the day and include a phenomenon only found at a festival with 1,400 bands: the trend of seeing one-and-a-half songs by terrific new bands.

-- Tony Pierce

Video by Tony Pierce / Los Angeles Times

Muffs, Motorhead, Japanther, Miike Snow and other picks for the first day of SXSW Music


The tech geeks have moseyed on home, the rain has stopped, the sun is out, so let there be rock.

More than 1,400 bands from across the world have made their way to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, to play in the four-day music festival. Here are a few choice picks that if you're here you won't want to miss.

The Muffs haven't rocked Austin since 2004 and have been sorely missed.  Kim Shattuck's trio plays Beerland this afternoon for free around 4, and perform a late night show a block away at midnight at Elysium.

Aussie indie faves the Middle East will be playing five gigs here in Austin over three days. Catch them while they're fresh at 10 tonight at Club De Ville at the Brooklyn Vegan showcase.

The unstoppable Motörhead has made 20 albums, warts and all, and is poised to release a documentary this year about its iconic frontman Lemmy Kilmister. They're making their presence known as they rise above the cacophony (or bringing it to a higher level) by playing a couple of shows. Tonight's will be a free show at Austin Music Hall at 10:30. For those interested in hearing the thoughts of Sir Kilmister minus the metal licks, Lemmy is being interviewed at 5 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center (Room 18abc).

More picks after the jump...

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Paul Shaffer to speak, play at the Grammy Museum on Wednesday night

Shaffer_mug The ever-upbeat shiny-headed sidekick and bandleader Paul Shaffer will be giving an intimate talk Wednesday at the Grammy Museum.

The pianist, who first made it big on "Saturday Night Live," will be speaking about his musical career, life working on that little late night show with David Letterman, as well as his new book, "We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin' Showbiz Saga." Shaffer will take questions from the audience, perform a few songs, and sign copies of the book. Perhaps some current events will be addressed.

Shaffer's book is actually quite a delight. Lighthearted, funny, insightful and intentionally disjointed, Paul gracefully jumps from his early days playing classical pieces to the delight of his -- very hip -- parents while in Thunder Bay, Canada, to his more wild nights leading the Blues Brothers band from city to city.

After the jump peek into Shaffer's world as he explains meeting the poet laureate of rock 'n' roll, Bob Dylan. Turns out Mr. Zimmerman's agenda while being the musical act on the Letterman show was definitely not meeting the keyboardist.

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Bruce Springsteen to continue exploring classic albums in concert


It was just a week ago that we raved here on Pop & Hiss at the spectacle that was the Bruce Springsteen show at Chicago's United Center. A three-hour epic rock concert with a tasty nugget lodged in the middle: a complete performance of the 1975 classic "Born To Run".

After the show, many in attendance, including yours truly, ranked the concert as their favorite from Springsteen. Apparently The Boss agreed. 

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Notes from Chicago: Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run' concert

Los Angeles Times blog czar Tony Pierce was in Chicago this past week to meet with the mother ship. While spending time with our Tribune brothers and sisters, Pierce also took in Bruce Springsteen's visit to the Windy City. Pop & Hiss told him to have a Goose Island and enjoy the show, but he threatened to come back to Los Angeles with a blog post. We weren't surprised when it arrived, but Pierce's rant about what constitutes an encore caught us off guard. Here are his thoughts from Springsteen's concert:  

Most Bruce Springsteen shows are special in one way or another, but Sunday night he and his E Street Band rocked the United Center in Chicago with the energy of twentysomethings.

The spirited show, which many in attendance now consider their favorite Springsteen concert (thanks to an informal exit-polling strategy), was based on a bit of the novelty but rooted in the overwhelming power of the veteran group. The concert was said to be just the second time the band has performed its classic 1975 album, "Born to Run," in its entirety. The first performance of the full collection of songs was for a 2008 benefit gig at the quaint Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J.

The soon-to-be 60-year-old singer explained to the sold-out arena that "Born to Run" was the make-or-break record for him and the band. Columbia Records, he said, was unhappy with the sales of his first two records, "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J."  and "The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle," both released in 1973. 

After the explanation, he placed a harmonica to his mouth and the man who decades ago was hailed as the next Bob Dylan led his band through "Thunder Road" followed by the rest of the tracks of what many consider one of the finest rock albums of all time.

Quick takes of the stellar show after the jump.

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