Category: Walt Disney Concert Hall

Live review: Patsy Cline showcase at Walt Disney Concert Hall [Updated]

Patsy cline
[This post has been corrected. See note below.]

Opting to cover a Patsy Cline song is like deciding to hit a drive like Tiger Woods, nail a scene like Meryl Streep or make a meatball like Mario Batali. It’s easy enough to declare, but all the heart in the world will get you only part of the way there.

On Saturday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall, a collection of singers headed by Los Angeles vocal quartet the Living Sisters and including actor-singers Zooey Deschanel and John C. Reilly, Los Angeles punk and roots luminary John Doe, Scottish vocalist Shirley Manson of the band Garbage and statuesque country singer Charlie Wadhams attempted just that, taking on one of the great American song stylists with two hours of heartbreak and beauty.

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Los Tigres del Norte to make history at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Los Tigres 2009-10 Promo photo- Medium file

Friday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Tigres del Norte will make history. Although the Mexican super group is known for its ability to cross borders, performing at the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic will be a new frontier.

The show will mark the first time a regional Mexican band has played at the venue since it opened in 2003.  Though Los Tigres attract audiences of thousands to their Los Angeles gigs, the group has never performed at a Los Angeles venue with the cultural stature and acoustics of Disney Hall.

It’s an interesting turn for the band, which formed in the mid-1960s and is made up of four brothers and one cousin. The band has become known for its ability to connect with its fans through songs of the struggles of the Mexican working class on both sides of the border.

Jorge Hernández, founding member, singer and accordionist, says that the intent is to present the reality of Mexican life without embellishment or exaggeration. “We sing about society, law enforcement, immigration, love, poetry …” he said, his voice trailing off as if to indicate that the list is endless.

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Live review: Charlie Haden Family & Friends at Disney Hall

Jazz luminary Charlie Haden took no small amount of perverse joy Tuesday night in bringing the old-time country music with which he started his musical career in the Midwest seven decades ago into the tony surroundings of Walt Disney Concert Hall.

“Man, oh, man,” the 72-year-old bassist said upon taking the stage. “Who would have thought we’d have a country audience at Disney Hall?”

And that’s not the half of it. In less than three weeks, the hall has hosted Steve Martin’s mostly serious-minded venture into bluegrass music, Kris Kristofferson’s solo show and now Haden and a group of stellar Nashville singers and instrumentalists playing what once upon a time was referred to as “hillbilly music.” If this keeps up, people are going to start confusing Disney Hall with Disneyland’s Country Bear Jamboree.

But while this tour takes him back to the music he played with his parents and siblings through the Ozarks and elsewhere before he fell in love with jazz, flew the coop for Los Angeles, met Ornette Coleman and signed on with the saxophonists groundbreaking Liberation Music Orchestra, Haden’s hardly slumming.

The band members he brought with him to Disney Hall, most of whom also played on his inspired 2008 “Rambling Boy” album that spawned the tour, has as much in common with the stereotype of primitive hillbilly music as a $400,000 International Harvester Axial-Flow Combine has with a cast-iron plow.

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Taylor Swift wins BMI's country song award for 'Love Story'; Kristofferson named 'icon'

Taylor Swift at Staples

Taylor Swift added another honor to her growing list at Tuesday night's BMI Country Awards in Nashville. Her hit single "Love Story" was recognized as song of the year by the publishing rights society, and it might be an indicator of how things will go tonight for her at the Country Music Assn. Awards, where she's going in with four nominations, including the top honor, entertainer of the year.

Having interviewed Taylor several times since she put out her debut album in 2006, I'm certain the BMI award was especially meaningful for her, because every time we've spoken she's made it clear that of all the facets of her still-unfolding career in music, songwriting is the thing she prizes the most.

You could hear it in her comment upon being handed the award: "I just want to say thank you to every songwriter and every loved one of a songwriter, thank you, because you are the reason I wanted to try Nashville," she said. "You are all my heroes."

Kris Kristofferson As for songwriting heroes, there was a big one there with Swift in the house Tuesday night: Kris Kristofferson. The 73-year-old writer of "Sunday Morning Coming Down," "Me and Bobby McGee," "For the Good Times," "Help Me Make It Through the Night" and so many others was given BMI's icon award.

The ever-humble singer, songwriter and actor said that the whole thing made him squirm, and that his longtime pal Willie Nelson, who paid tribute to him along with Vince Gill and Patty Griffin, told him beforehand how much he was going to relish making Kristofferson uncomfortable. Nonetheless, he said "I'm awfully grateful that what I love to do means enough to other people that I'm able to do it."  

-- Randy Lewis

Top photo: Taylor Swift at Staples Center in May. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: Kris Kristofferson in a recording studio in West Los Angeles in March. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Dirty Projectors get the Los Angeles Philharmonic treatment with 2010 Disney Hall date

The involved and meticulous art-pop deconstructions of Brooklyn's the Dirty Projectors will graduate to Walt Disney Concert Hall in early 2010. The experimental six-piece will co-headline with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Feb. 27. Tickets will range from $32 to $60.

The Dirty Projectors are the latest in what has become a L.A. Philharmonic tradition: pairing the orchestra with acclaimed and adventurous acts with an indie-rock fan base. In March of this year, French electronic act M38 performed with the L.A. Philharmonic. Back in the winter of 2008, Grizzly Bear teamed with the Phil for a Disney Hall appearance in which the act performed a set of its own music after collaborating with the orchestra in choosing a set of classical compositions.

The Dirty Projectors set promises to a follow a similar format. A news release from the L.A. Philharmonic describes the evening as "a collaborative endeavor; the first half of the program features the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing orchestral pieces chosen with David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors."

Tickets will go on sale at noon Nov. 14 at the Disney Hall box office, and will be available online at at 10 a.m.

Above, sample a clip of the Dirty Projectors' recent single "Stillness Is the Move," taken from the act's 2009 Domino release, "Bitte Orca." 

-- Todd Martens


A Hollywood mixing Bowl

Live review: Dirty Projectors at the Troubadour 


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