It’s a wonderful thing to watch a band tear through set before a full house, and question who had the most fun — the audience, whose enthusiastic roar continued rising throughout the evening, or the band themselves, beaming after every song.
Such was the case on Tuesday night at the Troubadour, with Brooklyn’s San Fermin headlining the bill, an eight-piece multi-ethnic and eclectic multi-instrumental band put together by mastermind and ringleader Ellis Ludwig-Leone, featuring Charlene Kaye and Allen Tate on lead vocals, and rounded out by John Brandon on trumpet, Stephen Chen on saxophone, Rebekah Durham on violin/vocals, Michael Hanf on drums and Tyler McDiarmid on guitar. The collective filled the stage and played the majority of their newly released album “Jackrabbit,” as well as a few tracks from their 2013 self-titled effort.
Portland’s Dan Vidmar — dba Shy Girls — cast a spell on the crowd at the Echo on Wednesday night, sharing tunes from his year-and-a-half-old EP “Timeshare” and the new mixtape he released earlier this year. Backed by a trio of multi-instrumentalists, his evocative vocals made for a seductive cocktail of soulful electro-pop.
► L.A.-based Ghanian singer Rocky Dawuni heads up “A Night of Afro Roots Vibrations” at the Regent Theater, where he’s joined by guests Joe Driscoll & Sekou and Kouyate. Presented by Afro Funké & Cumbancha, it’s a free show, and those vibrations will be good. Above is Dawuni’s video for “African Thriller,” from his new album “Branches of the Same Tree.”
► Crocodiles hit the Satellite behind their new album “Boys,” supported by Girl Tears and the Wallburds.
► Roses play the Bootleg HiFi, supported by Dunes and VATS.
► Australia’s What So Not headline the El Rey Theatre, supported by Jen Lasher and Durante.
► Against’ Me’s Laura Jane Grace brings the solo show titled “Killing Me Loudly: An Evening of Existential Dread, Fiending and Gender Dysphoria In The Brilliance of Life’s Headlights” to the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
► New Orleans’ Rebirth Brass Band and 81-year-old bluesman Leo “Bud” Welch hold forth at the Echoplex.
► And Gothic Tropic rocks the Echo, joined by Crown Plaza and Life Size Maps.
Pre-sale tickets have been made available for the third annual Bedrocktoberfest, the music/magic/beer festival to be held Sept. 19 at Bedrock LA, the Echo Park studio and rehearsal complex. Although no lineups have yet been announced, proceeds from the pre-sale, at just $5 per ticket, will benefit the nonprofit radio station and DJ collective Dublab.
This much is known, though: The lineup will be curated by DJ Lance Rock of Yo Gabba Gabba, and the festival will be hosted by German techno DJ Flula Borg. The magic stage will be curated by Joe Armstrong from the Academy of Magical Arts.
Past performers at Bedrocktoberfest have included RZA, Twin Shadow, Cherry Glazerr, Deap Vally and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s/Locus/Blood Brothers side project Head Wound City.
L.A. native Marlon Rabenreither returned from art school in London a few years ago with a ravenous appetite for music as well as the visual arts. His Sister Ruby Band released the solid if overlooked “In Cold Blood” in 2011, an album that fans of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club would love, but the his musical exploits took a turn when Lucinda Williams asked him to open for her in a stripped-down show. And there was born his new Gold Star persona, a twangy blues man who finds beauty in the haunting melancholy of roots music. Gold Star’s debut album “Dark Days,” produced by Nic Jodoin, comes out June 2, and ranges from spare meditations (“Reckless”) to organ-drenched confessions (“Back to Me”) to straight-up homage (“Learning the Blues”) to classic rockers (“Dark Line” and “Get Down My Devil”). File under time-honored and well-crafted. And just add whiskey.
||| Live: Gold Star finishes up a residency — and celebrates the release of “Dark Days” — on Tuesday night at Harvard & Stone.
► Massachusetts rockers Speedy Ortiz hit the Echo behind their new album “Foil Deer,” with Alex G and Slutever opening. Above, their video for “Raising the Skate.”
► Wild Nothing and Roses team up for a free, she company-sponsored show at the Echoplex.
► Spanish hip-hop star Mala Rodriguez headlines the El Rey Theatre.
► With her U.S. debut “Kiddo” on the way June, 9, Swedish electro-pop singer Tove Styrke headlines the Troubadour. LANY opens.
► Southern blues jammers JJ Grey & Mofro rock the Regent Theater; get there early for the Record Company.
► Holly Miranda’s new, self-titled album is out this week, and tonight she plays a free show at downtown’s Mrs. Fish, joined by the Filthy Souls.
Maybe they should have been called “Don’t Blink”? Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus performed Tuesday at the Satellite with a band he introduced as Snake Plisskin* and the I Thought You Were Deads. It was part of the monthly Power Violence Comedy Night at the the venue, and the band performed a quick, five-song set during which they were joined by Upset singer Ali Koehler. The band, which included funnymen Jonah Ray and Whitmer Thomas, played Blink’s “I Miss You” and “Dammit” (the latter with Koehler on vocals) and covered songs by the Descendents, Nirvana and the Ramones. Snake Plisskin, though; we like that.
It’s been 2 1/2 years since Dan Chang and Michael Garner, who were two-thirds of a cappella-group-guys-turned-pop trio Lady Danville, forged ahead as Hunter Hunted. They jumped into the pop fray with a 2013 EP boasting the still-omnipresent single “Keep Together,” and now, as bands who jump into the pop fray are wont to do, they ratchet up the bombast for their new single “Blindside.” It’s the first single from a full-length the band has coming via FreeSolo/RCA, and it’s a typically nimble pop number with a predictably outsized chorus. Of the new album, on which they worked with Howard Benson and Neil Avron, the duo says: “We wanted to write songs that were both tiny and huge. Songs that you could play on an acoustic guitar alone or with a big band inside an arena.”
This new collaboration between Franz Ferdinand and Sparks is sounding more enticing with every tease. FFS, as they are calling themselves, will release their self-titled album June 9 via Domino Records. The video for the single “Johnny Delusional” is the work of French directors AB/CD/CD (Royal Blood, Lily Allen, Kasabian and the Postal Service). From the band: “The first video for a brand new band sets the tone of how they may be perceived forever and we wanted a video that was mysterious, kinetic, artistic, and, well, made us look good.” Sounding good, too.
“It’s an absolute dream to play here,” said Wolf Alice bass player Theo Ellis halfway through their set at the storied Roxy Theatre on Monday night, the band’s third visit to L.A. this year after performances at Bardot in January and the Bootleg in March.
If the momentum behind this band is any indication, they won’t be playing venues this small for much longer. The young but poised London crew cruised through a dozen songs in 50 minutes, culling selections from their early EPs as well as their forthcoming debut album, “My Love Is Cool.” Ellis and drummer Joel Amey anchored the dynamite rhythm section, elevated by lead guitarist Joff Oddie and singer/guitarist Ellie Roswell, who is charismatic and captivating, alternating between her mic and modulated mic, all the while drawing you in.