| Sputnikmusic

Event Coverage

Courtesy of Consequence of Sound

Three weeks after braving a sixth year of the desert of Coachella, I was off across the country to Atlanta, Georgia, to take in the relatively fresh-faced Shaky Knees music festival. Only in its third iteration in as many venues, Shaky Knees has shot up fast in festivalgoers’ estimation: its penchant for widely disparate artists, with a noticeable lack of pandering to wide-eyed EDM fans, convenient location in the heart of Atlanta, and relatively cheap cost for a three-day festival (at $125 for early bird tickets, that’s $175 cheaper than Bonnaroo and a full $250 less than Coachella). DEALZ$$. The fact that my editor harassed the media until they granted my journalistic integrity a pass sealed the deal – another weekend in a mishmash of parks, side avenues, and parking lots to catch set after exhausting set. Hey, at least I now know what the weather at Bonnaroo feels like.

Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

After a debut in a historic Atlanta park and an artistically successful, location-challenged (at an outdoor mall??) second year, Shaky Knees’ move into downtown Atlanta’s Central Park was apparently a welcome one to many fans I talked to, although the location was more a chunk of park (actually two parks, as it connected a bit with Atlanta’s Renaissance Park – Atlanta has a lot of parks) winding its way through a few residential divisions and…

Photo courtesy of Getty

Another year, another Coachella won by the DJs. It was apparent seeing the massive crowd flocking to the Main Stage for Kaskade’s 7:30pm set that no matter the time, no matter the place, big electronic names have supplanted rock ‘n roll and pop acts as the biggest draw of the festival. Ever since Tiesto’s headlining set in 2010, electronic music and its den of iniquity, the Sahara tent, has consistently drawn the most packed crowds, with the requisite increase in dilated eyes and face paint. Not to say Kaskade’s set was a bust – indeed, it was quite good – but it failed to rise above the constraints of its audience, who know what they want and are happy enough to get it. Still, credit to Goldenvoice: where past Coachellas have gone heavy on the big names), the electronic acts this year pushed the boundaries of their genre, from Kygo, who’s languid house beats draw white girls like moths to a flame, to Jamie xx’s innovative, heavy set, to John Talabot, who proved the best avatar of the Yuma’s throbbing, mutating waves of bass music. Sure, David Guetta may have still closed out the Sahara Sunday night, but: progress! And that’s not even mentioning one of my favorite sets of the night, which rocked the top of the Mojave, of all places.

Photo courtesy of Getty

Placing Canadian indie-pop legends Sloan at…

Photo courtesy of AP

Saturday was a study in contrasts.  Where one stage may began with the dramatic Perfume Genius owning the stage in drag, it may end with Flosstradamus and Axwell ^ Ingrosso turning it into the outdoor version of the dance-exclusive Sahara tent. Take my favorite stage of the festival, the Mojave – I opened things up with a buzz-building performance by Ryn Weaver, who dedicated a song to her late grandfather, who lived in the Coachella valley, and later jetted over there to catch a bit of Run The Jewels, all while somehow missing out on Toro y Moi, Tycho, and SBTRKT. It’s a cliché, but if you can’t find something you like on any given day here, it’s probably on purpose.

The heat that finally drove me away from Perfume Genius’s blistering set and a temporary stop to see Canadian synthpop star Lights took me to the one place the temperature was actually almost hotter inside than out: the constantly jacked up Sahara tent. Here, ecstasy could generally be found corroding the brains of America’s future leaders from the moment the festival opened to the time it closed and its denizens went out to chase the dragon in the campgrounds. Normally I’d wait until I didn’t have to look people in the eyes to check out the Sahara, but the promise of an amazing light display from resident visual geniuses V…

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

Getting right down to brass tacks for this sixth edition of Klap’s Koachella, because frankly I’m still in the process of scraping my brain off the desert floor for what was one of my favorite Coachellas in recent memory. The weather? Pristine – apparently Friday was the coolest of the festival, but it was appropriately scorching in the afternoon (yet without reducing me to a puddle) and blessedly refreshing as the sun went down and people started generating their own pharmaceutical heat. The food? Better than ever – some of the samples this year included gourmet pop-up restaurants from celebrity chefs like Roy Choi and Kris Morningstar, an absolutely filthy hot dog stand, and old, artery-clogging standbys like my one true love, a heaping mound of garlic crab fries. The crowd? Eh; you win some, you lose some. But the drawing point remains as on point as ever – the artists by and large killed it, whether or not you supplemented your experience with any number of mind-altering substances that surely resulted in some sort of medical tent record, given the lax security I experienced in relation to past years. The best treatment for post-Coachella depression is reliving it.

Photo courtesy of LA Mag

Waking up for the first day always leaves me giddy, largely because you never know how thoroughly security will search you on…

Last week, I posted videos of the first batch of 10 bands from Day-1 of Australia’s SoundWave Festival . This week, it’s time for the Day-2 contingent, with more rock, punk and metal acts to satisfy your urge for all things heavy and live. For various reasons, I could not attend both days of the festival, and it was this Day-2 group that best satisfied me personally. Of course, posting all of the bands that I saw would probably cause a riot at Sputnik, so hopefully the diverse range of bands seen below is a fair enough compromise.

As per usual, a disclaimer must first be aired for legal purposes: SputnikMusic shall take no responsibility for any motion sickness caused by unsteady hand-held cameras used in the making of the following videos. The same goes for deafness caused by varying volume levels, seizures caused by blinking lights, and blindness caused by the brightness of security vests.

And just in case you were thinking that the line-up for Day-2 looks a little thin, then please take into account that the following list of videos excludes the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins, Fucked Up, Millencolin, Mayhem, Of Mice & Men, The Wonder Years, Godsmack, Tonight Alive, and farewell performances from Conditions & The Swellers just to name another 10 who played on this particular day. In fact, the order of what you are about to view, roughly coincides with each band’s actual set time.…

All the way back in 2011, I posted a blog titled ‘Maiden, Slash, Slayer & QOTSA Soundwavin’ Around Oz’ that included amateur video of five acts that toured around Australia with the rock, punk and metal festival that is Soundwave. Since then, I have decided to only post lists detailing my experiences at the annual extravaganza, but all that’s about to change in a big way. With 2015’s event being held over two separate days, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to return to the blog and allow all of you to see some live footage of a diverse range of bands. And since I personally saw 10 bands on the day that I attended, then you also get to see 10 bands… TWICE OVER! This week will include the first batch of ten from Day-1 and next week I’ll be back with 10 more from Day-2. How’s that for value!?

Before we begin, a disclaimer must first be aired for legal purposes: SputnikMusic shall take no responsibility for any motion sickness caused by unsteady hand-held cameras used in the making of the following videos. The same goes for deafness caused by varying volume levels, seizures caused by blinking lights, and blindness caused by the brightness of security vests.

And just in case you were thinking that the line-up for Day-1 looks a little thin, then please take into account that the following list of videos excludes the…

The temperature was rapidly falling, dipping well below 0° Fahrenheit, with the wind chill shooting even further into the negatives as the tall buildings lining Main St. in Worcester, MA funneled the stiff wind down the street’s narrow corridor. Fitting weather for a metal show, indeed. In fact, New England seems to always conjure up something interesting to welcome Swedish melodic death metal titans Dark Tranquillity to the area, as last February when they played the very same venue it so happened to dump 2 feet of snow only a few hours after the show ended. This time there wasn’t any snow, just an icy chill that signaled not only Dark Tranquillity’s presence, but also the long-awaited return of Insomnium to North America. I missed their last stop in New England in 2007 when they played at a now-shut strip club in my home state of New Hampshire to support Above the Weeping World, so seven years later I certainly wasn’t going to miss this tour.

It’s arguably the greatest melodic death metal duo in the world, making this tour arguably the greatest melodic death metal tour ever, so I eagerly awaited the show. Before the doors opened at 6:30 I walked a few blocks down the street to the local pizza place to get something to eat, and to my giddy dismay I recognized two familiar faces as soon as I walked in the door. Insomnium vocalist Niilo Sevänen and guitarist Markus Vanhala were sampling some mediocre, greasy…

For the majority of the year, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is a placid hub of serene wildlife and meditative arrangements located in the heart of the Bay Area city. At around 1000 acres, it’s easy to get lost in one garden or traverse a series of trails and meadows and totally forget the fact that you’re in one of the more claustrophobic cities in the country. Since 2008, however, the three-day Outside Lands Music and Art Festival has transformed the center of the park into a massive combination of live music, artisan cuisine, wine and cheese pairings, a plethora of local craft brews, and a surreal array of the kind of weird art you’d expect from San Francisco locals.

Peaking with an estimated 200,000 ticket holders and over a hundred performers, the 7th edition of the festival was the largest (and most crowded) yet. Given how integrated the experience has become – with the new “GastroMagic” area that showcases celebrity chefs, local restaurants, and sports its very own stage, along with separate areas entitled WineLands and BeerLands – Outside Lands is now, more than most festivals, a unique celebration of the city it calls home. Instead of divvying it up into its component days, then, here are 30 things I liked.

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan / Samantha Saturday

1. Short of Kacey Musgraves, Run the Jewels likely had the best set of the day (and about as far apart as

Photo by Kevin Bronson

Sunday is when the choices really start to gnaw at you. Choices like: “do I really need to wake up in time to see Surfer Blood at their surprisingly early Outdoor Stage time,” (no) or; “will this beer bong really help me reach my goal of not being utterly exhausted as I leave for the festival?” (yes). It’s also the day when the thought of braving particularly large crowds doesn’t hold quite the appeal it used to. While I was jazzed to see Los Angeles production duo Classixx at the Mojave, the filled-past-capacity mass of hollowed out youths and individuals fresh off two days in the hazardous waste dump that is the campgrounds on a Sunday made it a short set. Better were Starfucker, who, playing on the Outdoor Stage, made up for the searing heat with a wide expanse of glass to collapse on while watching their spacey brand of indie-pop. A relatively mundane, if nevertheless very catchy, band, Starfucker stepped up their festival game with a wide array of costumed freaks running about and several dozen blow-up dolls sporting impressive erections that they released into the crowd.

Photo by Koury Angelo

A double-punk bill of Frank Turner and Superchunk followed in the Gobi tent. While I’m not a big fan, Turner’s energy was…

Photo by Brian van der Brug

The worst part about Coachella 2013 was easily the dust storm that turned Sunday into a set piece from the Depression and choked the life and easy visibility out of a struggling Red Hot Chili Peppers closing set. 2014’s storm wasn’t nearly as bad; for the most part, walking around during the day Saturday felt like you were travelling on a strange, ominous alien planet, the sun reduced to a weird, haunting half-light and the wind picking up curlicues of dust seemingly at random while bits of sound escaped intermittently over the fields. That creepy feeling was magnified by the fact that everyone seemed to be running from one destination to another, as if constantly striving to avoid the almighty wrath of the weather gods/the narc chasing them. It was how I imagined walking on Mars might be, if everyone on Mars was really, really fucked up all the time.

Of course, God being the sick bastard that he is, Saturday turned out to be my favorite day of the festival. When you kick things off with a blogger’s wet dream of Foxygen, Ty Segall, and CHVRCHES on the Outdoor Stage, it’s easy to ignore the fact that your choice of t-shirt and board shorts for the day will prove quite uncomfortable against pelting sand and an insidious wind chill. Like Friday’s HAIM set, Coachella is made for a band like CHVRCHES,…

Photo by Dana Distortion

It wasn’t the shift to two weekends that convinced me, nor was it the prevalence of EDM as a driving force in lineup selections. It wasn’t the 2012 rainstorm, the first in Coachella history, or the 2013 sandstorm, or the (slightly more tolerable) wind and dust that marred this past Saturday. It wasn’t even the waves of heat that fried me Friday like an egg as my nails curled inwards to the sound of Grouplove’s vocalist butchering Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” as 4:00 turned into 5:00 at the main stage – the performance artist/Grouplove superfan doing a bizarrely well choreographed dance with a staff, and the internal debate of actually exerting myself in the unholy temperatures or ritually murdering everyone in the band being the only things occupying my otherwise exhausted mind. Friday, mind you.

This explains a lot (Photo courtesy of Esquire)

No, these are all the things we’ve come to expect at Coachella, the beautiful scenery made hazy by the weather and the bands determined to make their own legend notwithstanding. It was more the press releases I received every day informing me of the latest updates at the festival, groundbreaking events like: “Fergie and Emmy Rossum, who had both stopped by the Samsung Galaxy Owner’s Lounge yesterday, came back to cool off…

Have you ever been nervous before a gig that you have attended? Sure, there’s always some nervous energy, or even some nervous form of excitement if you’re looking forward to the act(s)… But I’m talking genuine nerves here. Because it happened to me for the first time a week or so back. New York funk-metal quartet Living Colour have always been one of my favourite bands, and I unfortunately was not in a position to have seen them live during their ‘90s heyday. So I was never going to miss them on their first visit to Australia in well over a decade.

To put it bluntly, however, Living Colour are now old. Lead vocalist Corey Glover especially looks it; having transformed from the spandex-wearing, dreadlocked front-man of yesteryear into the grey-haired, grandpa cap wearer of today. The very little I had seen of them playing via YouTube and the like seemed to suggest an overly earnest show which lacked energy and relied on high – but faltering – technicality. Those around me didn’t help the predicament, with a higher than usual drunk factor and many a googling youngster asking “Who’s Living Colour”?

Well, I must have seen the wrong videos, because Living Colour thankfully blew my mind. And it didn’t take long for the nerves to be shaken out of me, with the earth-rattling low end of their set opener – Robert Johnson cover ‘Preachin’ Blues’. Talk about a band in sync! These four could all…

As the clock ticks down to the release of her sophomore record (Nocturnal; due Oct 29th on Verve), the next milestone in what has been an absolutely phenomenal year for Ms Yunalis Mat Zara’ai, the pint-sized Subang Jaya native must be feeling that life simply can’t get much better than this. And who can blame her? Just a few years ago the Universiti Teknologi MARA graduate was still playing to tiny audiences for free at humble acoustic venues in the margins of her home city. Yet, earlier this month she did no less than perform for four sold-out nights at Kuala Lumpur’s Istana Budaya, the Malaysian equivalent of London’s Royal Albert Hall. Were you to plot this on a time-based graph, the resulting curve would probably appear asymptotic.

Yuna’s decision to uproot herself to the United States, effectively the introductory chapter to her spellbinding rags-to-riches tale, has been a journey of wonders thus far. Having released her excellent debut album stateside under the Fader label (whose representatives flew all the way to Malaysia to convince her to sign for them), the Malaysian lass appeared on the radar of world-renown producer David Foster and was subsequently signed to his Verve Music Group – the same label that plays host to the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Diana Krall, Melody Gardot, and Carla Bruni. Her star shone brighter still when she was contracted to perform both a cover of The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun” for Oliver…

Let me make one thing absolutely clear: the average Malaysian music lover hasn’t been feted like this in a long, long time, and we probably have the unlikeliest of heroes to thank for it. The recent launch of “Visit Malaysia Year 2014″ by the deeply unpopular ruling coalition, in addition to the designation of 2013 as its preparatory year, single-handedly took the country from its longtime status of international concert pariah to one of South East Asia’s premiere destinations virtually overnight. September alone will feature The Killers, Yuna, Robin Thicke, and Lamb of God (!), while October brings with it the prospect of Mew, Explosions in the Sky, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, and also Crossfade. It’s quite a bit to stomach – and I haven’t even started talking about that mouth-watering Urbanscapes weekend in November yet. Elsewhere, the month of August has been no slouch either, as evidenced by the upcoming one-two punch of the Linkin Park and Metallica shows and, of course, the subject of this blogpost – the recently-concluded Good Vibes Festival.

For a country to whom the concept of music festivals is still a relative novelty, the Good Vibes weekend promised to be a blast from the get-go. Organized by Future Sound Asia, the festival publicly stated its aim of bringing the best of international music to the country, and immediately made good upon its promise by announcing The Smashing Pumpkins as its headlining act a few days later.…

Photo courtesy of Socale

My first experience with event production company the Do LaB came about in what I imagine was a similar way for many unfamiliar with the groundbreaking visual artist collective – the Oasis tent at Coachella, where the relentless heat is blessedly filtered through a prism of high-pressure water for a few merciful moments. People came for the hoses, but they stayed for the art, that uniquely visual spectacle that accompanies every Do LaB production in the desert and the underground acts the company usually has rocking its stages with the help of a costumed menagerie. Their ninth year at the festival was no different, with Gaslamp Killer, Kaminanda, Idiot Savant and a whole host of acts turning the art installations into a wild, somewhat nightmarish (depending on whether the light was by the sun or the oscillating lights), always unforgettable scene.

Shame on me, then, for not realizing until 2013 that the Do LaB actually curate their own festival just a couple hours south of Los Angeles. Lightning in a Bottle runs from July 11-15 at Lake Skinner County Park in the wine country near Temecula, CA, and is less a musical festival as the common summertime denominator goes and more a cultural event; a hip Burning Man without the blasted landscape and blasted hippies. It’s apparent in the lineup – a smorgasbord of Low End Theory-mainstays and buzzworthy indie pop, furious electro grooves and exotic world music, deep house…

Page 1 of 612345...Last »

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy