Monthly Archives: March 2009

Santogold at Mammoth Mountain

Santi White of Santogold at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

Santi White of Santogold at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

Santogold opened up for Cold War Kids and was just as impressive. White knows how to host a fun time. She doesn’t take things too seriously which was a bit of a surprise. I for one expected a total diva.

During sound check she was loose and fun and joking about the technical difficulties with the fans.

Santogold at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

Santogold at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

When it was show time her top goal was to see people dancing and enjoying themselves. She too was watching out for the well being of the crowd which was just starting to get a bit douche baggy at that point.

At one point she brought a fan on stage to join in on instigating others to dance. He looked surprisingly in sync with the choreographed moves the on stage dancers were doing. haha.

The whole set was super fun. Would recommend!

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Cold War Kids at Mammoth Mountain

Cold War Kids at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

Cold War Kids at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

My friend Zach has often hyped these guys up to me. He gave me their EP featuring the song “Hospital Beds” a couple years ago. I have found myself listening to it on occasion since it is pretty good but, it never grew on me as much as I expected it to.

When I found out they were playing a free concert at Mammoth Mountain (where I just happened to be for a snowboard trip) I did not expect much.

Cold War Kids at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

Cold War Kids at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

These guys completely impressed me from the first song through the last. They were very passionate about their art and showed a lot of camaraderie towards one another on stage.

Cold War Kids at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

Cold War Kids at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

The crowd totally sucked. It was full of a lot of jocks and drunk ass kids. They were pushing each other and starting mosh pits. It made no sense for the music being played and detracted from any chance of really appreciating it if you were a fan of the band. Cold War Kids impressed me a little more at their concern with this and how they addressed it. They brought one of the kids on stage that seemed to be at the heart of the annoyance. They mocked his stupidity and gave him a time out on stage. It was pretty funny and reminded me of seeing At The Drive-In and their lack of tolerance towards violence at their shows.

Cold War Kids at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

Cold War Kids at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

This show showed me the diversity of their song writing and own personal capabilities. I’m looking forward to picking up their newer albums and tracking down a few songs I have not heard before. I suggest you explore their catalog as well!

Cold War Kids at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

Cold War Kids at Mammoth Mountain ©2009 Gary Livingston

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These Arms Are Snakes at the Echoplex

Steve Sneer bringin it ©2009 Gary Livingston

Steve Sneer bringin it ©2009 Gary Livingston

This was my first time seeing the band in a real venue.  The last time I caught them they played a set on the floor of a cafe in Santa Barbara.  The show was pretty intense due to the band being mixed among the crowd.  I was kind of nervous about how the antics of singer Steve Sneer would translate from that environment to the stage of the Echoplex.  Would it feel as wild and chaotic? Well, I certainly got my answer.

These Arms Are Snakes at The Echoplex in Los Angeles ©2009 Gary Livingston

These Arms Are Snakes at The Echoplex in Los Angeles ©2009 Gary Livingston

Steve Sneer is King Maniac of a group of artists that all know how to let loose in front concert goers.  He completely went wild and there was no object within 20 feet of him that he was not determined to show his domination over.  From lighting setups to barricades to folding event tables.  Guitarist Ryan Frederiksen’s back was even the object of conquest at one point in the show. The man brought the chaos and sold the anxious energy of his band’s songs through his interpretive dance.

He attempted a few times to tell jokes inbetween songs too.  Unfortunately, the mic and overall noise of the venue made it really hard to understand what he was saying.  I have a feeling more people than me were having the same issue.  Instead of laughs there was more of a “what is this mad man saying?” awkward perplexity throughout the crowd.  I do suspect the jokes were funny though. The few people I noticed that heard did laugh.

Ryan Frederiksen © 2009 Gary Livingston

Ryan Frederiksen © 2009 Gary Livingston

The rest of the band were not as wild but, each of them were no less deserving of one’s focus.  They each played with intensity and it was fun to watch them all build off the energy of one another as the night went on.  TAAS is a really tight band and they do a great job at recreating the sound from their albums and bringing it to the stage.

Brian Cook ©2009 Gary Livingston

Brian Cook ©2009 Gary Livingston

Brian Cook does a great job building up the texture and power of the songs, jumping from bass to guitar to korg.  Chris Common makes use of every bit of his drum kit and drives the band forward with ferocity.  Ryan Frederiksen completes the picture on guitar, shifting from moments of wistfulness to all out sonic assaults.

Chris Common © 2009 Gary Livingston

Chris Common © 2009 Gary Livingston

Be sure to check out These Arms Are Snakes

These Arms Are Snakes at the Echoplex in Los Angeles ©2009 Gary Livingston

These Arms Are Snakes at the Echoplex in Los Angeles ©2009 Gary Livingston

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Infantree at Guitar Merchant

Alex of Infantree ©2009 Gary Livingston

Alex of Infantree ©2009 Gary Livingston

This past Friday I went to see Infantree play at Guitar Merchant.  I was really excited about this show.  I have been listening to their LP non stop and it is truly a great accomplishment for them so early in their musical career.

Infantree shared the bill with Nate from The Good Cheer playing some acoustic songs and our friend Wade doing the same before and after Infantree.

Our friends the guys from NerdyShirts.com, Jacob Fatoorechi, Michael Feig (producer/engineer) were in the audience too. Which made for a really fun time despite some setbacks.

I did my best to promote the show and invite some friends using both facebook, the telephone, and face to face time.  I expected to see more friends than I did.  But, it was a bit last minute and at a not very exciting venue.  It was to be expected that not a lot of people would turn out.

Usually, I would be disappointed at that idea.  Infantree is full of very close friends to me.  I’m very proud of what they create.  However, on this night I am kinda glad they missed out on it.

I have seen Infantree play a few times (not a lot since they are now starting to push some focus on their live shows).  Each of those times seemed as though the band was moving forward in the energy they brought to the stage.

Their show at the Agoura/Calabasas Rec Center was full of great energy and as nervous as they seemed they still funneled those emotions into something the crowd could pick up on and interact with.

I last saw them play at a charity benefit in the backyard of a mutual friend. That show was devoid of lighting and the band’s sound went through a cheap PA system and their own amps alone. Even that could not hold back the energy the band put forward as they played their songs.

On this night at Guitar Merchant it seemed as though Infantree took several steps backward in their development as a live band.

The only thing that seemed to improve at all was their small talk with the crowd.

The music felt as though it was being played as a run through for practice in a basement by some high school kids.  Every song felt flat in the sense of excitement and urgency to share them with the people in front of them.

It was very disappointing.  The more I think about it the more disappointed I get.  I think part of this is due to their album being SO very good.  After listening to it and remembering what I have seen them capable of doing on stage I expected great things.

There might be two key reasons for this too.  The first is the band didn’t pick up a single electric guitar.  Everything was played on acoustic guitars.  I don’t quite know how significant this is but, every other time electric guitars had a place in their songs and the sound rang loud.

The second is the set list.  It could have been constructed much better. There didn’t seem to be a flow created by the songs chosen.  Hopefully, as things progress they will keep in mind which songs are strongest at capturing the audience AND which songs are the “hits” from their album (s).  These two factors will change experience of their live show greatly.

Opening and closing with the songs that fit that description the most will cause a burst of explosion at the beginning of the set and leave the crowd with something special on repeat in their mind as they leave.

I know all that may seem harsh and might turn people off from Infantree at first glance.

It should not though.  What you have here is the opportunity to witness greatness be realized by five incredible musicians.  This is just the beginning of a long journey for these guys.

It is going to be extra exciting to see their next show and see how they evolve from this experience.

Be sure to listen to their music and remember you can buy the album on iTunes.
Infantree

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Automatic Love Letter and A Cursive Memory in Los Angeles

It was as dark as San Diego but, at least it was lit interestingly.  Jacob of Automatic Love Letter at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles ©2009 Gary Livingston

It was as dark as San Diego but, at least it was lit interestingly. Jacob of Automatic Love Letter at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles ©2009 Gary Livingston

The second date of the ALL & ACM tour I ended up at was in Los Angeles.  The hometown show!  Well, LA is home to Jacob and a lot of the guys in the two bands at least.

The crowd really did not hide that fact.  It was everything the San Diego show should have been.  Too bad Soma sucks.

The Knitting Factory had great sound.  I was finally able to hear what the music should sound like and what fans hear on the albums.  It may have been a little loud for some people (I was wearing earplugs) but, the mix and clarity was a complete 180 from the Soma gig.

Magnify all the energy, all the fans, all the singing, and all the dancing of the Soma show by 2789 and you have the KF show.

The lighting was a bit of shit due to it being very underpowered.  I was shooting at about 1/10 of a second the whole show. That doesn’t do much at stopping action when you are shooting energetic people like Automatic Love Letter.  But, at least the lighting set up provided some sort of depth to the images.  It’s nice to have some side lighting and background lighting on stage instead of just a front light and anything not in that light’s path going completely black like in the Soma pictures.

This show made me understand how both bands fans could be so into their music. Especially, Automatic Love Letter.

Juliet of Automatic Love Letter at the Knitting Factor in Los Angeles ©2009 Gary Livingston

Juliet of Automatic Love Letter at the Knitting Factor in Los Angeles ©2009 Gary Livingston

Juliet is a very strong singer.  This fact went over my head at the Soma show due to the sound.  It’s kinda easy to read the talent of other components of a band even when the sound may be a little off.  The singer…not so much.  So, I want to make it clear she is very talented.

This show like San Diego had some time to hang out with the bands and their friends.  It was a cool vibe and everyone involved was fun to get to know.

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Automatic Love Letter in SD

Hanging out in A Cursive Memory's RV with the two bands.  Scope out the N64.  These dude's know how to roll.

Hanging out in A Cursive Memory's RV with the two bands. Scope out the N64. These dude's know how to roll.

The main reason to go to San Diego was to visit Jacob on his first tour stop near our home in LA. I got there a little early and spent some time hanging out with Jacob, the band he was touring with, Automatic Love Letter, and their supporting band, A Cursive Memory. (fuck yeah, dig on all those commas).

Jacob gave me a little tour of the areas of the venue he is used to spending time in. They included the “green room”:

Jacob in Soma's "green room" which happened to be blue.

Jacob in Soma's "green room" which happened to be blue.

And, of course the “artist bathroom”:

Jacob is upset we had to manually turn on the water to the sink and at the lock being something MacGuyver repaired in 20 seconds.

Jacob is upset we had to manually turn on the water to the sink and at the lock being something MacGuyver repaired in 20 seconds.

The MacGuyver lock

The MacGuyver lock

After getting the tour we hung out with the guys in A Cursive Memory until it was time for them to get on stage. Those guys are legit. They are generous with their living quarters, video games, and beverages. Big thanks for adopting me into their home on the road =) You can see those photos below in my earlier entry.

Automatic Love Letter went on immediately after A Cursive Memory. It was the same kind of experience as ACM’s set. A lot of bad sound and horrible lighting. At one point I thought Juliet’s vocals sounded like she was doing country. It was a very strange mix and if it were not for seeing them in Los Angeles I would have been left with the wrong idea of what ALL does.

Again, even though the sound and lighting were bad I was able to walk away with a few good notes. ALL’s fans are pretty excitable and connected to the band and the music. There was not a huge turn out but, the ones there were singing along and dancing. It made sense. Juliet lays herself out there pretty well. Even though the vocals sounded strange to me her energy transcended that.

Of course the other guys in the band were a joy to watch and brought some great energy. James looked like he was playing mathcore at one point. haha. Dude can headbang. It was a shame none of them were really well lit.

Juliet of Automatic Love Letter at Soma in San Diego ©2009 Gary Livingston

Juliet of Automatic Love Letter at Soma in San Diego ©2009 Gary Livingston

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A Cursive Memory in SD

A Cursive Memory at Soma in San Diego ©2009 Gary Livingston

A Cursive Memory at Soma in San Diego ©2009 Gary Livingston

Jacob Fatoorechi was recently on tour playing guitar in Automatic Love Letter.  I went and met up with him to hang out in San Diego and Los Angeles.  A Cursive Memory was the supporting band opening the whole tour.

The show at Soma was a fun time to hang out with all the people on the tour.  Unfortunately Soma’s side stage was a bit weak.  The sound was not very good. The lighting was super dark and all front lit with heaps of ugly ass red gels.

It  was hard to get a good idea of the music any of the bands were playing.  ACM did put on a fun show though.  They are all really fun guys and you get a good sense of that watching them on stage.

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Operation: Hit the Road

Services Page ©2009 Gary Livingston

Services Page ©2009 Gary Livingston


Bio Page ©2009 Gary Livingston

Bio Page ©2009 Gary Livingston

With summer approaching I am looking to get on to a tour with a musician/band.

I just finished up putting together a promotional piece to send to musicians, management, and publicists I know.

I wanted to keep it super concise and allow the images to do the talking from a personality stand point.

I think it does that job. Let me know your thoughts.

You can either view the images via the gallery or check the PDF out here:

If you know anyone in a touring band or involved with one please do me the favor of passing this on to them.

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