Wednesday, August 28, 2013

X at Pershing Square- "You simply do NOT watch X from a f*cking lawn chair. That just isn't right!" -

X at Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles - August 17th, 2013

As I headed into LA to go see X for free (no less) at Pershing Square I was feeling pretty stoked. The drive was actually pretty pleasant, the weather perfect and I hadn't seen the iconic LA punkers since 2008 at the San Diego Street Scene which was a kind of odd gig for them. People seemed kind of blase and more content to mill about than really get into the music and it seemed the band wasn't feeling it that much either although they sounded really great. I was ready for this night to be different.

While I waited in line kamikaze skateboarders were blazing insanely down a one way hilly street into oncoming traffic. They were being stupid: yes but it was somewhat entertaining. The skaters shared the street stage with a bride and groom who were staging a photo session in downtown traffic amidst angry drivers who just want to get home from work. People were honking and such and getting kind of irate but in the end the photographer got the shot and a few people applauded. Once the line started moving and people entered one of two entrances to the park the males and females were split off (yes seriously) where the female's purses were gone through and guys were scanned with a metal detector wand. I know public safety is paramount but I was seriously expecting to be patted down or worse.

Beyond the body checks, I couldn't believe how many of the more middle aged folks brought lawn chairs and other picnic type accoutrements. The brain kind of spun in cranium. Two possibilities dangled in front of me. X fans (first wave fans) are damn old. The second possibility was that many of these people were just those super frugal concert goers who descend on any free concert in the summer and don't really pay attention to who is playing. By the nights end it was clear that it was a combination of both but one thing is absolutely sure: YOU do not fucking watch the iconic punk band X with your ass on a lawn chair! That is just not right.

There were other things that struck me as odd and unfortunate. The stage was set up way back from the metal concert barriers separated by 10 rows of metal chairs for "VIP Seating." This not only prevented those who stood in line early to get right up front from getting anywhere up front but those rarefied folks who were in that section blocked the view to the band (once they stood up) from many vantage points. The whole vip section was just plain ill conceived and frankly didn't seem very punk. In fact as I watched the people enter the VIP area, mostly 40 and 50 somethings, some with kids it felt more wrong. I overheard some of the Vips speaking to security and it was clear that many were friends of LA politicians. Others did seem to be friends of the band and I understand that friends of the band and other VIPs are going to have special access at any show but it would of been better if they got to stand in the wings or watch from stage left or right.

Once the opening band finished and X sauntered on stage, all the negativity left my body. Just seeing John Doe, Exene, Billy Zoom and Bonebrake get in position to do what they do best got me so damn amped up. By now Pershing Square had swelled to record capacity. I didn't realize it at the time having propped myself up against the far right barricade but standing on my toes and looking back was amazing. The crowd was going nuts. Those who were planning on picnicking throughout X's set had another thing coming. The push forward and the sheer amount of bodies clamoring for any open patch of grass or concrete forced those lawn chairs to be folded up and cast aside. I can imagine that some of those lawn chairs got stomped on, banged up and lost.

Some online pics (in particular at smugmug give you an idea how jam packed the park became as X took the stage. The white arrow shows me up against the barricade and while I was far to the right of the stage I got as good a view as possible considering the large armed security who seemed to love blocking peoples view. Maybe these guys should stand back, way back and view through scopes or whatever but it sucks that a number of people in my area were constantly having to crane their necks to see around these guys.

As X tore into one classic song after another the energy in the crowd amped up more and more. The VIP area ended up being only two thirds full if that and there was no need for chairs there because everyone was standing. There were also a few guys in the VIP section taking pics, standing on chairs further blocking a lot of peoples view but the music was so damn potent. X was hitting it on all cylinders and a good number of people in the crowd sang along. When John Doe sang. "She had to leave..." the entire crowd sang "LOS ANGELES" with Exene. It was one of those awesome moments.

Every song actually sounded better, more urgent, more ferocious then the album tracks. All incredible, Johny Hit and Run Paulene, Unheard Music, White Girl, Nausea, Hungry Wolf, Year One, Sugarlight were special stand outs to me as was the incredible Soul Kitchen that John Doe dedicated to Ray Manzarek. At one point, John Doe seemed to want to say something to the crowd and stammered a bit saying that he didn't know what to say to so many people. He acknowledged that X has always been popular in LA and yes it was a free show as if to say that is why there were so many people. He might of been partially correct but the main reason it was so packed is that it was fucking X and they were thankfully, unequivocally pumping out an incredible set and their music still sounded more powerful and wonderfully chaotic than a hell of a lot of current bands who just cannot muster up the punk magic that X has always been able to create so seemingly effortlessly. They are the real deal, that's all there is to it.

 For the most part the set moved non stop. A little banter between John and Exene and, of course, Billy Zoom in his classic crazy smiling pose. The crowd became more compact as the night wore on, there was a fair amount of crowd surfing, as much moshing as can happen when people are packed in like sardines and some people just freaking out. One guy who was probably in his 50's was going ballistic yelling at a security guard. They were butting heads and this guy was dropping atomic sized F bombs. Apparently, him and his wife and their lawn chair wanted out. They could not handle the punk mayhem around them and the dude was just losing it. Finally, the big (obviously) senior security dude who was packing heat kindly let them leave, go past the barrier and exit.

The security guards were walking on egg shells the entire night. They seemed to me to be super paranoid that the crowd could surge and in trying to stamp down your normal concert behavior (like crowd surfing) by shining their flashlights in people faces, in my mind, they just were stirring people up to be more unruly. At a certain point, the front barricade was practically folding over and people were flopping onto the empty chairs that were at the back of the VIP area. It was becoming a safety issue and security guards started pulling the chairs away, folding them up and tossing them up next to the stage. It made me laugh because those chairs shouldn't of been there in the first place. The VIP section shouldn't of been there either.

In the beginning and in the end, X is the ultimate Los Angeles punk band and are meant to be seen close up as you are standing leaning forward and either cheering them on, moshing or dancing but NOT sitting down and ABSOLUTELY not lounging in a beach chair. Holy fuck (again) that is just wrong. It was wonderful to see people of all ages singing along. A girl next to me who was probably 19 and who was obviously a big X fan told me it was the first time seeing them and that it was the best show she had ever witnessed. She was truly moved, a memory created that will last her whole life. I can imagine many people shared that same experience there in Pershing Square despite the venues many shortcomings. Yes, indeed, X absolutely killed it. They played an incredible set (and encore) and renewed my faith in LA punk (once again).

Robb Donker

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

together Pangea - Snake Dog video - directed by Lincoln Caplice

Pangea, um I mean "together" Pangea just released the video for Snakedog a song that I heard them first perform early this year. The boys have always been awesome to see in close quarters at house and warehouse shows so it is so perfect that director Lincoln Caplice makes the video as intimate as an orgy with bodies rocking out and golden showers of beer. Check out the video as well as the LIVE version of the Snakedog I shot at the Echoplex back in February were they punch up the tempo even more. Turn it up and enjoy!
Robb Donker

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

TRACK REVIEW: Unseen Things by Flashbulb Fires

Unseen Things

As the song Unseen Things by Flashbulb Fires starts out, the synth drone sounds beautiful. It sparkles like multicolored glass in the sun light but as the song continues to build it also sounds so very somber as well. It is the fragility of this song, the earnestness of the melodies and vocal performance that makes lyrics like, "I saw an angel through my telephone right from the heavens throwing down a rope and if you love me won't you let me know" not sound hokey or overly melodramatic.

Unseen Things creates emotional images that touch you before slowly evaporating into the ether. I am sure this song will grace a number of people's lives maybe at their hardest times. It is that kind of song, one to cry to or look inside oneself when that needs to be done and that can never be a bad thing.
Robb Donker

Read a bit of the back story of this track and stream the track here and as always, if you end up caring about this band / artist I hope you will give them your love and support.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rad plus Awesome equals Radsome- Bleached at the historic El Ray in LA- 8/18/13

RAD plus AWESOME equals RADSOME- seriously it does. If Jennifer says it then it must be so.

Bleached performs at the historic El Rey in LA in support of Best Coast and with The Lovely Bad Things-- cool!

Best Coast finally play the Best West Coast- LOS ANGELES- El Rey - August 18th- check out videos

After seemingly touring everywhere but on the west coast (specifically So Cal), Best Coast graced LA with a performance at the historic El Rey Theater and from the packed sold out house it was evident that So Cal was eagerly wanting a piece of Best Coast. Listen to the crowd reaction when Bethany finally does her hometown battle cry of "LOS ANGELES!"

Great night of music with support by Bleached and The Lovely Bad Things-

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Steve Cradock to release New Solo Album- "Travel Wild- Travel Free" drops September 30th


Paul Weller / Ocean Colour Scene guitar legend Steve Cradock announces the release of his third solo album, coming September 30th, plus a full UK tour.

His third solo album ‘Travel Wild – Travel Free’ on Monday the 30th September on Proper Records.
A founding member of the iconic Britpop band Ocean Colour Scene and guitarist for Paul Weller since 1992, the Solihull native has long been regarded as one of Britain’s most talented musicians and a part of the country’s musical heritage.

The affection and knowledge for his craft amassed over the years are truly tangible on the latest thoughtfully constructed 13-track album. Ever the savvy collaborator, Steve co-produced the album with his wife Sally Cradock, who also provides vocals, and enlisted the help of Squeeze’s Chris Difford to co-write the track “10,000 Times”.

The record radiates relevant retro as a 21st century ode to Sixties psychedelia. From the get go, dreamy opener “Any Way The Wind Blows” immerses us in an exploration of sounds in the best of British musical tradition. Steve’s skilled song writing and expert multi-instrumentalism are evident on tracks such as “Sheer Inertia” and “Travel Wild – Travel Free”. This record is a true labour of love from a man who clearly knows how to write and use catchy hooks, hip vibes and lush melodies.
Travel Wild – Travel Free proves once again Steve’s knack for creating music that feels at once familiar and innovative, music that both transcends and cements itself in our country’s cultural tome.

Tour Dates

Sat 26/10 Leeds – The Wardrobe
Mon 28/10 Liverpool – East Village Arts Club
Tues 29/10 Newcastle – Cluny
Wed 30/10 Glasgow – Oran Mor
Fri 1/11 Birmingham – Library, The Institute
Sat 2/11 Sheffield – Leadmill
Mon 4/11 London – Scala
Tues 5/11 Brighton – Komedia
Wed 6/11 Manchester – Deaf Institute
Thurs 7/11 Nottingham – Bodega
Fri 8/11 Bristol – Thekla

Friday, August 16, 2013

NORTHBEND LIVE - mash up video The Lovely Bad Things (special appearance by that Christopher Walken T)

Every now and then American Pancake delves a bit into videos that actually require some editing as opposed to all the raw performance videos we post up guerilla FM style. For Northbend LIVE, we mashed up The Lovely Bad Things performing the same song at various venues. Initially, the idea was to fade both the video and audio tracks seamlessly together shifting only about 4 times from one venue to the next but that is just waaaay to easy. Instead we edited in different footage all over one parent video so they all share the same audio bed. It was a pretty tricky endeavor and at times it is difficult to tell what audio is really matching the video.

Special appearance by Sean Soloman from Moses Campbell who happily does insane stage dives at one LA venue. And our favorite T-shirt face ever, tha of Christopher Walken which also appears in the 2012 video we produced of a live performance of "I Just Want You To Go Away" after being approached by Volcom Entertainment to do so. That particular video also used footage shot by Assembly Line Productions.

I love that shirt! 

Video Premiere: Weird Womb's "Pale Piss" on CMJ

CMJ Premieres the new video for
Weird Womb's "Pale Piss" --
the first single from the band's
debut 7" Ruined By The 90's, out 8/21


"The less-than-luxurious location where the Brooklyn-based foursome filmed the video 'Pale Piss' is fitting. The track is grimy and thick-tongued, weighed down by drunk guitars and Dakota Pollock’s phlegmy growl."

8/21 | Cake Shop - 7" Release Show
| with The Dardys, Dutch Bats

8/31 | The Studio at Webster Hall
| with Young Adults, Pile, Big Ups

"'Pale Piss' is a grimy rush of garage rock indebted to a couple of teen (anti-)idols: Richard Hell and the Voidoids and the Replacements."

“These guys don’t waste any time. Make it concise. Make it tight. And make it loud. Get in. Do it. Get out."

"Their music rings of the careless trash bashing rock of the early 80′s. The pearl of punk, when it was forming in New York City’s downtown shell. It’s noise from boredom, but it isn’t put on like many of the other rock acts today. It doesn’t sound lethargic, but frenetic."

Weird Womb are four misfit childhood friends from Tucson. They straddle a fine line musically between garage punk and frenetic high energy rock n' roll, proudly displaying a lineage as much influenced by the Voidoids as the Replacements.
Charismatic front man Dakota Pollock injects a chaotic element to an otherwise very tight and organized band. Intelligent, though self-deprecating lyrically, Pollock's sneering delivery possesses an anthemic quality that distinguishes the band from many of their contemporaries.
Ruined by the 90's is the perfect supercharged introduction to this exciting young band. Pick up a copy of the record and catch them live at Cake Shop on Wednesday 8/21 & Saturday 8/31 at Webster Hall (Studio) with Young Adults, Pile, and Big Ups.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Album Review: Mission Bulb by Yes I'm Leaving - a sonic trip worth taking

The first track, Creepyman, I heard off of Mission Bulb the latest album by the 3 piece noise rock band Yes, I'm Leaving (out of Sydney, Australia) left me pulling the blankets over my face. It is the kind of mind numbing intense acidic hard rock that would perfectly fit the latest remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It is Black Sabbath meets Nirvana meets Charles Manson. Intense for sure and while it engaged me (like it was supposed to) it didn't necessarily get my expectations up.
Nevertheless,there was something in this song that pulled me in and so I pushed play from the first track like you should when you listen to an album for the first time. From the first 15 seconds on track one - Endless Mind- these guys got their hooks in me. The jagged guitar lines pumping with the drums felt like a grungier version of the hardest Smashing Pumpkins song. The guitar breaks took interesting turns, Song For You also diverted from the direct rock psychosis of Creepyman but is just as intense. The descending nature of the chord progression almost has a Beatle-esque flavor buried in the rock intensity that almost felt a little like Queens Of The Stonage.

By the time Puts You in the Ground hit my ears it was evident that Yes, I'm Leaving while bathed in over-modulated vocals and serious rock chops also exhibit in their sound some really elegant rock melodies that elevate them above the average noise / garage / post punk band. Hey! My Soul Will Heal has a super cool heavy groove and a narcotic edgy lead assault but breathes dynamically letting us hear Bill Burke's vocals in a more natural state. This is a slow burner and one of the stand outs on this record. Four Chorder continues with a more spartan sound but erupts into a more 90's grunge rock indie feel. Undertow continues to sway in an almost Pablo Honey-esque 90's rock milieu. It is lush sleepy ballad really. Another total surprise, another flavor.

Creepyman is back and the tonal shift from Undertow is so striking. It also makes more sense to me after hearing the different strains of rock that these Aussies crank out. You Can Try has a straight forward party meets psychedelia feel with a manic underbelly. It is perfect for shuffle dancing while holding your beer without spilling much of it. There is something almost surf punky in this one as well. Mission Bulb (track 9) cooks and feels like a blend of this bands heavier tunes and more mellow indie (mellow for these guys is not that mellow).

There are a lot of songs on Mission Bulb that beg to be listened to live but maybe on the top of my list would be Wait. It has so many tasty parts, heavy grooves, is dynamically charged and explodes at all the right times. Love this song. I know this sounds weird but as I listened to it I thought of Stone Temple Pilots, The Dead Kennedys and Queens of The Stone Age (again) all at once. This surprisingly varied album ends with a sultry shifty dangerous sounding song called JimJam which is some distant way channels Led Zeppelin. Yeah, it does.

In the end, Mission Bulb has a lot to offer. On one hand, stylistically it can feel a little bit all over the place but then I will take that over a one tone type of band any day. If this is, indeed, an album with multiple personalities they all take you on different sonic trips that are worth taking. Yes, I'm Leaving is my discovery of the week. Good job guys.

Robb Donker

Monday, August 12, 2013

M83 to perform with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles


M83 makes music that colors your landscape, no matter where you go. It lifts you up and inspires you, it embraces and carries you when you need it most and with Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming it’s the record that keeps on giving. Now we are calling upon you, the fans to give back and become part of the experience.

On Sunday, September 22nd M83 will perform at the famed Hollywood Bowl accompanied by a number of special guests, including members of the LA Philharmonic Orchestra.

Performing to an audience that stretches as far as the horizon, the band will perform material not only from the critically acclaimed and Grammy Nominated album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, but also a selection of key tracks from M83’s earlier albums. Inspired by the love and overwhelming fan response Anthony Gonzalez has received over the past two years he has decided to partner up with Genero for a video contest to create visuals for two of the tracks that will be performed on that night; namely “Intro” and “Moonchild.” The winning videos will be selected by Gonzalez personally and will become the official videos for both of these special tracks.

The two winners will each receive $4,000 in addition to their debut at a live M83 event.  The winners, as well as a selection of the best entries will also be screened at a special event during the Zookastar Festival in London on Saturday, November 2nd along with a combination of M83 videos from their diverse catalog and in conjunction with the Tricky Special taking place at the same event.

To see what my music can do to people and what happened on this album is truly incredible and unexpected…I’m really happy.”
-Anthony Gonzalez

M83 is Los Angeles based French artist Anthony Gonzalez.

M83: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | Youtube

Mute: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Sunday, August 11, 2013



Is there anything more to say?? I don't think so!

Details here:

Big Black Delta