Category Archives: Live Reviews

M83 w/The Los Angeles Philharmonic – The Disney Concert Hall


M83 w/The Los Angeles Philharmonic
The Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, 03.07.09
Grade: 95%
by Kenny S. McGuane

For those tuned into the musical catalog of France’s M83,
a pairing of its epic-electronica vision with an orchestra may have
seemed obvious from the get go. For others though, it might only seem
obvious retrospectively. Those that were fortunate enough to have a
seat in downtown L.A.’s Disney Concert Hall on
Saturday night had the privilege of hearing selections of M83’s
decadent and window-shattering electronic music immersed in orchestral
settings played by none other than The Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Although popular music and classical music have certainly mixed before,
there was something very special about Saturday night’s concert: M83
and the L.A. Phil might be one of the most successful genre mash-ups of
all time, certainly one of the most unique. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE



Travis – Live at The Troubadour


West Hollywood, CA – 11.11.08
Grade: 89%
by Kenny S. McGuane

It’s still baffling that there is any debate over whether or not Travis are as good a band or better than Coldplay or Keane. Just mentioning the name Coldplay at a Travis concert is sure to get you several dozen beer bottles shattered in your eyes.

Of course Travis are better.

Sure, there’s no accounting for taste, but it comes down to which band
one heard first. As far as America is concerned, Scotland’s Travis were
in and out of the scene quicker than you can shout “Brit Pop!” Most
folks on this side of the pond are familiar with “Why Does It Always
Rain On Me?” and perhaps “Sing”, and if those same folks only heard the
singles and never bought the records, then Travis were just another
forgettable band who arrived too late to cash in on the Brit Pop
revolution, which was losing steam during the late 90s. Had record
consumers been paying closer attention to Travis, who debuted years
before both Coldplay and Keane, perhaps the former would have had a
better chance of survival in the States. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE



Cut Copy & The Presets – Live at the Glasshouse


Pomona, CA – 10.3.08
Grade: 88%
by Kenny S. McGuane

Ahhh The Inland Empire: Such a cultural wasteland and yet so
unavoidably a central part of the youthful and sociological composition
of Southern California.

The Glasshouse is situated about 30 miles east of
downtown Los Angeles in one of the Inland Empire’s most depressing and
bizarre cities called Pomona. The all-ages, booze-free club is inside a
disgracefully dilapidated shit-hole of a building where one of its most
apparent oversights is central air conditioning. Thankfully Southern
California temperatures had cooled down quite a bit on Friday night. To
be inside of that building on any normal late summer/early fall evening
where the average temperature in Pomona is hovering somewhere around 92
degrees would have surely landed a few people in the hospital. Perhaps
considering the building’s geographic location, and its either broken
or non-existent air conditioning system, it’s a really good idea to NOT



Paul Weller – Live at the Wiltern Theater


Los Angeles, CA – 9.3.08
Grade: 89%
by Kenny S. McGuane

I remember the first time I heard The Jam and how everything about the music sounded important.
In other words, the music was so exciting and instantaneously addictive
that I didn’t have to do any research to verify how significant—and
exceedingly influential—The Jam must have been. Despite being broken up
for over twenty years, the impact of The Jam is as strong today as
ever. Almost every modern British rock band in recent memory is, from
where I sit, totally transparent about acknowledging—both musically and
aesthetically—the authority The Jam has on contemporary music from the
United Kingdom; after all, imitation is the best form of flattery. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE


Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Live At Verizon Wireless Amphitheater


Irvine, CA
by Kenny S. McGuane

Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine sucks.

used to be called Irvine Meadows. Been there a few times to see various
other acts and every time is a letdown. Don’t get me wrong; it’s never
the performer’s fault. It’s the outdoor theater’s fault. It seats
uncomfortably about 15,000 people. Just like most other outdoor
theaters, the acoustics are god-awful…extraordinarily bad. So bad it
often makes it hard to enjoy the music, or rather, always makes it hard
to enjoy the music.

Last Friday’s Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers show was no exception.

But there were other factors that made for a less than desirable concert-going experience. It felt
oversold. I have never witnessed this many people in one place at once
time for one artist. Good news for Tom Petty, bad news for
ticket-buyers. We had lawn seats and making it to and from the bathroom
was impossible. There were two of the worst girl fights I have ever
witnessed…all for the damn bathrooms. These were exceedingly violent
and bloody fights. Between the crowds and the inability to distance
myself from the fights, there was plenty going on that made me very

Also — forgive the snobbery — Tom Petty seems to draw a pretty white-trash laden crowd. Never in my life have I seen so many Southern California
lowlifes packed into one spot, aggressive, rude, and drunken slobs who
would have picked a fight with anyone they felt had overstepped their

So a good chunk of the Tom Petty show I had so looked forward to was a major downer. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE


The Enemy UK: Live at The Troubadour


West Hollywood, Los Angeles – 08.06.08
by Kenny S. McGuane

I got beat up on Wednesday night.

Not by gangsters or anything like that; I was accosted by rock & roll. West Hollywood’s legendary Troubadour hosted a musically varied mid-week show featuring two Los Angeles-based bands—Gran Ronde and Castaneda—and the NME-endorsed Coventry, England rock & roll purists The Enemy UK.

The always professional and grateful Gran Ronde started on time, forcing them to play to a pretty empty house. That didn’t seem to bother them though. They played with as much energy and focus as I’ve seen them do when they’re playing to a much larger audience. They covered plenty of material from their excellent debut record Secret Rooms and held the relatively small audience captive with their sophisticated new-wave revivalist rock. Castaneda followed shortly thereafter playing to a slightly larger crowd and had a similar impact as Gran Ronde on the early birds who had showed up to be abused by The Enemy UK. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE


Lucero: Live at The Echo


Echo Park, Los Angeles – 07.24.08
Kenny S. McGuane

I was totally minding my own business. Actually, I was taking care of business whilst standing there at the urinal with my eyes glued to the highly informative STD poster hanging on the wall in front of me. Did you know you can get HPV from a towel? Just then, the shaved-headed young man next to me glanced toward my lower torso and exclaimed in the thickest southern accent I had ever heard in L.A., “Hey, man! Nice belt!”

“Huh?” I responded, totally perplexed while never once taking my eyes off the wall in front of me.

“Nice belt!” the southern gentlemen said once again. “Oh, I ain’t lookin’ at yer stuff er nothin’. I AIN’T GAY, no sir. But dang, man, that’s a real nice belt!” he explained. “Oh, um. Thanks, man.” I nervously replied. He then zipped up his pants, patted me on the back—I was still taking care of business—and while exiting the bathroom shouted “Wulp, see ya around, man!”

Last Thursday night at The Echo was a different kind of night with a different kind of crowd. Not different in a bad way, no sir; it was different in a welcomed and most awesome way. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE