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Ty Segall, Iggy Pop and Chicano Batman Shine at Uneven FYF Fest; Nine Inch Nails Closes with ‘Hurt’

Fest May Return to Historic Park in 2018


Performances by Ty Segall, Chicano Batman, and Iggy Pop highlighted an otherwise uneven FYF Fest last weekend at Exposition Park.

Rumor has it that the event — which attendees say suffered logistical challenges —  could be moving back to Historic Park in Chinatown next year.

Chicano Batman frontman Bardo Martinez dances at FYF – Photo by Donna Balancia

Parking snafus and entrance issues occurred Friday night and delays at ticket pickup were out of the ordinary.  But the diverse if not unusual lineup mix of Frank Ocean, Bjork, Solange, Missy Elliott, Run The Jewels and Nine Inch Nails were enough to please any eclectic taste and were worth the logistical challenges some encountered.

Iggy Pop leaps during performance Sunday in Exposition Park - Photo by Donna Balancia

Iggy Pop leaps during performance Sunday in Exposition Park – Photo by Donna Balancia

It was the acts on the Lawn Stage on Sunday that stole the show. Iggy Pop, Ty Segall, Cherry Glazerr, Chicano Batman and Run The Jewels ran away with the prize before thousands of enthusiastic moshers.

Cherry Glazerr

Cherry Glazerr’s upbeat and charming performance is always a hit with locals in Los Angeles.  The band has a style that is unique, a combination of punk and new-alternative and the musicianship is vintage.

Cherry Glazerr - Photo Donna Balancia

Cherry Glazerr – Photo by Donna Balancia

Ty Segall

The remarkably talented Ty Segall is a regular at the July festival and as usual he gave his all, wasting no time and kicking off his set with “Play Your Guitar” and treating the crowd to his abstract and wild style. The moshers and crowd surfers warmed up with him and put on the full press with Iggy.

Video courtesy of Prestoff2000

Iggy Pop Whips a Frenzy

One thing about the King of Punk, there is experience, longevity and a surprising dose of humility as his set came at sunset on the Lawn Stage. #IggyPop has come off a wildly successful run touring with Josh Homme for Post Pop Depression.

Iggy’s Career

He opened by running on stage and drawing in the crowd with “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” a song that has endured throughout a 50-year career.  Iggy’s work may have been misunderstood in the day, but one trademark about a good song – it endures the test of time.

Iggy Pop – Photo by Donna Balancia

Search and Destroy

Iggy’s music may not have been understood when he was in his teens and 20s mainly because there was no frame of reference to anything like it.  Now today with YouTube, he has achieved worldwide acclaim and praise from big bands who draw on him as their inspiration.

Iggy Pop shows ’em how it’s done – Photo by Donna Balancia

Inspiring Iggy

And inspire he did as he sang an impassioned hour-long set, sweating, spitting, falling down on stage, whipping the floor, throwing the mic stand, putting the microphone in his pants,  and, well … just being Iggy.  The crowd of surfers and moshers left their black and blue marks on many in the aftermath of Iggy’s tight music, which ranged from Stooges songs to the David Bowie-produced selections off The Idiot.

Iggy in the prime of his career – Photo by Donna Balancia

Chicano Batman

Chicano Batman, the local LA band with crossover appeal, really played their hearts out to their thousands of adoring fans. With Bardo and the crew, it’s always a classy affair that draws an enormous crowd. The band has grown so popular they’ve been running meet-and-greet events after their performances.

Video courtesy of Alex Pena

Chicano Batman shows love to the audience – Photo by Donna Balancia

Run The Jewels

Run The Jewels brought the fans and didn’t disappoint. Their infamous music and stage presence is well earned and they build new followers by the dozens.

Check out Run The Jewels video courtesy of EdNLA:

Mainstream Performers

Not to be overlooked are the performances that earned mainstream media attention.

When you have a famous sister and you ate seeking your own path, what better way to be noticed than to do a local festival. Often. Solange is no stranger to the annual July festival.

“Her performance is great and I love her songs,” said Elvia Martinez of Silverlake. “She is different than Beyonce.”

Check out Solange video, courtesy of Prestoff2000

Missy Elliott

Missy Elliott brought her girl power crew of supporters and fans, she’s a survivor.

Video courtesy of EdNLA:


As far as productions go, #FlyingLotus #Bjork and Nine Inch Nails took the honors from fest goers for most amazing and mind-blowing experiences:

Flying Lotus

Video courtesy Joan Jetsetter, Bruno Pritchard (warning: pulsating light)



Bjork never disappoints and this time around, the Icelandic talent outdid herself complete with full orchestra.   Video courtesy of Prestoff2000


Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails, while giving a taste of new songs, did not finish with the now infamous David Bowie song “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” but performed it in the middle of a great mix of old and new tunes. The #NIN version of “I Can’t Give Everything Away” by Bowie was hardly upbeat as the song comes from Black Star, the album Bowie created while dying.

It was worth the three year wait to see Trent Reznor show his stuff as the frontman of a band that has always been known for dynamic performances and intriguing musical dynamic.


Ending Fest on a Downer

#NiN actually wrapped up the night with “Hurt,” the ultimate downer tune covered by Johnny Cash. That was the encore.

(If you really want bizarre Check out the perverted Kermit The Frog version of “Hurt” on YouTube.

In any event, the last note of the festival was fitting for an event that has enjoyed many years of attendance, with a local LA flavor that may or may not be a taste for the masses.



Review: John Kay and Steppenwolf; True Classic Rockers Still Put on a Fierce Show 60 Years Later

Musicians Can Take a Lesson From this Classic Rocker


John Kay and his band Steppenwolf take a step back in time during each performance.

The famous rocker whose band is known for superhits “Born To Be Wild,” and “Magic Carpet Ride,” among others still has what it takes all these years later — and he thanks the fans for a life well-lived.

Photo © 2017 Heather Harris

Photo © 2017 Heather Harris

“The fans have been great over the years,” he said. “They’re still with us, although a lot of them went off to Vietnam.”

Steppenwolf started in a garage on Fountain Ave. in LA and was a staple on the Sunset Strip.

Six decades later, Kay and Steppenwolf are in their sixth decade.  He’s Steppenwolf’s vocalist and primary song writer and he has survived personnel changes and good times as well as tough times in the world of music.

Photo © 2017 Heather Harris

Photo © 2017 Heather Harris

His passion is his Maue Kay Foundation’s Wild Life conservation and human rights projects.

John and Steppenwolf play about 10 to 12 shows a year. This is one of the true founders of rock music and the show is a must-see.

Opening at the Saban for Steppenwolf were The Hailers a band that rocks the house. Robert Mills and April Carson Hailer keep it real and deliver dynamic sounds.  This is the second time we’ve been lucky enough to see The Hailers and they seem to keep getting better every performance.

The Hailers’ catchy upbeat rock songs are great and the band will be coming out with an album soon.

Photo © 2017 Heather Harris

Photo © 2017 Heather Harris

Living Colour Gives Wild Performance On Aerosmith’s U.S. Blue Army Tour

Living Colour Brings Energy and Alternative Funk to the HOB

Corey Glover of Living Colour - Photo © Donna B

Corey Glover of Living Colour – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA — Living Colour packed the House of Blues Anaheim with their funky, punk-influenced music and wild performance, a hint of what to expect on their tour with Aerosmith.

The Blue Army Tour just wrapped.

“We wouldn’t miss their show,” said Molly, with her boyfriend Joe, regulars at the Living Colour shows since the 1980s.  And after seeing the concert Thursday, we see there’s a good reason for Molly’s many years of devotion.

To put it mildly, Living Colour kicked ass, with lead guitarist Vernon Reid jamming, Corey Glover singing his heart out, Doug Wimbish killin’ it on a wild bass, and Will Calhoun driving the jams on drums. Living Colour will be on the road in a supporting role with Aerosmith’s Blue Army Tour.

Living Color hasn’t lost a beat since the heydays of the 1980s and kept up with the HOB audience, which sang along word for word with each song.

Doug Wimbish of Living Colour - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Doug Wimbish of Living Colour – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The band, which falls into the rare niche category of “black men who perform funky-punk-alternative” gave a performance in Anaheim that will long be remembered by the 16-to-60s on hand.  For those who’ve seen Living Colour at CBGB or the Ritz in the day, they’ll remember the bandmembers were  known for their ability to whip up the audience with funky tunes while also whipping their dreadlocks.

Glover’s commanding voice, one of the best around, pulls all the emotion out of some of the multiple GRAMMY Award-winning band’s top tunes, including opener “Who Shot Ya,” “Cult of Personality,” “Desperate People,” and “Middle Man.”

Glover moves pretty well — and in fact climbed through the audience and to the upper decks — singing the whole way, bodyguard in tow.  His trademark dreads are gone and have been replace by a cap, but his remarkable voice remains stronger than ever.

The band’s founder, Reid, is one of the most diverse guitarists around, ripping riffs that blew the audience away.  It’s incredible the rig he travels with — any visitor checking out the equipment should have a degree in sound engineering to follow his work.  For such a sophisticated technologist, he’s  understated, making it look easy and smiling through the performance as the audience got down with the sound. He’s got Pedals ranging from Whammy and Ring Worm to the old-fashioned Synth Wah and the gamut.  Premier Guitar does a nice job chatting him up about his equipment HERE.

Corey Glover - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Corey Glover – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Calhoun’s drumming keeps things moving nicely and his solos were greeted with screams and whooping from the packed Anaheim venue.  Bassist Wimbish has brought a new dimension to the band that’s reminicent of the Bad Brains in style, throwing the audience back with his powerful bass lines, flailing arms and cool moves.

At show’s end, Glover gave props and sent regards to his friends Fishbone and Bad Brains, as both bands had a huge impact on Living Colour’s music and style.

The tour happens now and those who live in the area who are fortunate to catch a glimpse of Living Colour will have a memorable experience. Living Colour and Aerosmith can be seen at Prospera Place in Kelowna, BC on Monday night, the tour moves on to Las Vegas Aug. 1 and wraps up at the Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, Aug. 7.

Vernon Reid, left, with Corey Glover - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Vernon Reid, left, with Corey Glover – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

LA’s Teragram Ballroom Books Hottest New York, International Lineup

Teragram Ballroom Latest Downtown LA Hot Spot

By DONNA BALANCIA – Tom Verlaine brings Television to the Teragram Ballroom Thursday and Friday nights.

Television led the New York charge in the punk-alternative genre in the 1970s and early 1980s. The band’s appearance at the Teragram Ballroom is not be missed by any fan of “old guard” avant-garde.

Television is comprised of guitarist and vocalist Verlaine, Fred Smith on bass, guitarist Jimmy Rip and Billy Ficca on drums.        READ REVIEW HERE 7/3

Television leads an all-star lineup of hot acts set to play at The Teragram Ballroom, LA’s newest venue.

Verlaine is considered one of our premier guitarists and writers, achieving admiration of punks and scribes alike since he started Television with co-founder Richard Hell in the early 1970s. Hell left the band and went on to front Richard Hell and the Voidoids and enjoy an eclectic and artistic career (including starring roles in the films Blank Generation and Smithereens).

Verlaine, who paid his dues at CBGB with the likes of Patti Smith, Blondie, The Talking Heads and The Ramones, has varied little from his well-known style over the years. His East Coast roots continue to show through.        READ REVIEW HERE 7/3

So it’s appropriate that Television takes the stage at the new Teragram Ballroom venue, which could be considered a younger and greener cousin of the clubs that basked in the East Coast spotlight back in the day.  Teragram Ballroom is the brainchild of N.Y.-based Michael Swier, the power behind the Bowery Ballroom and the Mercury Lounge.

Opening for Television on Thursday is Phoebe Bridgers and on Friday, Miya Folick takes the stage first.

Television has been touring Europe and recently performed the band’s 1977 debut album, Marquee Moon.  After L.A., upcoming U.S. dates include the Warhol at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh.

The Replacements Tour: You Can Go Home Again

The Replacements Tour, The Replacements California Rocker

Courtesy of NBC

ST. PAUL, Minnesota — The Replacements Tour took a turn home Saturday night as the legendary band knocked out the crowd in St. Paul.

The Replacements headlined their first show in there more than 20 years, knocking out the crowd.

Read about The Replacements’ upcoming gigs at East Coast

The Replacements Tour

The Replacements played their home state of Minnesota and gave a knockout appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon the other night.

After the New York concert at Forest Hills, The Replacements tour will play Summer Ends Music Festival on Sept. 27 in Tempe, Ariz. and two weekends of the Austin City Limits Festival on Oct. 5 and Oct. 12 in Austin.

The Replacements were first formed in 1978 as the band Dog’s Breath.  The original band was comprised of guitarists Paul and Tom Stinson, lead singer Paul Westerberg and drummer Chris Mars. The band’s first album was Sorry Ma I Forgot To Take Out the Trash, released in 1981 and the band embarked on its first U.S. Tour in 1983.  The Replacements broke up in 1991, but reunited for a Replacements tour in 2012.

For tickets and more information on The Replacements Tour check out their website. 

Joe Strummer’s 1963 Ford Thunderbird Goes Up for Bid

By DONNA BALANCIA, BEVERLY HILLS — Want to cruise around like The Clash frontman Joe Strummer did in Los Angeles?

Then you can buy Strummer’s 1963 Chalfont Blue Ford Thunderbird, going up for sale by the Beverly Hills Car Club via Ebay.

The car is on sale through Thursday, Aug. 21, Strummer’s birthday.  He would be 62 years old.  Strummer died on Dec. 22, 2002, from congenital heart failure.

Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer drove the car mainly in 1987 and 1988 while living in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles.  At the time, he recorded his first solo album, Earthquake Weather, apart from The Clash, the band which he founded with Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Nicky Headon.

“This is such a special car to me,” said Alex Manos, owner of Beverly Hills Car Club. “He was one of a kind, just like this car. Joe had an enormous love for American cars and I feel it’s serendipitous that this beautiful 1963 Ford Thunderbird is coming to us for sale.”

 The Clash was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

Sillerman Brings Rock in Rio to Vegas May 2015

SFX Founder Robert Silerman California Rocker

SFX Founder Robert Sillerman – Photo courtesy Mitsu Yasukawa, LA Times

Financial Reporters ‘Stunned’ by SFX Q4 Conference Call

-NEW YORK — Amid what pundits speculate may be the downhill side of the EDM festival era, SFX has invested in Rock in Rio, a well-known Brazilian music festival, which will come to Las Vegas in May of 2015.

Founded by Roberto Medina, Rock in Rio attracted 1.4 million fans the year it started in 1985.  Since then, there have been 13 Rock in Rio festivals, attracting performers like Rihanna, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen.  This summer in Portugal, Lorde, Justin Timberlake and the Rolling Stones are scheduled to perform at the Rock in Rio show.

SFX Entertainment acquired a 50 percent stake in the company and brought the event to the U.S.  SFX was founded by Robert F.X. Sillerman, a renown producer of mostly EDM events and festivals.

But lately, Sillerman has come into the news for activities other than acquisitions.

A lawsuit was filed against him in federal court in Los Angeles by three DJs — Paolo Moreno who promotes Disco Donnie Estopinal, brother Gabriel Moreno, and another DJ manager Lawrence Vavra — claiming fraud and breach of contract against Sillerman and SFX Chairman Sheldon Finkel.

Ben Green of BD Capital blurts out a question about covering up deals

Transcript of SFXE Q4 conference call

A restatement was issued by SFX earlier this week after a botched Q4 conference call that drew the ire of at least one analyst who accused Sillerman of covering up deals.  The replay of the conference call, typically available for a period of time after the event, has been removed following torrents of press recounting the incident.

“I’ve never heard a quarterly earnings call like that ever before,” said a longtime financial reporter. “It was laced with profanity and it was very unprofessional and seemed like a borderline setup.  Maybe it was an early April Fool’s joke.”

Elsewhere, a few days ago, following a trampling incident that left a security guard in critical condition, Mayor Tomas Regalado said he wants to pull the plug for good on Miami’s Ultrafest, the annual EDM festival that brings thousands of attendees to the Bayfront.

It is the latest effort by Regalado to end the event which annually brings an estimated $40 million in direct spending to Miami and millions more in ancillary tourism dollars.  Attendance at the festival looks to be nowhere near falling off, and the figures mirror stability in the EDM festival marketplace.

“Traditional” music festivals, however, have been steadily growing over the last 20 years, as more and more bands prefer to perform at multiple-act festivals, as a more cost-effective means of promoting an album, rather than play a concert hall solo or with one or two warm-up acts.




Johnny Winter’s Interview with California Rocker

Johnny Winter California Rocker

Johnny Winter tour dates include California and Japan

Guitar Great is ‘Just having fun again.’

By DONNA BALANCIA, Oct. 13, 2013 – Johnny Winter has learned to become a great teacher — and a student — of time’s lessons.

“I never knew my career would last this long, but I sure hoped for it,” said Winter, who at the age of 69, has survived a finicky musical landscape to emerge as one of history’s most well-respected blues artists.

Sporting his signature long white hair, cowboy hat, and characteristically cool demeanor, Winter sat down with California Rocker editor Donna Balancia to chat about his career.

Winter is playing dates in California through the first week of April then moves on to spend time touring Japan.

“We love to play Japan,” Winter said. “We play there often.”

Winter, a Blues Foundation Hall of Fame inductee, is a Grammy-nominated producer, known for his work with blues greats like Muddy Waters.  The famously fair-haired, Texas-bred blues buff and older brother to rocker Edgar Winter, has come through dark times to reach the light-heartedness that now marks his personal life and his musical career.

His relationships have been an important factor to get him and keep him healthy, in particular his friendship with guitarist Paul Nelson, who has been one of the most significant people in his life.

Johnny Winter California Rocker

Johnny Winter on Letterman

“Johnny’s a blues historian,” said Nelson, Winter’s bandmate and manager. “He’s not the kind of guy who’s going to listen to Pavarotti. He’s cemented to the blues.  He not only plays it, he knows the blues.”

Nelson has helped Winter instill a healthy lifestyle to keep touring and recording.

“It’s been a long road, but he’s sober now, he’s smiling now and his vocals are clear,” Nelson said. “There was a time that there was so much that came so fast, like in the 1970s, it was when he went from blues to rock. Then through the 1990s he had a rough time.

“I met Johnny in 2000, he had been a recluse,” Nelson said. “His management was not up to date.  I firmly believe that when you’re young you need older management, when you’re older you need young management.”

Winter has become a new man since turning the corner and quitting drinking and partying.

“No, I don’t do any of that anymore,” Winter said. “I’m not drinking or doing drugs. If I didn’t quit, I wouldn’t be alive today.  This was my choice.  I’ve been clean for 10 years.”

Winter lives in Connecticut, but has fond memories of his home town of Beaumont, Texas, where as a kid he did a lot of fishing, he said.

“There are some really great parts of Texas,” Winter said. “My folks aren’t alive, so I don’t have much cause to go back there too much these days.”

Johnny Winter's Screamin Demon Hot Sauce

Screamin Demon Hot Sauce

His business and personal interests have diversified over the years.  He’s even come out with his own signature hot sauce called “Screamin’ Demon Hot Sauce.”

While Winter said he is encouraged that young people today are getting into the blues, for the most part, he said, he’s not too fond of the “sound of today.”

“I hate the new music,” he said. “I just do.”

His touring keeps him busy, and promoting his album, “Roots,” has been a labor of love, Winter said.  It’s through his touring and promoting the blues that he stays in touch with the fun in life.

“These are the songs I heard when I was first getting into my music,” he said. “It’s just real good music.”

Back in the day, the average age of fans at a Johnny Winter concert was 20, today the average age is 55. He is appreciative of his fan support.

“When my fans come talk to me they always say things like, ‘I’ve been listening to your music for 40 years,'” he said. “And let me tell you, that’s a pretty good feeling.”

For more information on Johnny Winter’s tour and club dates CLICK HERE


Lake Street Dive and The Congress In a Small Venue – Not For Long

By BOB BUSBY — WEST HOLLYWOOD — On a recent memorable evening Lake Street Dive the jazz foundation-turned-R&B Pop quintet led by power siren Rachael Price delivered a fabulous smile-inducing performance to a sold out audience with high expectations at West Hollywood’s Hotel Cafe.

The Hotel Cafe is one of Los Angeles’s smaller music venues, darkly lit, cozy and intimate via a stage only two feet high; it’s a wonderful place to see live music.

Lake Street Dive California Rocker

Lake Street Dive’s new album is Bad Self Portraits

Lake Street Dive is already garnering seemingly universal critical praise, and when you experience a live performance, it’s easy to see why.

Throughout an hour-long set, performing mostly songs from their new album Bad Self Portraits the music — much of it very much reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt’s wonderful output mid to late seventies — was spirited yet disciplined from these accomplished musicians hailing from Boston’s New England Conservatory.

With so much of today’s music reliant on copious amounts of technology, Lake Street Dive titillates with a decidedly sparse presentation: An upright bass, an electric guitar playing chords sans solos (on half the songs replaced by a trumpet), and a simple drum set.

Consummate skills displayed included an unintended highlight which occurred via a malfunctioning guitar mid-song.

With no rescue techie to rush onstage trumpet/guitar player Mike Olson quickly unplugged, crossed through the band and offstage to retrieve another guitar, returning the same route while his bandmates continued harmonizing, all watching his activity.

Olson plugged in, tuned up – band is still singing mind you – and resumed playing at which point the room exploded with applause. The song ended and Price complimented him with how impressed she was by this unflappable feat.

Much attention has been deservedly placed on Price’s admirable chops. Truly something to marvel at she has the ability to effortlessly raise hairs and the roof which happens frequently. However, on virtually every song she is complemented and supported by spot on tight joyous harmonies from her band mates bassist Bridget Kearney, drummer Mike Calabrese, and Olson – think Mammas & Pappas fused with Jackson 5 soul – that had the audience, of note most of whom were twice the age of the performers – hooting and roaring their approval.

As the set proceeded to its conclusion with the encore and only cover Wings’ Let Me Roll It performed with the warmly-received opening act The Congress, there was a sense of lucky to be there witnessing an immensely talented group up close and personal, definitely poised for much bigger things – they already have my vote for a Best New Artist Grammy nod. Next time around it’s doubtful we will see them again in such a small venue.

The Congress Thrills In Opening Slot for Lake Street Dive 

Presumably all who attended, knew what to expect from the headlining Lake Street Dive and as detailed above were happily fulfilled. However, there was an added surprise bonus provided by the opening act The Congress, a Denver-by-way-of Richmond, Va. band.

The foursome that took the stage first — a dicey proposition especially supporting an act with as much juice as Lake Street Dive — played to audience members who had never heard of them, but who, by set’s end were applauding with great enthusiasm.

Their set consisting mostly of their own compositions, a blend of R&B, Southern Rock, and Soul was entertaining from the get go.  I knew we were in for something special when their second song was Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready which these four young Caucasians all, pulled off marvelously.

A feat amazingly surpassed a few songs later doing Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly. That type of soul seems to emanate from the bass player Jonathan Meadows who looks like he could star in a rugged outdoorsman reality show.

Speaking with him later I found a gentle soul and sweet guy but man he plays wicked melodic funky bass lines up and down the entire fret-board and can soul sing your ass right out of your chair. On guitar Scott Lane’s solos somewhere in-between Southern Rock, R&B, and Blues (think Elvin Bishop) ripped and proceeded to get better with each song and he can sing as well. Rounded out by keyboardist Chris Speasmaker on piano and organ, and Mark Levy on drums.

Called onstage by Lake Street Dive to perform a song together mid-set as well as on their encore, the resulting six part harmony soared. To say these boys won the audience over, would be an understatement. Their Facebook page shows a recurring theme of comments of coming to see Lake Street Dive and leaving as an additional fan of The Congress. I concur and highly recommend checking them out.

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