Friday, August 12, 2016

Radiohead / Shabazz Palaces Live At The Shrine Auditorium

Radiohead has come a long way since their debut album, "Pablo Honey" was released in 1993. Amidst the whole "grunge" sounds of Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains, etc, etc, Radiohead had a more "alternative" sound, rough when it needed to be, but gentle when necessary, as their most famous song, "creep" demonstrated. Now 23 years after, their coming back to their alternative roots as their new album, "A Moon Shaped Pool", brings them back from their electronic and more experimental selves into a more guitar driven album. Given frontman Thom Yorke's recent divorce, the new album reflects just that. But the concert on August 8th showed none of that, as it was full of energy and passion. 

There was a long wait before the fun was to start. In an effort to screw the scalpers, the tickets were all handed at will call, forcing the people to walk in as they got them, no ins and outs. A valiant effort had it not been for them labeling their pre concert activities as a "party", where food and drinks were sold at expensive prices and all the "free" in the "party" was a photo booth. Merchandise was also available to be purchased, while a DJ played in the "expo hall" part of The Shrine Auditorium. A long wait indeed!

Finally, at 8:30 duo Shabazz Palaces took the stage. An electro clash duo, their dull and repetitive songs that one could enjoy for 15 minutes, but when freestyling something like this "hey, do we have any Radiohead fans in the audience?" I was out. Yes, Ishmael Butler was good in Digable Planets and hearing his voice onstage was a flashback, but there's gotta be more to it. And I wasn't the only one, as most of the people was outside drinking or walking around The Shrine. Luckily, Radiohead more than made up for Palaces.

Radiohead played to a sold out crowd, starting off with their two new singles, "Burn the Witch" and "Daydreaming", and playing most of the album with fans screaming, cheering and singing along all the way throughout. When they played "My Iron Lung", from their second album "The Bends" the crowd exploded! Radiohead played highlights from all their albums, or at least it seemed like they tried to, all but "Pablo Honey", in their two hours and fifteen minute show! Radiohead was there to play songs. There was barely any contact between the band and the public other than the bond created by the music the people know and love, we were, after all, there to hear them perform the songs we love.

Not that Thom Yorke didn't take a few seconds between instrumental arrangements to acknowledge the fans and thank them for their presence. But they were all about the music that night. "Paranoid Android", "2 + 2 = 5", Lotus Flower", "Everything In The Right Place", "Idioteque",  "Body Snatchers", the list of hit songs went on and on, and everyone was standing up throughout the show! A mistake, if there was ever any, to have them play in a place where they were seats, the people wanted to experience the show by dancing, jumping, cheering, moving around! 

All in all, Radiohead was all that a fan expects to see live and more. If you haven't had the chance to see them live, make an effort to do so. Unlike Yorke's solo/Atoms For Peace projects, Radiohead is where it all came from and where all the action is! 

Check more photos on our FB Page:


Virtual Reality is the new(ish) revolutionary technology that is here to stay. Unlike the fad that was 3D, VR has many uses, and it's currently being developed for videogames, to promote movies, even for educational purposes, among many others. The VR experience is something that has to be seen to be believed, we had been promised for decades in movies that Virtual Reality was going to change our lives, and it can be said that it's finally a reality.

VRLA was held at the L.A. Convention Center on August 9 and 10, 2016. Its purpose is to network people already in the business, to show the new technologies coming out, with the exhibit hall giving the attendees a hands-on approach and with panels and classes for those that are still new to the field.

Mindshow was promoting their new VR story world, where you can create your avatar and let the story take it where it goes, choosing from different adventures and situations to get immersed in.
On the technical side, Dysonics was focusing on sound, which needs to be all around to go with the VR world, their sound capturing device having 8 microphones around. They also were promoting their program which can be used to marry the sound if you already have it, or you can rent their 360 sound capturing device from Radiant Images, who had a booth not far from them.
You could also experience a VR trailer for the movie Nerve, imitating one of the challenges that characters have to endure in the movie. HP Radeon was promoting their technology via the 360 Dome, which was a 20 minute experience inside the aforementioned dome with techno music blasting as the top of the dome was covered by 3D art images all around, giving that 3D immersive feeling without being "true 3D". The Wave was a VR musical experience, sponsored by skullcandy, whose headphones you could use along the vibrating vest meant to make you feel every beat of the blasting techno soundtrack. VR platform Zealty was promoting their partnership with Erase Child Trafficking, who are working on a VR documentary series about the serious subject.

Steam, a popular online videogame resource was on site promoting their new VR games, along with NVidia having a mini booth promoting their VR Fun House, also available on Steam. Dolby was promoting their Atmos sound system, which as theatrical sounds go can be considered 360 as there are speakers not only surrounding the sides but also on top. Gopro was presenting their VR rig, but the custom made rig by Spherica VR production created is the only one that provides a steady shot in the market. Spherica is a Russian VR company that also has five VR movies ready to be released, one big foot ahead of the VR market.

VR is the new field to explore, whether for entertainment, education or as a job market, this is a new technology one should keep and eye out for.

Twilight Concerts: Natalia Lafourcade & Monsieur Perine

On its 32nd year and 5th concert of the season, the Twilight Concerts at Santa Monica featured Colombian band Monseuir Perine and Mexican artist Natalia Lafourcade on August 4, 2016.

Raul Campos from KCRW introduced Monseuir Perine,  but his welcoming words to the crowds "Como estan todos mis Latinos", didn't seat well with the lone blonde woman amidst the sea of people; "What about the white people?" she screamed, "I've been listening to you on KCRW, what about us?" The large Latino crowd around her stood in shock, with some ignoring while others asking her to leave. But all the negative vibes the woman brought to the Pier disappeared once Monseuir took the stage. Their music, a fusion of Colombian, bolero, big band, and alternative got the people dancing and moving around. Monseuir's cover of Mexican composer Alfaro Carrillo "sabor a mi" being one of the highlights of the night. Their more experimental songs had a great start but slowly devolved into familiar territory, which is not bad, but it got repetitive. But singer Catalina Garcia was always bringing the energy song after song, her voice matching her stunning beauty. The rest of the 8-piece also hit all the right cords and even had small rehearsed dance numbers, which was also what made Monseuir such a fun band to experience live. 

Between songs more controversy arose, with the blonde woman causing more disturbances, the people around her starting to chant "leave", some even asking security to eject her due to her constant comments. But luckily peace ensued and the people just ignored her, with the mostly female crowd getting ready for Lafourcade.

Natalia took the stage as everyone screamed with excitement. Her set included songs from her new album "Hasta La Raiz" but also giving the fans what they want and performing the old hits. She covered Agustin Lara's "amor de mis amores", as well as singing one of her Natalia y La Forquetina songs "casa", followed by "en el 2000", which was the highlight, at last for me, of the night. Lafourcade is not your avergage Mexican popstar. For starters, she plays guitar and yes, writes or co-writes her songs. Not your typical popstar. The new album being a post-heartbreak album marked the tone of the night, which was more on the slow melodic side, which also influenced the old songs, but not in a bad way. The tamer version of "casa" was perfect for the night, even giving more feeling to "no viniste". Lafourcade closed with another classic, "ella es bonita" even involving the crowd to sing along, ending the night in unity, and harmony.