Knitting Factory News Volume Two, Issue IV: Happy New Year!

Knitting Factory News

Welcome to Knitting Factory News, our intermittent (let’s say, twice monthly or fortnightly) bulletin of highlights from inside and outside the Knitting Factory universe. It’s an opinionated guide to featured artists at our California venues, KFE-managed artists on tour, giveaways, ephemera, and…well, things we like, no matter where they came from.

Featured Artists

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Based in Los Angeles by way of Virginia Beach, Mansions On The Moon is a four-piece band that fuses diverse styles, sounds, and influences from electronic music, hip-hop, indie rock, and pop. They boast a remarkable resume, having collaborated with N*E*R*D, produced for Mac Miller and toured with Wiz Khalifa and Cherub. Last year, the band released their first full-length, self-titled album to critical acclaim. Earmilk describes the band as having “a sound of their own that pulls out the blissfulness of dream pop and leads it on a coming-of-age type adventure through a spectrum of soft rock, synths, and experimental pop, all while gifting the most lavish harmonies to your ears.” Don’t miss their performance at The Federal Underground later this month!

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SpaceCream is a 70’s-inspired glam/prog rock band with a modern twist. Hailed as “Anne Wilson starring in Bowie’s edition of Rocky Horror Picture Show,” SpaceCream won last years Battle for Vans Warped Tour at House of Blues Sunset. The group has played all over Southern California, including sold out shows at the Viper Room and Troubadour. Their music is accessible yet complex, lending a voice to anyone who feels they were born in the wrong generation – or on the wrong planet. On January 22, SpaceCream will release their debut album Pterodactyl Sky. If you’re in Los Angeles, be sure to catch the band’s release concert at The Mint!

Featured Shows

There are a number of exciting live shows happening in California over the next few weeks, including a Slow Dance night with last week’s featured artist Dent May and an album release show for this week’s featured artist SpaceCream! And be sure to catch Knitting Factory Management’s Prima Donna at The Echoplex. Their single “Deathless” was just declared the “#9 coolest song in the world in 2015” by Underground Garage.

Saturday, January 9
Moon Block Rock N Roll Circus feat. Fever the Ghost, Morgan Delt, Vinyl Williams, JJUUJJUU and Hott MT – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, January 10
Slow Dance feat. Dent May – Resident – Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, January 17
FOMO Fest feat. Bird Dog, Miya Folick, Sun Drug and more – The Echo – Los Angeles, CA

Friday, January 22
The New Electric Sound – NAMM (Center Stage) – Anaheim, CA
Prima Donna – The Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA
Spacecream “Pterodactyl Sky” Album Release – The Mint – Los Angeles, CA

Saturday, January 23
Chairlift – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA

Monday, January 25
The New Electric Sound– The Echo – Los Angeles, CA

by Saeli Eshelman

Lineup

As I’ve mentioned previously, this year will by my seventh time attending the festival. I’ve discussed how every time I have been (regardless of how “good” the lineup was) I’ve had an amazing time because I made a point to see the shows that were important to me. And as a music lover, even if that number of bands is lower than I’d prefer at the festival, I’d rather pay once and see them all over a weekend that be constantly journeying to parts unknown just to catch a band on tour.

My mentality most likely deviates from the masses that attend Coachella: generally, when the lineup comes out, I’m stoked because there are a bunch of small acts that have been buzzed about all year. And also, generally, I know there will be indie corners of the festival where my friends and like-minded will get to savor the music that made Coachella great.

So this year, before I even saw the lineup for myself, I had heard things such as “This is the best lineup in years!” Even articles outlined rumored booked acts made such declarations before Guns N’ Roses and LCD Soundsystem had confirmed their reunions. And what do you know? While everyone else seems to be raving about this holy grail of Coachella lineups, my initial reaction was “Meh.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of LCD Soundsystem and am very happy to see them playing together again, but that doesn’t make the rest of the lineup amazing, especially since I’m hardly excited about the other two headlining acts.

The fame of the “good” acts can work against them (Axl Rose missed one of his first interviews since announcing the reunion). Usually, I prefer a lineup with some maybe not great top headliners but oodles upon oodles of time dope bands that make up the year’s best indie creds. With this sort of schedule, you will never find yourself without a band to see and greatly contributes to more people going to see the music rather than “have an experience.”

This year, though, there are some pretty impressive names across a variety of genres in the top three lines of each day: aforementioned LCD Soundsystem, Sufjan Stevens, Foals, The Kills, Disclosure, A$AP Rocky, Run the Jewels, Gary Clark Jr., Sia, Major Lazer, Flume, Beach, Miike Snow, and Death Grips, to name more than a few. I’m more ambivalent about some of the artists I’ve seen there before: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are less relevant now than they were then–same goes for Matt & Kim and Cold War Kids. I am looking forward to them proving themselves worthy of return visits. As far as bands that really represent the cutting edge and up and coming of the year there is only Deerhunter, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Courtney Barnett, Ibeyi, Years & Years, The Front Bottoms, BADBADNOTGOOD, Kamasi Washington, De Lux, and Girlpool. I know this may look like a lot of artists, but it’s only ten–the same number of artists I selected last year as the best– of the many more I saw.

I know many people will disagree, and it’s not like the festival had any trouble selling out in an hour this week. I am hoping both to make discoveries and get reassurances from the artists I do love. At the same time, I am hoping the process of appealing to the mainstream will slow and eventually reverse, allowing the fest to remain focused on good and deserving artists.

Radio Moscow announces South American tour!

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Knitting Factory Management’s psychedelic rock band Radio Moscow is taking off to South America! They will be beginning their tour at a festival called En Orbita in Santiago, Chili, where they will play with the Sonics, Os Mutantes and the Dandy Warhols. The tour follows with Radio Moscow as the headlining act.

Federal Bars

The Knitting Factory’s two Southern California gastropubs—the Federal Bars in North Hollywood and Long Beach—feature a range of resident and one-off shows.

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On January 24th, The Federal Bar in North Hollywood will host Great States and Falling Doves. Hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Great States is an alternative rock band that employs modern instrumentals, beautiful vocal harmonies, and thought-provoking lyrics to create a truly “one-of-a-kind” sound that mirrors the uniqueness of the Great Southwest. The opening band Falling Doves is a four-piece alternative band that plays an exhilarating brand of high octane rock and roll, topped with a pop edge that keeps the songs ringing in your ears long after the last strum has been played. Don’t miss these two talented up-and-coming artists!

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Starting January 18th, The Federal Bar in North Hollywood will present LIVE BAND KARAOKE! Every Monday night, guests will have the chance to belt out hits from rock ‘n’ roll legends including The Rolling Stones, Joan Jett, Aerosmith, and Guns N’ Roses. The event will be led by local rock star Paulie Z, known for leading Wednesday Jam Nights at Lucky Strike in Hollywood. The evening will also feature $5 drink specials and The Federal’s special poutine menu. Starts at 9pm with no cover!

Metalachi

Down in Long Beach, The Federal will host the world’s first and only heavy metal mariachi band Metalachi on Thursday, January 14th. Hailing from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, the band covers heavy metal songs while incorporating traditional mariachi musical instruments such as the trumpet, violin, guitarrón, vihuela, and the cowbell. They take their music and fashion cues from metal bands of the past, such as Judas Priest, Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Kiss. Their unique performance is not one to be missed, as they are known for their exaggerated accents and Metalachi-blessed Margaritas.

Long Beach New Year’s Eve Block Party Rings in 2016 with Music You Can Dance To!

by James Fratzke, Co-Founder of F&F PRESENTS

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What did you do for New Year’s Eve this year? If your answer is not “I danced my butt off at the Long Beach NYE Block Party” you may have made a huge mistake! This block party was one to remember. If you missed the event there is good news, after all the momentum this party has picked up over the last few years, you can rest assured that next year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever. So sit back and relax because you’ve got a whole year to plan for 2017 NYE Block Party! While you wait let F&F countdown our top 5 reasons for why you should make your 2016 resolution to attend next year’s celebration (If the 11,000 plus people in attendance weren’t proof enough!). Spoiler alert we’re a music blog! ​

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Light up the night with Saint Motel.

5: The music selection overall!

The booking for this event was perfect. There was literally something for everyone! Alternative/Indie Rock, Folk, Singer-Songwriter, Vintage Rock, & DJ performances littered Pine Avenue across three stages. The event was headlined by F&F favorites Saint Motel, Houndmouth, ZZ Ward, and a new favorite Vintage Trouble. Congrats to the Downtown Long Beach Associates and Knitting Factory Entertainment for putting together such a solid lineup. Topping last years headliner Fitz and the Tantrums was no easy task, but you pulled it off!

4: All that Damn Confetti!

Listen I don’t want to oversell the importance of confetti at a NYE event, but what can I say? I absolutely love confetti and the Long Beach New Year’s Eve Block Party had a ton of it. Like literally a ton. It was a nice touch! Fireworks are nice too, but nothing is quite as magical as confetti, especially when Saint Motel is doing their thing.

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Vintage Trouble being kickass!

3: Lots of Dancing Opportunities!

We’re big alternative and indie rock fans. Which was why the events lineup was so exciting to us. That being said we also like dancing, and there were plenty of opportunities to dance with DJ sets in between performances. Sets from OK Go’s Dan Konopka & Tim Nordwind’s project Xia Xia Technique, DJ Sovern-T, & DJ Paul V kept the crowd warm in the chilly weather.

2: Saint Motel is Freaking Awesome!

Saint Motel has been on a role. If you were alive in 2015 you heard their hits My Type & Cold Cold Man. We here at F&F think their 2016 is going to be even bigger. So it was very fitting to end our last day of 2015 jamming out to what could be one of the biggest bands of 2016. Their performance at the Long Beach NYE Block party was nothing short of epic! They brought a full horn section and about a dozen showgirl dancers to entertain the 11,000 plus partiers in attendance.

1:We Know It’s Going to Be Even More Epic for NYE 2017!

If the history of this event has taught us anything it’s that next year’s Block Party is going to be even better than the last. Each year they raise the stakes with the caliber of performers. Thousands of Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange County natives have flocked to this event because the lineups have been great. We can only imagine who will be rocking out and counting ​down for NYE 2017. Could it be Walk The Moon, San Pedro natives the Cold War Kids, maybe even super star alt-folk band Mumford and Sons? Who knows!? But with the way this event grows each year we wouldn’t be surprised.

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Dead and Company at the Forum

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Photo courtesy Jeff Kravitz @jeffkravitz #jeffkravitz

So every time I see one of the post Grateful Dead incarnations (The Dead, Further and this latest, Dead and Company), it seems as if it might be the last time. Do they still have “it?” Is the concert going to attract a merry roving band of pranksters, united by their love of the music and love of…fun (despite Saeli’s assertion they don’t stand for much else, and come to think of it, they don’t)? Each time I say it is…and then it isn’t.

Besotted once again after seeing the Chicago farewell show simulcast at the Regent Downtown LA (where several people went to the hospital; can you imagine having to explain you got too high…watching TV?), I ponied up once again and dragged my ever-understanding wife (who’s been going through this with me for 25 years) to the once and again fabulous Forum, gussied up considerably by new operators Madison Square Garden.

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Photo courtesy Jeff Kravitz @jeffkravitz #jeffkravitz

And guess what? Even though it took ME a while to warm up to them, they were great, and fun, if not loud enough. They opened with New New Minglewood Blues, and let me tell you, Bob Weir’s voice is shot to hell and back. But even broken, he delivers with intensity and conviction. Wake of the Flood, rarely played but beloved, came next, and John Mayer DOES take some getting used to. All could think about when I looked at him was Katie Parry and Taylor Swift. What, I wonder, did they TALK about?

That turned out to be unfair. As they wound through ancient anthems like Loser and newer compositions like West LA Fade Away, Mayer clearly understood the material, had practiced improvisation (to the extent this is possible), played beautiful runs up and down the Dead’s melodic canon–whether blues, country rock and yes, even disco–and in sum, HE got it. I think what’s important here is that John Mayer is NOT Jerry Garcia. He’s almost the anti-Jerry, the Bizarro Jerry. People opine about whether post-Jerry guitarists mimic the master’s licks and I think with Mayer, this band finally breaks free of that comparison. By the time Bertha and Bird Song came along to close out the fist set (yes, Bertha IS about an electric fan), I was completely satisfied, if still a little aloof.

New member Oteil Burbridge stood stride his six-string bass like a colossus, silent but effective (I don’t even think he was mic-ed in the first set). And Jeff Chianti, who must have a very good flatiron gives the group a strong (and strongly mixed) keyboard parts I haven’t felt since Bruce Hornsby was a regular.

The second set opened with Playing in the Band, and fans used to hearing certain songs in “certain” places didn’t find them here. Kreutzmann and Hart commenced their drum duets from China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider. My wife said, then, “They brought all that kit in here only to bang on it one time?” They closed out the December 30 show with Lovelight and delighted the audience with an acoustic rendition of Friend of the Devil as an encore.

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Photo courtesy Jeff Kravitz @jeffkravitz #jeffkravitz

So the 30th was a great show. Was the 31st epic? I have to rely on the hearsay. When I first heard about it -tweeted and Facebooked live from the show floor–i admit I felt a little ripped off. THREE sets? But I had a happiness and afterglow from the first night, hearing songs I’d never heard live–Lady with a Fan and Dear Prudence among them–couldn’t diminish. While, thick columns of pot smoke rose in plumes from the floor of the Forum continuously through our performance, I don’t know what could compare to Bill Walton reprising Bill Graham’s classic role as Father Time riding a 20-foot joint across the arena. Maybe next year; Dead and Company has already announced the show will go on.

That’s it for this week. We’re writing you because you’ve expressed interest in Knitting factory shows, artists or productions. Like us? Want us to consider covering your artists or shows? Please tell us, your humble writer/editors: Henry Eshelman heshelman@platformgrp.com, Sabrina Zeile sabrina@platformgrp.com and Saeli Eshelman saeli@platformgrp.com; we can take it from there.

Hate us? As someone once said, “please confine your comments to compliments only.” But we’ll (regretfully) accept your unsubscribe requests humbly and without question. Thanks for listening!

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