‘lectrifying last week of january ’11

peter bjorn & john downtown la secret show january 20112011 has been ramping up — slowly but surely — to be huge. Perhaps coincidentally, but as the Chinese New Year approaches, things are getting busy. The Year of the Rabbit ready to run.

Was lucky to hit a few fantastic live events over the past week and want to share some highlights / video / photos in a post.

Last Tuesday was my first visit to the venue formerly known as Spaceland, now called The Satellite, and for all practical purposes same as it ever was.

vaccines2But it was like the British Invasion 3.0 all over again. The Vaccines, stopping in LA for a one-off after a quickie in NYC, rocked me every bit as much as I hoped. I felt transported to the early days of Franz Ferdinand or The Hives when they’d pop into Empty Bottle on a Tuesday night riding a bunch of buzz. Though I originally feared that Justin Young’s vocal approach was in the faux-Interpol vein, which fully annoys me in its unoriginality, it was apparent live that he wasn’t trying too hard to be pretty while leading a quartet that motored through their short catalog (debut LP What Did You Expect from The Vaccines is due out in late March) like a Ramones-lite or early Replacements (if they were tight and composed on stage).

I returned to The Satellite the following night to catch Typhoon — an eleven-member Portland-based band that sings, claps, and plays various instruments as a backdrop to the oft-epic compositions of Kyle Morton. If this band ever comes near your town on tour, do what you can to catch them. It’s always a wonder to see a large band pull it off on a small stage, given the inevitably muddled sound coming from their monitors.

My Saturday began in a mellow tone, catching up with one of my fave poets and hip-hoppers from my Chicago days, Idris Goodwin (good friends will remember the Eye Spy disc I often played in my car circa 2004). Turns out now he’s [literally] chillin’ in another of my old ZIPs, Iowa City. Picked up a copy of his new book and better yet got to hear him read some hits from it. Watch those below:

I made it home around 10 and was all set for an early night when I got the word that I was on the FYF list for the Peter, Bjorn, & John “secret show” which conveniently happened to be downtown. The trio sounded tight and the sound wasn’t too bad considering the makeshift setup in a walkup loftspace. I dug the feel of their new songs — reminiscent of late 70’s garage. Gimme Some is out in late March and the kids’ll dig it.

I streamed parts of the show live on my phone… so please excuse the sound if you wish to check out the video.

Out with January. And live music season has yet to truly begin. It’s gonna be a great year!

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