I’m considering delaying this post a week since I’ll be attending a highly anticipated concert on July 31 featuring the captivating jazz soul quartet from Melbourne, Hiatus Kaiyote, but what the heck, I’ve got time now and this is overdue.
Since March I’ve attended several stellar concerts, including one this Wednesday at The Grove LA of rising electro-pop band Capital Cities. If you haven’t heard of this band yet, you will now. They’ve been together over two years, but their star has really begun to rise in the last nine months, following their agreement with Capitol Records (formerly EMI now UMG). With major label backing comes radio play, and that’s exactly what has propelled Capital Cities to #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Their hit single “Safe and Sound” has taken pop radio by storm; I hear it almost every day on my commute.
It’s an incredibly catchy track, with high energy, substantial lyrics, and an excellent chorus line. Apparently I am not their only fan. I showed up to The Grove on Wednesday just in time to catch the start of their set, and I was amazed at the vast audience they drew. Elbow to elbow, people huddled together around the stage (see below).
I also appreciated that they performed with a real live band, including a veritable trumpet player who had his share of spotlight moments throughout the set. These guys are on the rise, watch out!
Back in May I returned to The Roxy to check out one of my favorite R&B artists, Bilal. His fourth official studio album came out in February and immediately entered my regular Rdio listening rotation. Bilal’s vocal artistry and his willingness to take chances with less traveled melodic combinations on the album make it one of the best R&B releases of the year.
But the highlight of his performance was the older tracks he shared, from his debut album, an album I listened to and loved as a teenager. An album featuring production by music empresario Dr. Dre, and notable beatmakers J Dilla, James Poyser, and kindred artist Raphael Saadiq. Check out Saadiq’s production below on the classic groove “Soul Sista.” Questlove on drums.
Among these two highlights I also attended my fair share of EDM (electronic dance music) events, which culminated in experiencing the sublime Kaskade at the Marquee in Las Vegas. Yes, Vegas. Saturday, May 18th (and technically Sunday May 19th as well) will forever be remembered as the day I fully embraced EDM. I’ll always be an R&B lover above all, but I’ve welcomed EDM into my musical fold.
I first heard this above track in April 2012 while interning for FanBridge. One of the graphic designers there shared it with me as he talked about seeing Kaskade perform it at Coachella. I liked it at the time, but I didn’t really listen to it again, or EDM for that matter, until coming to LA. A coworker, yet again, (re) introduced me to EDM when I moved to LA and it’s been on my radar since. But back to May 18th, Kaskade @ Marquee. It was an ethereal evening for me. I’ve never had so much fun at a “concert.” Hearing Kaskade DJ is an adrenaline rush of the highest order, and hearing him at one of the most prestigious nightclubs in the world only added to the drama.
You get the idea!