October 11, 2012

Culture Collide Festival Wrap: 2012

Photo by Jasmine Safaeian, Filter

Last week the Culture Collide music festival returned to Echo Park, Los Angeles. The third annual Filter Magazine event produced a four days of non-stop music by emerging talent from around the globe. Team-B3SCI were on the grounds making all the rounds to venues, parking lots, champaign rooms… you name it! Below is a collection of some favorite first-hand accounts from our troops on the ground.


THURSDAY October 4, 2012

Photo: Aida Daneshvar

Dean Wareham @ Methodist Church

I feel like a better music fan, and more specifically a better indie music fan, for having seen Dean Wareham at the Methodist Church. The cozy, intimate setting was dimly lit and provided the perfect setting for Wareham’s lo-fi aesthetic. The capacity of around 200 was nearly full, with casual listeners strolling in and out to catch the other acts during the time slot, namely Blood Red Shoes. Wareham is a true rock craftsman — I’m more a fan of his Luna project than Galaxie 500, and although the set was mainly Galaxie material, I found myself recognizing most of the cuts. At his preferred tempo, Wareham is hard to beat. By Chris Gedos

Photo: Andrew Slough

Blood Red Shoes @ The Champaign Room

I left Wareham early to catch the last three songs of Blood Red Shoes’ set. This Brighton duo pack more of a wallop than most three and four-piece groups, check our interview with drummer Steven back in 2k10 for more on their sound. Apparently I had missed some technical difficulties earlier in their set, but the three cuts I heard were raucous, euphoric, abrasive, fleeting, and all those other words which come to mind when thinking of the group. The Champaign Room at Taix was packed to the brim, with a healthy mosh of about 50 adding to the excitement. Unfortunately for this listener, Blood Red Shoes ended almost as soon as they began. By Chris Gedos

Photo: Monique Hernandez

Tribes @ The Champaign Room

I could not have been more pleased with Tribes’ set. They’ve been here in LA for the past couple months recording the follow up to February’s Baby, which btw is sure to land somewhere in my top ten at the end of the year. While the usual smattering of attendees relocated to another room for John Talbot, much of the crowd were engaged singing along, and genuinely pumped to see the Camden four-piece. While Tribes only played “Dancer” off the new album (great cut, similar in sound with a big chorus), the songs off Baby were spot-on. I was especially pleased to hear closer “Bad Apple”, which was left off when they played The Bootleg in March, and of course “Sappho” and “We Were Children”, two of the better power pop songs written since the mid-90s. By Chris Gedos


FRIDAY October 5, 2012

Photo: Monique Hernandez

The Balconies @ Taix Lounge

Every music fan hopes to catch a surprise discovery or two during any festival, and my most pleasant surprise at Culture Collide came with the first band I saw. The Balconies from Ottawa/Toronto are a hard rock trio with amazing energy and good melodies. Singer Jacquie Neville not only has all of the moves of a star front woman, but she is also the band’s guitar player. They were on the lips of many during the rest of the weekend. By Bruce Rave

Photo: Bruce Rave

The Royal Teeth

The Royal Teeth from New Orleans delivered a spot on set packed with some flawless harmonies and radio-ready songs. These guys have a band next door kind of vibe, and their “Wild” single has been gaining some traction on many radars. By Bruce Rave


SATURDAY October 6, 2012

Photo: Jake Giles Netter

Morning Parade @ Taix Lounge

UK and Morning Parade have seen a fair amount of radio success this year. It’s definitely worth noting that their strong live set helps backs up some of the buzz. By Bruce Rave

Photo: Brian Litwin

Moss @ Taix Lounge

While heading over from the a set at Echoplex, I bumped into the bass player of the next band I was heading to see. We talked over a cigarette about how Moss have enjoyed playing in the US and were going back to Amsterdam shortly after playing this festival. Not giving me much insight into the show I was about to take in, and by some suprise the dutch quartet blew away their small but captive audience. Their unique indie pop sound explores various influences with spot on harmonies and an overall musicianship, that would almost seem like they have been playing together for 20 years, culminating to an outstanding show. A definite highlight of the festival for me and a band worth taking note. By Brian Litwin

Photo: Jasmine Safaeian, FILTER

Ewert and the Dragons @ Echoplex

Ewert and the Dragons hail from Estonia, playing a blend of sweet melodies set in a sort of Mumford & Sons feel. More than just an A+ band name, these guys showed why they were one of the more buzzed-about bands at Culture Collide. By Bruce Rave

Photo: Brian Litwin

Gold Fields @ Echoplex

This show had everything from loads of energy, an injured lead singer, Aussie accents, radio ready songs and cowbell – lots of cowbell. Astralwerks backed Gold Fields had the Friday night Echoplex crowd moving. Playing songs off their 2011 self titled EP and closing with recent single “Dark Again (Lights Out)”. By Brian Litwin

Photo: Brian Litwin

Icona Pop @ Echoplex

Shortly after Gold Fields, the dancing continued for Swedish DJ duo Icona Pop. From the start, the twosome had control of the crowd. When they dropped blogger crazed “I Love It” featuring Charli XCX it sent the crowd into a frenzy, and during the whole performance it seemed the duo were taken aback by how responsive the crowd was. Look for the band’s sophomore showing The Iconic out on October 16th. By Brian Litwin


SUNDAY October 7, 2012

DIIV @ Block Party

DIIV (pronounced “dive”) is the perfect band for the Culture Collide crowd, on the vanguard of third or fourth gen shoegaze (depending on who you ask). This band do just about everything right— they play loud and they sound exactly how you would want them to sound live after listening to their acclaimed debut album, Oshin. The audience listened intently with little to no dancing— after all, shoegaze is a sub-genre meant to be listened to with a stoic objectivity. I’m certain that their follow-up show at the Echo on Tuesday night was near max capax and did not disappoint. By Chris Gedos

Photo: Chris Gedos

Tapioca and the Flea @ The Champaign Room

Tapioca and the Flea (top 20 coolest band name in history) played the Taix Champange room as a last-minute addition. Hopefully enough people saw their adroit and energetic set that they’ll be properly added to the bill for next year. They provided an interesting dynamic and can mix up tempos mid-song extremely well. With an aura never quite descending into Sugar Rat indie thanks to some Wayne Coyne lyrical coyness, the keyboardists’ contribution to the arrangements even reminded me of a 21st century Question Mark and The Mysterians. By Chris Gedos

Photo: Monique Hernandez

School of Seven Bells @ Block Party

School of Seven Bells can be slotted under the classification “Interpol-wave”, and in fact their band came to fruition opening for Banks and company. Their style is a refined and nuanced art-rock which held up rather well in front of the slaphappy West Coast crowd. Singer Alejandra Deheza has an enchanting presence, to say the least. By Chris Gedos

Photo: Bruce Rave

The Wombats @ Echoplex or Block Party

The Wombats are finally nearing the end of a long run supporting their album This Modern Glitch, which contains surprise US radio hit “Jump Into the Fog”. Most of the band’s set rejoiced from This Modern Glitch but their UK smash “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” recieved great reaction, and will always be a standard for them. The Wombats were one of the more fun bands at Culture Collide, which the crowd was happy to share. By Bruce Rave

Photo: Brian Litwin

Class Actress @ Block Party

Class Actress, an electro-pop duo, drew many festival goers away from the limited shady spots located near the hot and sunny main stage on the closing day. Fusing pop-friendly lyrics and heavy synth leads and instrumentals, lead singer Elizabeth Harper swayed side to side of the stage moving the crowd along. Playing mostly from their 2011 release Rapproacher, Class Actress set the stage nicely for the acts coming up. By Brian Litwin

Photo: Brian Litwin

Poolside @ Block Party

Brazilian trio Bonde do Role couldn’t make the show due to some Visa issues so festival producers had to scramble quickly to get a replacement band. They signed on LA’s own Poolside, which proved to be a very nice surprise. Laying down some daytime disco, the crowd started to really get into it. Grooving to songs like “Next to You” and “Kiss You Forever” the crowd didn’t mind that Bonde do Role couldn’t be there. Ironically enough, Poolside starts a fall tour in San Francisco today (October 10th) with Bonde do Role and headliner Com Truise. By Brian Litwin

Photo: Carl Pocket

Nikki and the Dove @ Block Party

Nikki and the Dove set the trippy stage for the Of Montreal out-of-this-world main course that would soon follow. As for numbers, Nikki and the Dove had nearly as many people in attendance as Of Montreal would anc their set was loud enough to reach other galaxies. I loved their stage presence, and while there’s a part of their musicianship eerily reminiscent of Prince, it’s debatable how much of their panache translates to CD. By Chris Gedos

Photo: Chris Gedos

Of Montreal @ Block Party

Of Montreal provided the perfect capstone to a weekend of great musical variety. Within the first few songs a fleet of aliens and a giant ghost (consisting of three performers)had already stormed the stage. Lead / musical virtuoso Kevin Barnes relished his moment as headliner and delivered a set of fitting distinction, one which touched upon the entirety of the band’s catalog, from its more traditionally quirky indie roots of Satanic Panic in the Attic and The Gay Parade, to the indie psych of Hissing Fauna, are you the Destroyer, to the neo-indie-soul of their most recent compositions. By Chris Gedos

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