Friday, May 30, 2008

Review: The Cure in Santa Barbara




The Cure
Santa Barbara
May 29, 2008
-Ben Blau

Well if you have been wondering if ol’ Mr. Robert Smith still has it, wonder no more. Do you remember the days of the 3-hour plus shows? Well they are back! Not only are they back, but FUCK Robert is still amazing live as he's ever been. It was surreal seeing The Cure perform that night. A flooring experience one can only hope for every couple of years, if you’re lucky. Such a night can only be described as “absolutely mind blowing!”

Led, as always, by Robert Smith with longtime members bassist, Simon Gallup, drummer, Jason Cooper and, back in the band for a third time, guitarist, Porl Thompson. The Cure spoiled their fans with hit after hit as well as some early obscure material like “Grinding Halt,” “10.15 Saturday Night,“ off their 1979 UK debut album Three Imaginary Boys, along with some darker personal favorites such as “One hundred years” & “A Strange Day." New material that the band performed included “The Only One," “The Perfect Boy," and “Freak Show."

Taking the stage just after 7pm, Robert appeared lively while exuding his charming side throughout the evening in such a fashion that just made the show, as he ran through a mammoth 3 hour career spanning set totaling 35 songs, 11 of which came in the 3 encores. Yeah you read right, 3! I was very impressed with how each encore had a much different feel to it, too. The first contained their more poppy material, the second took us back 1979 and kept us there for 5 songs and the third ended their set with one of my all time favorites, “A Forest.” I could not ask for anything more.

This much anticipated tour comes on the heels of The Cure’s first releases since 2004’s self titled album. Their new album has been a long time coming and has been pushed back several times for various reasons. As of now, the band has unveiled their plans to release four singles, one each month starting May 13th, leading up to the release of their thirteenth studio album, as yet untitled, which will be out on September 13, 2008.


Show Setlist:
Open
Fascination street
Alt.End
The Blood
The End Of The World
Lovesong
Pictures Of You
Lullaby
Catch
The Perfect Boy - NEW
Other Voices
The Only One – NEW (aka “Please Project”)
Push
Doing The Unstuck
In Between Days
Just Like Heaven
Primary
Shake Dog Shake
Maybe Someday
From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea
A Strange Day
Wrong Number
One Hundred Years
End

Encore 1:
The Lovecats
Let's Go To Bed
Freak Show NEW (aka “Don’t Say Anything”)
Close To Me
Why Can't I Be You?

Encore 2:
Boys Don't Cry
Jumping Someone Else's Train
Grinding Halt
10.15 Saturday Night
Killing An Arab

Encore 3:
A Forest

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Album Review: We Are Scientists' 'Brain Thrust Mastery'




What usually happens to a band after losing one third of its group? It can be a crippling experience for most bands; one that can end in eventual demise. Or they can take it in stride, change things up a bit and move forward with a new, fresh album that is different from its predecessor yet still a quality release. The latter is the case with Claremont band: We Are Scientists.

-Julio Iniguez

Their sophomore major label release, Brain Thrust Mastery, is an album very unlike 2005's With Love and Squalor. After losing their drummer, Michael Tapper, the band found themselves as a duo consisting of Keith Murray (guitar and lead vocals) and Chris Cain (bass guitar and backing vocals). The obvious step would have been to replace the drummer and keep on trucking, but instead they replaced the drummer with keyboardist, Max Hart, and myriad drummers who have beat their temporarily scientific skins. The replacement is immediately apparent in Brain Thrust Mastery. Where With Love and Squalor was a celebration of a three piece band with a savvy for writing super catchy pop songs and presenting them in their simplest and rawest form, BTM is the duo's follow up, showcasing their ability to craft tightly written pop songs with more production value and a more sonically layered approach.

With the subtraction of a drummer and addition of a keyboardist, the chemical make-up of We Are Scientist has an altogether different sound but with the same heart pumping out awesome pop tunes. From the layered volume swells and drum machine hi-hat, a la Tv On the Radio, 'Ghouls' sets the mood for the musical journey. The lyrics throughout the album focus on topics like carelessness, excess and their consequences in a way similar to their previous effort. With lyrics like 'Tonight', where Murray theatrically explains how 'tonight i promise to remember that making promises is always a mistake...' The release is full of songs whose dramatic productions are matched with lyrics and vocals that emote enough passion to keep the listener interested for entire tracks in anticipation of the next.

Every track has something special to it, whether it's the familiar Scientist's sound of 'Let's See It' or tracks like 'Lethal Enforcer' or 'That's What Counts' that seem to have been inspired by classic rock en Espanol bands (think 80's style guitars with a lot of chorus and delay). This album explores many different ways of getting in your ears and staying in your head. Do yourself a favor and pick up Brain Thrust Mastery and be sure to check them out live July 3rd at the Glasshouse.

Artist: We Are Scientist
Album: Brain Thrust Mastery
Release Date: May 13, 2008
Label: Astralwerks

Ladytron and Datarock love their after parties!



Though this week might seem to most of us in the Los Angeles area like "The Week That Classic and 80's Rock Invaded" (Elvis Costello, The Police, Jackson Browne, The Cure), two shows that many of us have looked forward to have arrived: Ladytron and Datarock perform at The Fonda tonight and tomorrow night.

If you weren't able to get tickets to either one of the shows, fear not my music lovin' friends! Ladytron and Datarock will be DJing their after party later this evening at All Star Lanes in Eagle Rock.



Still can't get enough? Or maybe you live behind the Orange Curtain and cringe at the thought of spending $4.05 a gallon to drive to the city of Laced Angels? I got your back, too. Datarock will be hosting their own little shin dig Friday night at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa.

You're welcome.

PS: Did anyone see Elvis Costello last night at his "secret" show at the El Rey?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Something to hit up tonight...



The Happy Hollows do The Echo tonight. Sure to be a great show. If you've seen them, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't seen them then go and find out. Trust me. You'll thank me later.



Michael Stipe of R.E.M. does Book Soup for a book signing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Review: Jake Shimabukuro



Jake Shimabukuro
Temple Bar
Santa Monica, CA
May 26, 2008
-Ben Blau


Every so often your caught completely off guard by an experience could not have been anticipated. I went to go see Jake Shimabukuro play the Temple Bar in Santa Monica and honestly, I was really only going to see his cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which I fell in love in after seeing him for the first on Conan. He took the stage just after ten in a innocent and playful fashion to a multi cultural crowd mixed between older vets to youngsters just barely of age. As he started into his first song the crowd watched in awe and the room became completely silent. This continued through his nearly hour and half set with the only an audience applause in between songs.

The energy in the room was nothing short of incredible. Being that I originally was drawn in by “Gently Weeps” I felt foolish as I found each and every song completely entertaining, moving, and just plain incredible. In my past experience I have found it near impossible for a solo artist to do an entertaining live acoustic set, but this was like nothing I have ever seen before. Di I mention that he was doing this on a 4 string ukulele? The complexity and beauty in which Jake plays is absolutely mesmerizing. Mix that with someone that seems to be truly in love and appreciative with what he is doing and you can’t help but get the sense that Jake is the real deal.

Highlights of the evening were (of course) “As My Guitar Gently Weeps,” a very special Memorial Day inspired cover of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and an emotional version of “Blue Roses Falling.” I find it odd that such great talent has gone almost unnoticed by many and I really hope that in due time, Jake’s great sounds make it in many more hearts.

Album Review: Midnight Juggernauts' 'Dystopia'



If you haven't already purchased Midnight Juggernauts' 'Dystopia' then you had better get on it. I'm serious. Today marks its worldwide release and I couldn't be more excited. This trio is the shit. Hailing from Australia (land of a lot of good things), the boys rocked Coachella this past April and wrapped up a couple of dates in the east coast recently. I waiting for their return to the states with bated breath.

From beginning to end, I listened to the album in bliss, thinking, "Holy shit, did Justice and Air just have a baby?" I immediately started to IM and text my friends like crazy. It had been awhile since an album had taken me on a sonic journey like this one. The album doesn't leave much to the imagination: this journey is other worldly. Driving bass lines, tingling synth elements and shoulder-pumping drums were used to make this vessel and these boys were co-captains.

'Ending of an Era' is an omen...and we have take off. Not a bad way to start an album. Nothing thrilled me more than listening to 'Shadows' for the first time. The synth sirens wailing in the background of this track were a bit unsettling at first but then that yummy bass line comes in and cradles you like a mother would her baby. Sigh.

The title track of the album is stunning. Sprinkle in some acoustic guitar to what we already have going and you have yourself a lil masterpiece. Though the Juggernauts' lyrical delivery isn't anything that I would call unique, their dynamic is. 'Road to Recovery' is my absolute favorite though. It's no surprise that the Ed Banger Crew (Busy P) love these guys. This track is screaming remix. I would love to hear what the Bloody Beetroots, Sonitron or Ahh-G would do to this track.

Until then, you will have a bonus track on the album to keep you company: Turkish Prison does a remix of the aforementioned track.

The fellas are currently touring overseas and will be playing Glastonbury on June 29.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Something to hit up tonight...



Yes, The Presets are in town and yes, M83 is sure to give an amazing show tonight, too but for those of you that want your indie fix, Radio Free Silver Lake presents their monthly indie night at Boardner's - Let's Independent.

Aside from being a fantastic night and showcase of L.A.'s indie rock scene, it's now free for all of those cats and kittens that are 21 or older. This week, Joe Fielder has some delicious goodies lined up for us:

The Karabal Nightlife
The Soft Hands (SOO looking forward to seeing them! You HAVE to download I Hope So)
The Savages


Haven't heard of them yet? Well, click on the name of the band that you want to check out and listen to the tunage for yourself. Be sure to visit the Let's Independent page for a few downloads, compliments of the aforementioned bands and Mister Joe Fielder, himself.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Interview: Carl Jordan of The Western States Motel




Carl Jordan took some time to talk to Kill The Microphone today, in preparation of the Western States Motel's show at Hotel Cafe. Jordan reveals plans for the release date of the band's EP, future collaborations with record label Death Row's finest and an expectation of a two drink ticket minimum, per band member...naturally.

Kill The Microphone - I understand you're in the middle of recording new material. Are there any big/small differences from this recording process and the last time around?

Carl Jordan - It's a pretty similar approach, in that I'm doing this one at home, more or less on my own. A notable difference being that the new EP will feature some legitimate drumming (courtesy of Jesse Carmichael), which was recorded in an official studio setting by a great engineer named John Schreffler. Overall, the palette is similar, but I think a step forward at the same time.

KTM - From the sound of the new material, it seems like the WSM have gone through some changes (esthetically and sonically). Was this something you consciously did or is it something that just happened?

CJ - Certainly not a conscious choice; I really just try and go with what I'm feeling at any given time. But yeah, I think there's some new things going on here; I guess you could say there are some heavier moments, at least by Western States Motel standards. I'm just really looking forward to getting it out there!

KTM - How is the dynamic between you and the new band members? Are they contributing to any of the writing for the new material or is it all you?

CJ - The dynamic is great. We fire up the sea doo's when we want to let off some steam, maybe have a Tom Collins or two.


KTM - What's the ETA on the new material?

CJ - I'd say July-ish, maybe August for the EP, but I've got most of the next full-length album material written, so there's lots on the way....

KTM - What are you most excited about when it comes to the future of the WSM?

CJ - I'm not so good at predicting the future...but I am excited to have new songs to play, and a great new crew of musicians to play them with. Things are good in the present.

KTM - Do we have any future collaborations to look forward to on this album or at any shows that are coming up?

CJ - I'm trying to line up Warren G, Nate Dogg and Michael McDonald for a live version of "Regulators" but that's really on the down-low right now so don't mention anything.


KTM - That's why I love you, C Jordan! Back to busniess: Have you played Hotel Cafe before? If so, how was your last experience and what are your expectations for tonight's show?

CJ - I expect at leat two drink tickets per band member.

KTM - No shit. At the very least, right? What new music (local/indie/mainstream) are you listening to right now? Is there an artist or a band that you are really into at the moment?

CJ - I do spend a lot of time listening to LA bands. The Afternoons' songs sound especially good at the moment. I was really impressed by Everest when I saw them at the Let's Independent night. I heard a Death To Anders song on the radio a couple of weeks ago that was realy top-shelf. There really is a boatload of great bands in LA. It feels good to be here right now.

Just can't get enough...The Western States Motel



All of you cats and kittens have another chance to see The Western States Motel this week. Head out to Hotel Cafe tonight and see Carl Jordan play another lovely set with Jesse Squared (Jesse Taylor and Jesse Carlmichael), Yosuke Kitazawa, Brian Pearl.

Also on the bill tonight:
Willoughby and The Billionaires

Monday, May 12, 2008

Something to hit up tonight...



If done right, Orange County can be a nice little break from Los Angeles. Tonight, you have a chance to do it right. Head out to Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa and catch The Western States Motel support another talented Los Angeles band, Castledoor.

I caught a bit of Castledoor's acoustic set at {open} bookstore this past Saturday night (at Paul G. Maziar's book release party for What It Is: What It Is) and it made me thirsty for tonight's show. The Western States Motel has been showcasing some new material at their recent shows and it's good. Like, really good. Bound to be a good one tonight. Hope to see you there.

Sonic Treat of the Day: The Presets!



Visit RCRDLBL.com for a deliciously sick mix done by The Presets. Trust me. You want this. And it's a free download! We at Kill The Microphone heart RCRDBL!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Something to hit up tonight...



The reception for this exhibit will be on Friday, May 9, from 6-9pm.

"The School of Fine Arts at Otis College of Art and Design proudly presents the work of its Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates in the Galef Center for Fine Art, May 4 - May 11, 2008. Encompassing the work of the artists from the programs of Painting, Sculpture/New Genres and Photography, the show presents a wide range of media including performance, video, painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, sculpture and installation. The work is the culmination of four years of inquiry and experimentation by a group of emerging artists."

ALSO



One of Kill The Microphone's local favorites, The Movies, will be playing Spaceland tonight. Definitely worth checking out. Hit the art show up early and head out to Le Spaceland afterwards. See you there!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Review: The Heavy play Cinespace



The Heavy
May 7, 2008
Cinespace
- Dorian Coss

The radio is a dying format with the creation of iPods and shit. Why listen to somebody else's crap when I could listen to my own? But there is something magical about a DJ playing your favorite tune (for example, Jonesy is playing "Goodbye Horses" right now). It's a little sweeter than scrolling through an iPod menu and hitting play. It's like falling in love once again. Last night I watched a band called The Heavy play at Cinespace's Dim Mak Tuesdays. A good size crowd formed in anticipation. Skeptical at first, the audience went from a head nod to a full blown dance party (like the Haitian Akon show of recent memory). It was fun. With catchy hooks and a funky rhythm section the band has the potential for mainstream pop appeal (think Maroon 5's Adam Levine but with gritty, underground street cred, al a TV on the Radio or like a really cool looking Seal). The Heavy could be the "DJ's Next Pick" and you just may fall in love (see I knew I could tie the two together).

Check out their myspace page and be sure to get their CD.

The Heavy is also playing tonight at Bordello. Be sure to check them out before they head out for the rest of their tour.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Review: Felix Cartal, The Bloody Beetroots and LA Riots




LA Riots record release party
The Roxy
April 30, 2008
-Julio Iniguez

Wednesday night at the Roxy was LA Riots' post Coachella opportunity to shine and secure their spot on the super-star dj line-up and live up to their "LA's #1 DJ's" proclamation. There wasn't much of a line when we arrived at the Roxy at around 10 o'clock (the doors had opened at 9) so it wasn't long before we got our names highlighted on the RSVP list, got carded and where in the door. Once inside, we noticed that the place was at about half capacity. After grabbing a couple of drinks and sitting at the 2 drink minimum table, Felix Cartal promptly came out on stage.

10:30 pm

With Complete disregard to the music playing over the PA, Felix Cartal pressed play on his computer as soon as he walked through the curtains on the Roxy's stage. His music was immediate, beats that made the crowd pay attention to the young dude on stage behind a computer and a midi controller. From the first track, he brought new music with that fresh dirty electro feel. The dirty, choppy bass and heavy-hitting beats were keeping the heads bobbin and the feet moving and it's the beginning of the openers set? Tight.

For being a straight Ableton set with the most amount of work or skill being knob tweaking, Felix paid meticulous attention to what came out of the speakers, its progression and movement in the music. He switched from big room house, to more mainstream electro then to the dirty-dirty the indie scene is used to. He kept it alive and fresh and steered clear of monotony making for an altogether solid opening set by this newcomer from Canada.

11:30 pm

The Bloody Beetroots were up to bat, donning their gimmicky spider-man masks. Being a DJ duo immediately gives the critical fan a bit of an expectation. Why should there be two dudes and why they hell do they have to wear masks? The two dude answer came quickly as I looked for a computer on stage and couldn't find one. One beetroot was behind CD-J's and the main mixer and the other behind a sampler run through a kaos pad and another mixer. WTF? It's hard to tell what exactly they were doing with all this equipment but damn did they look busy and FUCK did it sound amazing. The chaotic mixes were not products of good production burned to cd's but more the work of the two tweaking the shit out of whatever was coming out of the cd's and the sampler. This chaos was very real any false push of a button and the sonic blast could fall apart. But apparently these boys have been locked in a room working on this for some time because all their transfers were virtually flawless. Plus, you could see that extra burst of energy come out of them after a successful transfer 'like fuck yea we survived.' Although they are not making the music live by any means, the way they put the tracks and samples together is not easy either. As in only they can do what they do. Respect. The crowd was feeling it. Everyone was shaking and grooving recognizing remixes of Chromeo, the Klaxons with that special Beetroot Tweak to it. They kept the crowd interested by rocking the new MSTRKRFT songs, which isn’t the Canadian duo’s best efforts but the Beetroots mixed them into to an energetic set, showcasing the song's true potential. Of course, they played "We are from Venice," and "Ill to Destroy" and other original tracks. This was by far the best and most impressive performance I’ve seen since MSTRKRFT at the Roxy last year. The only difference was the crowd wasn't sure how crazy to go. Maybe because it was an LA Riots party?

12:30 am

Daniel Le Disko began to set up his serato box as the Bloody Beetroots were finishing up their set with a deer in the headlights look in his eye. Why would he be scared? Did the peak of the night happen an hour too early? Of course being their CD Release party, LA Riots’ hard-core fans would be flocking the stage ready to get whipped into a rioting frenzy by the nasty beats to come from the headliners. Not exactly. Like The Bloody Beetroots, LA Riots is made up of two dudes, Daniel Le Disco and Jo’b. Unlike The Bloody Beetroots there is no point in them having two people on stage, unless you legitimately consider moral support a necessity on stage. Well, I guess he could have come in handy after everyone left to give Daniel a hug look him in the eye and say, “Dude, you failed.” Don’t get me wrong, Daniel Le Disko is a very talented DJ and he mixes like the best of them, but the song selection made me feel like I could possibly be at a wedding reception. Usually at a CD release party you want to impress and make some sort of musical statement, like check out these dirty ass beats you’ve never heard, or listen to my new tracks and remixes. Instead, he rocked a straight up party set with old school songs like Salt 'n Peppa and newer hits by Digitalism and The Klaxons without even attempting to remix, rework or edit any part of it. The same tired songs we’ve all been listening to at every party in every venue pretty much every night that something goes on. If their cd was titled “A collection: songs that are making this genre predictable, monotonous and boring” it would have been a great success, if the crowd was down with it. Unfortunately half of them left half way through their set.

Mark Your Calendars: July 19th - HARD Returns!!






HARD Summer Music Festival returns on July 19, 2008 at the Shine Expo Hall in downtown Los Angeles. This year, the folks at Ink Tank, DIM MAK and Nitrus have come together to give it to you Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger. with an INSANE line up:

N.E.R.D.
MSTRKRFT
Spank Rock
Kid Sister
A-Trak
Steve Aoki
The Bloody Beetroots (who fucking killed it last Wednesday at The Roxy)
Jason Bentley
Kill The Noise (hey, nice name!)
Miles Dyson
Destructo

Tickets go on sale Monday, May 5 via Ticket Master.

DIM MAK' OFFERING $10 OFF EACH PRESALE TICKET BUT YOU MUST USE THE CODE "DIMMAK."

What could possibly be cooler you might ask?

I'll tell you: When you visit the festival's website and sign up for their newsletter, you get an awesome mix by Destructo for $Free.99!! It's rad and is sure to get you pumped for the festival this summer.

It's going to be one for the books. See you there.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Review: The Last Check Yo Ponytail Ever




My dear friend, DJ Ahh!-G, was kind enough to give us a little review of last Los Angeles' farewell to the place that many attributed to the best nights of their lives: Frankie Chan's Check Yo Ponytail. Take it away, Ahh!-G...

Tuesday was an epic night in LA, with the big names from Coachella doing a couple different gigs around town. Things were definitely poppin’. I decided to go to "The Last Check Yo Ponytail EVER!" on Saturday night instead of the equally anticipated "Ed banger Part Deux Night" at Cinespace.

As I approached the long line into the Echoplex, it was nice to see a girl squatting for some unsuspected reason. I then noticed liquid trickling out form under her. I guess pissing your pants on the street while in line for a club is the new thing for the LA crowd. As hours, minutes, seconds go by, the line moves very slowly but having a posse there with me helped me along the crackdown on stupid fuckin’ drunk people.

Security was cracking down on these dumb fucks so, of course, the people that were stupid enough to be drunk while in line realized they needed to get some help in the next couple minutes. What better way then make the alcohol come out your body by self induced vomiting, right? I’m talking about some guy actually putting his hands down his throat in the middle of a long line of people waiting for some musical talent and throwing up all over the people that weren’t really too fond of the chunks that were flowing.

As I enter the place my theory was correct: a long line of people = not many people in the actual club. The sound was blaring and a Mr. Dan Deacon, whom I didn’t know much about (except that he did the fastest version of Ludicris’ "What’s Your Fantasy" I have ever thought about hearing) was to blame. As some guy on the mic starts shouting at people to do cheerleading hype maneuvers in the middle of the dance floor, I really did not know what was going on.

After loud noises, produced by toy pianos, were let loose, the audience got ready for the headliner, Mister Erol Alkan, a pioneer of the electro scene in London, in LA for the first time ever. I gotta say, only the true fans were there for this guy and I did like that, yes, big names like "Ed Banger" were gonna get a club filled, no doubt, but it was the rare DJ that prevailed this night.

Standing on a floor that felt like everyone in New York had spit their gum on, I was ready to hear only what a few people round the world have heard: HARD-HARD-HARD shit was poppin' out those massive speakers and the crowd was nuts bout it. So was I.

Mixing snippets from different songs like the new "To Protect and Entertain" and "CYOA," which of course, is under the Iheartcomix label. They were playing everything from "Dusty Kid" to the guys who were down the street from us, "Justice." It was the most knob-turning action I have seen in a long time. I can honestly say E. Alkan is the master of the Highs, Mids and Lows. Messing with loops, cues, effects, in & outs...and doing all this WITHOUT A LAPTOP!

Yes, I was in shock as well. Do not know what it is about DJs that are imports to this country, but all of ‘em know how to work Pioneers and mixers like no one’s business – and all with their own collection of music in CD form.

After having everyone in the place thinking they were cool enough to step on stage, some fucking guy threw water out onto the crowd every minute and I was spent. Was a good night in LA and I was happy. Of course, I did not get to attend the much-hyped Cinespace, housing the whole Ed Bang crew, but I did not feel bad. Those guys make trips to LA every couple of months, so I'm sure they’ll be back in no time.

So who won Cinespace VS. Check Yo Ponytail?

Well, being that I only went to Check Yo, I think they did a good job. I did not like the lines or the people, but the music was damn good. I was kind of shocked when I saw most of the crowd gone near the end of the night but then realized, “Oh yea, it’s Tuesday…what the hell am I doin' here?”

I could only imagine the crowd at Cinespace and how raped the Djs were with people over there.

Check Yo: I will miss you. Cinespace/Aoki: stop the hatin'.

-DJ Ahh!-G

Podcast: Portishead at Coachella!




"Simply because we can’t wait until Friday, we’re offering a preview of this week’s podcast: Portishead’s entire performance from Coachella on April 19th, 2008." - Web In Front

Click here to read the rest of the entry and to listen to the podcast!

Review: Death Cab For Cutie Secret Show at Spaceland



Death Cab For Cutie
Spaceland
April 29, 2008
-Hova Escobar

For the first time in almost 7 years, Death Cab For Cutie marked their return to Spaceland. This time they returned as a special guest for a private KROQ show to promote their new album Narrow Stairs. This writer decided to head out a little early to catch the vibe of the contest winners. Not your typical teeny bopper crowd that I would have expected seeing that contest winners were told to be there around 3pm and to be 21 and older. A small line snaked around, fans waiting in anticipation to see Death Cab at a smaller setting than the main stage at this past weekend's Coachella.

Surprisingly there weren't many fans of the band trying to talk their way in. This made for a much smaller crowd inside. Getting your drinks early in the day seemed to be on the contest winner's agenda. Why not when you can walk in and out of the front row as you please? After about an hour wait, KROQ's Kat Corbett was pointed to an awkwardly high microphone to introduce the band. Death Cab For Cutie finally made their way to the stage to a loud ovation and opened with "Photobooth."

Except for the brave few dancey superfans, the crowd seemed very mellow and subdued for a band of this magnitude. Some of the largest fan reactions in Death Cab's set actually came in between their sets. This included an impromptu skit where Ben Gibbard played the role of Roger Water's manager questioning Chris Walla playing the role of Roger Waters as to the reasoning behind having a floating pig at their performance at Coachella then letting it float away at night. Death Cab For Cutie also talked about their 2 previous Spaceland performances when the stage was on the opposite end of the club and the junior high prom background they now have at Spaceland since they last played. When they asked the crowd if anyone remembers the old setting, not too many hands when up. This made the band laugh a little and made them probably feel a little old.

They also mentioned to the audience that their set wouldn't be too long since they had to leave for the airport right after their performance. Some of the crowd favorites played by Death Cab were "Soul Meets Body," "The Sound of Settling," "Brothers on a Hotel Bed," and the current single from Narrow Stairs, "I Will Possess Your Heart." Despite the mellow vibe from the crowd, it was a balanced set for such a small set list. After all these years of playing in obscurity, they've now grown as a legit draw in Los Angeles. There aren't any more small Henry Fonda shows in the future for this band. They'll be back in town to play the Nokia Theatre. So if you missed them at Coachella or didn't manage to sneak into Tuesday's Spaceland show, then you'll have one last chance this June.