If one could simply download dinner, grocery stores would crash and burn. With the Internet bringing new music and unlimited songs to our fingertips, people certainly aren’t buying albums with the same gusto as they did when the vinyl record, eight-track or CD were first released. Music is becoming cheap and expendable; over time musicians in our society have evolved from role models, revolutionaries and political powerhouses into walking advertisements and barbershop gossip. But don’t lose faith just yet.
While the Internet has made recordings cheap and the media’s focus on popular musicians has created a distrust between musicians and their audiences, it has bolstered the rejuvenation of live music. Aside from the catchy pop beats that seem to be the background of every song that gets thrown at us, there are still real people out there making real music. There is something special about live music. Live performance is quickly becoming the only aspect of music that is still in the hands of the musicians. It is honest, organic, refreshing, and, most important of all, it is human. It’s this natural inclination to love music to which I am trying to appeal.
The gross reality of the musical world is that only a miniscule portion of artists make enough money to get by on record sales, and even fewer are played on the radio. That leaves the overwhelming majority of bands to make a living through performing. They depend on ticket sales and pride themselves on giving audiences a special, tangible experience. You won’t see them on the floor at the Laker’s games, and they won’t bother starting drama at the Video Music Awards, but they are some of the most talented musicians around.
If you find yourself bored when what you’re listening to isn’t a sing-along chorus, I will go ahead and say that this probably isn’t for you. If you like experiencing music for yourself, feeling the vibrations of the bass strings and the pulse of the crowd through the venue, keep reading. Live music can be a visceral, emotional and, in my case, addictive experience. It is my hope to provide you all with updates and recommendations on upcoming shows in the L.A. area throughout the year for those of you who love live music.
Oct. 6, Lotus, The Roxy Theatre (West Hollywood). Lotus brings a dance party with them everywhere they go. Playing in-between genres, Lotus creates a groove that is a blend of instrumental rock and electronic dance music, almost progressive house music. It has something for everyone. With jazz, funk and jam roots, they construct a sound that sucks the audience in and holds their attention throughout a show full of funky electro-beats and swirling transitions. Lotus’s “Pay What You Want Tour,” which will be stopping at the Roxy on Oct. 6, allows each fan to decide what price to pay for their ticket starting from one dollar, similar to Radiohead’s In Rainbows album released two years ago. If a band is confident enough to pull a stunt like that, it is probably something worth witnessing. We all know how well In Rainbows turned out. There isn’t much else going down on Tuesday nights anyways, what is there to lose by checking it out? Just one dollar. At WV’s Allgood Festival this summer they played fearlessly alongside festival favorites Moe, Umphrey’s Mcgee, Dark Star Orchestra, and Bob Weir & Ratdog. They are simply great performers who love what they do. They play music for music lovers.
Oct. 14, Pretty Lights, The Key Club (West Hollywood). If you crave something that will make you want to put your feet through the floor because you are dancing so hard, there is something for you the following Wednesday at the Key Club. Pretty Lights will be making their first L.A. appearance since the Electronic Daisy Carnival (EDC) back in June. If you can’t make it up to Loveolution next weekend and can’t shake the urge to get down, this is your show. I didn’t have the chance to hit up EDC, but at Bonnaroo this summer there seemed to be an overwhelming consensus that Pretty Lights owned the electronic contingent at the festival, topping Girl Talk, Crystal Castles, and Paul Oakenfold for the best DJ set. In a generation where music lovers of all genres can find a common respect for rockin’ beats, Pretty Lights is changing the game. Producer Vincent Smith layers and contrasts some soulful vintage beats with powerful, bumping synths for a fresh sound and pure taste that audiences are raving about all over the country. Check out prettylightsmusic.com, where the duo’s first three albums are free for download. The music speaks for itself.