Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Rock

I went to a bunch of concerts this year. Here's a rundown of all the shows I can remember going to this year. In 2010, I plan to review each show I go to.

January 31 – Michael Franti and Spearhead at Club Nokia

I won these tickets from . This was a very interesting show. Spearhead have a reggae-rock fusion that is very catchy. I normally don't like reggae, but this was a great show. They opened with "Everybody Ona Move", a big high energy song. Watch a great clip here with guest Boots Riley:

In the middle of the show, guest singer Cherine Anderson was singing and brought a guy out of the audience. They danced suggestively and soon the guy started stripping. He was down to his underwear and eventually he flashed the audience his front. There's a video on myspace here: (skip to 8 minutes)

I think they closed with Say Hey (I love you), which is a really amazing song. Here's a clip of it from The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

March 6 – Tom Jones – Club Nokia

I sang the chorus to "What's New Pussycat" to win tickets to this show. Tom Jones was the only act, no crappy opening bands. What surprised me was how he blitzed through a 2 hour set with so much energy.

I remember him opening with "I'm Alive" a new song with great energy. Towards the end he did the songs I know including "What's New Pussycat" and "It's Not Unusual". I remember lots of underwear being thrown on stage.

March 17 – Ladyhawke at The Troubadour

I fell in love with this act in the summer of 2008 on the tip of a blog that was following the 2008 election. Ladyhawke has an amazing 80s vibe that is really enchanting.

I recorded and posted the whole show here:

I bought these tickets off a scalper because I waited too long to buy tickets. The show had started off with a lot of technical difficulties but it was great nonetheless. My favorites were the extended versions of Dusk til Dawn and Paris is Burning.

April 23 – Depeche Mode – Hollywood and Vine

This was a free show that was recorded for the Jimmy Kimmel Show. They closed down a large part of Hollywood Blvd west of Vine for the stage and crowd area. I got there around 2PM and waited in line for hours. Hooray for the LA Metro. I would have hated trying to park there.

The soundcheck started around 4PM and they performed Wrong and Never Let Me Down. Everyone in line sang along, which was fun.

After being funneled through registration, I finally got to my crappy viewpoint. I remember a hot chick in front of me doing some coke around sunset and leaving before the show started. After the show I got a look at the layout of the place and it seems people who got there after me got closer to the stage. Grrr. Although the area was gated off, there were so many people who showed without tickets they almost caused a riot.

The show started around 6:30. They kicked off with Wrong and then played a great new take on Personal Jesus. They played Walking in my Shoes, Come Back, Peace, a great extended version of Enjoy the Silence and closed with Never Let Me Down.

May 9 – Shiny Toy Guns – Club Nokia

I won these tickets through la metblogs. Unfortunately, my friend was in such a bad mood it ruined the show. He wanted to eat, which delayed us getting to the venue and I missed out on some prizes I had also won.

He was in a really pissy mood and wanted to leave. I didn't get to see all of Shiny Toy Guns' set. L

May 20 – NIN|JA – Irvine Meadows

One of my favorite shows of the year was NIN|JA. My favorite band, nine inch nails, playing with the amazing Janes Addiction and Tom Morello's side project Street Sweeper Social Club.

I managed to get pit tickets via the fanclub. One perk of the fanclub tickets is the special entrance to get in early. I had a nice spot in the second row of the pit. This was one of the first shows I started pre-medicating myself to ease my back pain due to my valley fever disease. I ended up taking four ibuprofen through the course of the night.

Street Sweeper Social Club played in the afternoon sun and really blew me away. Not since Marilyn Manson in 1994 had I been this amazed with an opening act.

The sun didn't even set when nine inch nails took the stage. They opened with Now I'm Nothing, a song I thought I'd never hear live. I also got to hear another two favorites: The Becoming and The Fragile. Midway through the set, some assholes pushed their way forward and I had to really fight just to stay upright. Totally worth it to see NIN up so close.

Check out my video from the show:

I fled to the back of the pit for Janes Addiction. It was a chill set. I didn't really know any Janes songs, but I had fun.

May 29 – VAST – The Key Club

VAST headlined a show of a large bill of bands. One of my favorites of the night was Leerone, a great bluesy act.

This version of VAST had a keyboardist/saxophone player, an addiction I'd been waiting years to see. They played a great mix of old and new songs. On Thrown Away, the backup vocals from the Nude version returned, much to my delight. Don't Take Your Love Away, blogged here, was a very interesting take since the keyboards were replaced with guitar. They also played Lost, which had an epic sax solo. They closed with Flames, which had a guest celloist and made for a fantastic end.

I purchased a special ticket through VAST's website and attended a meet and greet afterwards. I waited patiently to get my picture with Jon Crosby.

June 3 – modwheelmod – The Knitting Factory

I attended this show to buy some vinyl for a fellow goon. Modwheelmod's performance was great and I saw a bunch of my nin buddies there. This is a great photo set of the show from my friend Mel.

July 11 – The Dan Band – Club Nokia

After attending Mobilecamp LA with the Nokia N97 blogger crew, I met up with them for dinner at LA Live.

While Jonathan Bruha was down in the club watching the show, I hung out with Andrew Currie, Mathew Bennett and George Kelly in the VIP lounge and watched The Dan Band from the HD monitors there.

The Dan Band was very interesting. I loved the comedy aspect of their act. There were lots of songs done by women performed by men. They closed with Single Ladies and even matched the dance routine.

September 2 – nine inch nails – Hollywood Palladium

This was the first Los Angeles show of the final leg of the Wave Goodbye tour. This show featured a performance of The Downward Spiral album in its entirety. There was also a rare performance of "Lights in the Sky" and an appearance of Gary Numan.

September 8 – nine inch nails – Henry Fonda Theater

This was my favorite show of the year. NIN's performance was facemelting. Lots of great jewels from the 31 song setlist included "I'm Afraid of Americans", "Just Like You Imagined", "I Do Not Want This" and "Down in the Park" with Gary Numan. I was especially excited to hear "Get Down Make Love" for the first time and also featured the return of Danny Lohner.

September 10 – nine inch nails – The Wiltern

The final nine inch nails show ever was most non-heinous. I had gotten there early at 2PM to get a good spot and ended up in the balcony anyway.

The final setlist was marathon set of 37 songs. My favorites were "Down In It", featuring a little modded lyric to include wave goodbye,"Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)" with guest Dave Navarro and the last song of the night, "In This Twilight". Thanks for so many great memories Trent.

October 1 – The Horrors – El Rey Theater

More tickets I won from the losanjealous blog. I thought this band was an electronic band and they ended up being noise.

October 4 – Ladyhawke – space15twenty

A free great acoustic set from Ladyhawke at space15twenty, a really cool store across the street from Amoeba Records. I got to sit right up front and watch. Pretty strange that her badn has a bunch of pretty buys in skinny black jeans.

The bright California sun made for great video I shot with my N97 I posted here:

Also check out my photo set I made with my N82

October 17 – Italian Hitweek – Henry Fonda Theater

Yet more tickets from losanjealous. This was a showcase of many Italian acts. I got to see a reggae band and a violin-guitar duo. There was an amazing pianist named Giovanni Allevi. I also saw a great instrumental rock band called Calibro35. Check out a video I shot here:

October 25 – Hit the Lights – The Knitting Factory

I won tickets to see the last show ever at the Hollywood Knitting Factory. It was nice to be a part of history. Here's a vid from the show:

November 23 – Green Day – Nokia Plaza at LA Live

My final show of the year was a free show put on by the same people who did the dépêche mode show earlier in the year. It was a cold day in LA and I was very bundled up. I got there pretty early around 3PM and the line was already halfway around the convention center.

It turns out this show was being recorded for a New Years Eve show and there were lots of NYE party favors being distributed. I ended up with a tiara.

I saw Billy Joe's kid on the side of the stage before the show started. I hadn't seen Green Day since 1994 when they opened at Lollapalooza. That kid was conceived around that time. I feel old.

Green Day opened with "Know Your Enemy" and played a bunch of songs I wasn't familiar with. They played my favorite song, "Welcome to Paradise". I recorded it with the Nokia 5530 I was using at the time, but the audio was horrid. While waiting in line, I heard Nice Guys Finish Last during the soundcheck. I was upset it was not in the main set list.


The outlook for 2010 looks great, with the long awaited triumphant return of RAMMSTEIN to the US.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I had a wonderful White Christmas

HDR - White Christmas, originally uploaded by Al Pavangkanan.

I spent my Xmas at my brother-in-law's house in Oklahoma City. On Xmas eve, it snowed all day. There was 10 inches of snow on Xmas morning.

I made my first HDR with my Nokia N97. I used a pen and the touchscreen and I think the result is a little blurry, but adequate. It would have been better if I had a bluetooth keyboard.

A few days ago, I was following @aussietrip on twitter and won a Nokia Booklet 3G for helping Kylie find where she left John on their 48 hour trip in Australia.

Today, I got a a bit of money and a George Foreman grill. I'm really looking forward to making grease free meats.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Delta Airlines: Not Recommended

My tiny plane on way to Houston

Sunday night, I was set to fly from Los Angeles to Atlanta at 10:55 PM. When I checked in at 8:30, my e-ticket said "SEAT REQUEST". With time to kill, I found a seat and plugged in my laptop and tethered off my N97.

Delta has a very informative check in system. It tells you if you are cleared, standby and other statuses. The standby screen shows up to 25 people. I wasn’t on the list. Apparently they were forced to change to a smaller plane and 40 people were bumped. They said take a seat and people will be helped in the order they arrived. After a long period of confusion, a staff member announced that people were switched to an 11:55 flight. I was never called so I got in line. I barely got a ticket in time to make the next flight.

Luckily I got an aisle seat. The flight was quick as I dozed in and out of sleep. Compound with this with my 3 hours of sleep Saturday night, I wasn’t feeling too well when the plane arrived in Atlanta around 7am local time. By the time I got off the plane, it was 7:25. My flight was set for 7:30 in a different terminal. After finding an information desk, I was set for an 8:35 flight to my final destination of Houston. Again, I got “SEAT REQUEST”. I opened up Gravity on my N97 to check my tweets for the morning while waiting at the gate. I was glad to see my name was on the cleared list and I had a seat.

I got to board early and found my seat near the front. I looked at my watch as the time slowly dragged on. It wasn’t until 9:35 that the flight took off. I tried to fall asleep but there was a baby crying behind me. The flight landed at Houston Bush International around 11:15. My mom was supposed to pick me up, but she went to Terminal C while I was at Terminal B. She was told all arrivals were there. There are no signs that say Delta is at Terminal B. Mom had been there since 10am and being lost and forced to loop multiple times made her cranky. She wanted me to walk from Terminal B to C. After convincing her it would be easier for her to since she had a car, she finally found me around noon and I was on my way.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Grinchmas


This morning I went to the 9:45AM screening of Avatar in IMAX 3D. I didn't get there as early as I would have liked and ended sitting up front and missing the first five minutes.

Spoiler free review: The 3D was impressive. I kept thinking of Zerg, not Smurfs as everyone has said. Also Pokemon.

Since I was at Universal, I decided to go to the theme park. I went to the Waterworld show first. I love the stunts. Here's a couple of videos I shot with my N97. The quality turned out pretty good.


I then checked out the Terminator 2: 3D show. I hadn't seen the show in many years. Loved the effects and all the glory devoted to the Governator. Its interesting to see how far James Cameron has come in terms of 3D movies after watching Avatar.

I planned on checking out the Special Effects and Backdraft stages, but since I bought a rum Icee, I couldn't go in. I walked about the lower backlot and got my picture taken with Conan O'Brien. The staff member commented on how cool my N97 was after taking this picture for me.

Me and Conan

It was late in the afternoon so I decided to go find food. On my way out, I stumbled upon the Whoville Christmas tree. It was set up where the old Wild West Stunt show was. They also had snow to play with. Merry Grinchmas

Merry Grinchmas

Friday, December 18, 2009

Santa Con 2009

Santa Con 2009 took place on December 12.

I was supposed to be in Chinatown for lunch, but I was very late. You can't go to Santa Con without drinking like Santa, so I went to BevMo in search of a flask and some whiskey. After browsing around aimlessly, I asked a guy working there for help and he showed me a cheap plastic flask and a nice flask that cost $25. He then remembered about some gift sets and showed me a couple. First was a brandy gift set, which was around $25. There were also some whiskey gift sets. I went with a Jack Daniels gift set for $30 that consisted of a nice black flask and a huge bottle of whiskey.

I made my way to the Sepulveda Orange Line Station. I opened up my gift set and thought that I'm probably going to make a mess without a funnel. Luckily the bottle's opening was designed to match the flask's mouth, so there was very little spillage. I made my way to the ticket dispenser and decided to get a week's ticket since I wanted to do travel about LA the following week. Turns out the weekly pass wasn't valid until Sunday, so I had to buy another day pass for the day. :(

On the way to Chinatown, I ran into two more Santas. I made friends with one of them, Chris, and hung out with him and his friends for the rest of the day.

Around 12:30, all the Santas made their way to the Chinatown Gold Line stop. It was very weird to see so many Santas. I especially enjoyed the Santa girls in slutty outfits. Everyone crowded into the train for the first stop at Mariachi Square. All the Santas really packed into the train and there wasn't even room to move.

At the first stop, there were some announcements or something going on. We were given a list for some kind of scavenger hunt, but I don't think anyone tried to really play. They were too busy getting drunk. I saw one Santa throwing up into a trash can.

The Santas moved on to East LA. We stopped at a Mexican restaurant and the new milk and cookies: cerveza and tortilla chips. There was also a mariachi band and lots of caroling. On the way out of the restaurant, there was a clown protest. They had chants and signs and even pushed around some Santas. A couple of the girl clowns were wearing skirts that didn't even cover their butts. NICE

The rain started pouring as we made our way back to Union Station. On the ride back, we sang dirty Christmas carols. Some of the Santas stayed at the bar while others went to Disney Hall to carol. I went with them, but we were too disorganized and there was no caroling.

All the Santas moved on to Pershing Square. I got caught under the mistletoe and got a kiss while waiting for a corn dog. Some of the Santas went ice skating whiles others made their way to the Down and Out pub. The Santa who got sick at the first stop was there dancing.

We headed to Little Tokyo for dinner. It was my first trip there in many years and it was nice to see what was there. After dinner, my group of Santas decided to go home instead of seeing the main group of Santas at a karaoke bar.

Santa Con was a ton of fun. Can't wait for next year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The 2009 LA Auto Show

Chocolate shirt, Chocolate mini

Last week, my old friend Ozzie invited me to the LA Auto Show. He works for Honda so he has tons of passes. Kinda strange hanging out with him. Despite being a dad and engaged, he's constantly hitting on women.

Monday is the best day to attend. Its not crowded at all so, it makes it easy to talk to everyone there.

The Ford exhibit had lots of games to play. The Fiesta display was pretty cool. They set up a kiosk (with a very poor metal keyboard) that was set up with access to facebook and twitter. There was a neat interactive display that had pictures of a few of the people involved with the Fiesta Movement. I also saw a Grand Theft Auto type game and a table with a 4 player car race. There was also a great F-150 off road driving simulator.

There was also a foosball table set up and I got in a game with 5 random people. The other team jumped out to an early lead but my team made a comeback after I got moved off being the goalie. The game came down to the wire with 1 point left to score for each team and I scored the winning goal!

Just played foosball at the ford booth

I think my favorite trend I saw this year was USB jacks next to the charger ports. Makes things simple. Volvo's booth had New Moon product placement, which was weird. The Lincoln pavilion showed off Microsoft Sync, which has a creepy avatar that talks.

I'm bummed I never found the time to go back and check out more cars. There's always next year.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Hit the Lights - Hey Jealousy - Live at the Knitting Factory

On October 26, 2009, the Knitting Factory closed its doors for the final time. Hit the Lights was the last band to headline the venue. This is their cover of Hey Jealousy.

Calibro 35 - Hitweek - Henry Fonda Theater

Hitweek was an Italian culture festival. It concluded with a 2 day concert at the Henry Fonda Theater.

This was my favorite act.

Ladyhawke - An acoustic set at space15twenty

Filmed at space15twenty, a really cool shop in Hollywood close to Amoeba Records.
This concert started around 1PM, so the light was great.

The New Direction

This is going to be regular blog now, not just videos.
I tried out wordpress, but it is way too complicated.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ladyhawke, Live, Troubadour, 3/17/2009