Live reviews & Photos

Live reviews


October 29th, 2015

From announcing on American Bandstand that she wanted to rule the world to donning menswear to being chained to a bed to flipping numerous controversies to her advantage to changing her mind to challenging public opinion on … everything, she has spent her career refusing to pipe down and recite publicist-approved answers like a pretty pop star ought to. So if at age 57, Madonna wants to play pretend as a singer/songwriter by hopping on a stool, strumming a ukulele and singing “La Vie en rose,” like she did during her Rebel Heart tour stop at the Forum Tuesday night, well, she said it best: “No one fucks with the queen.”

Live reviews


October 11th, 2015

"It’s Different For Girls" opens English singer-songwriter Joe Jackson’s solo piano set in this second of two sold-out nights downtown. There is no opening band tonight—just Jackson, bathed in simple colors and playing piano with a minimum of fanfare. Jackson’ extortionately rare quality is the palpable wistfulness in his voice; like an observer getting too involved in the story he’s telling. His is a confident, borderline strident tone of voice—with some of the most singular vowel pronunciations around—but it’s as if he’s caught himself watching, scolding himself for getting too close.

Live reviews

Grace Jones @ Hollywood Bowl

October 5th, 2015

The Grace Jones performance shot me out of my seat, crackers and cheese flying, to a galaxy far, far away and I've only just managed to float back down to earth to write about it. Grace Jones. It's rare to experience a show where each moment surpasses the last. And it was all just Grace Jones, stomping from here to there, howling and rhyming and chanting, singing and mumbling backstage between songs as she changed hats or jackets, crawling, posing, smiling, and hula hooping for something like fifteen minutes without missing a breath.

Live reviews

All the Instruments Agree: An Exhibition or a Concert (Day 1) @ The Hammer

September 28th, 2015

The afternoon was blazingly hot and the audience collected its wits slowly, attention finally settling on experimental duo Xina Xurner only when the first sheet of white noise came blasting from the second stage. An L.A. duo whose self-described specialty is “cunty noise-diva-dance anthems that ooze sex, death, and decay,” fronter Young Joon Kwak had the crowd from the first whoop. Tall and imposing in paint-splattered tights, Kwak strutted and howled like a panther as I moved in stage right for a closer look. She spotted me and, mic in hand, loped offstage, put her face into mine and gently pushed me horizontal with her forehead, my fingers scribbling notes and pen in danger of tangling in a sudden, entirely welcome explosion of fluffy black hair. Well on top of me by now, she moaned “YOU ARE SOOOOO CRUEL!” before bounding off into the crowd.

Live reviews


September 24th, 2015

Presently, Laetitia Sadier takes the stage, playing songs from her three solo albums, including her 2014 Drag City album Something Shines. One of the most underrated, understated voices to come out of the doldrums of the pop ‘90s with her work in Stereolab, hers is the kind of voice that’s been allowed to develop and mellow over the past couple of decades. You can hear her stretching out and relaxing within it as it flows over the rapt and raucous audience here tonight, not only comfortable in her own skin but in her own voice as well.

Live reviews


February 2nd, 2015

Maybe Bloody Death Skull is the missing link between the innocence of youth and the cynicism of the adult who yearns to be young again. They incorporate trippy costumes and obscure instruments. You might start questioning your existence, remembering your childhood (for better or worse) and getting in touch with some uncomfortable truths about the world.