LAMC Day 4 Recap

The final day of LAMC always proves the least scheduled and offers the first and only day not racing against time.  Traditionally the conference concludes with an early afternoon show at the Central Park SummerStage.  This year’s final show was a spectacular line-up, and denizens of NYC had cued up a very long line to get into the park.  The opening featured another new talent coming out of Santiago, Chile and  quickly rising to international success — electro-pop and disco sensation Alex Anwandter.

Just before he started the show, backstage there was the vaguely ominous sight of an NYPD officer wandering in search of the venue management.  The band jumped into a beat and Alex danced onto the stage for his first song and hit-single, “Cómo Puedes Vivir Contigo Mismo?” and the crowd cheered.  But as soon as he completed it the house manager came on stage in an unexpected sight and whispered into Alex’s ear.  Alex returned to the mic and apologized to the crowd — he had to leave the stage because a storm was coming and the show was going to be suspended.  Obviously, this did not go over well with a packed crowd that had waited for hours in the humid heat, and still holding signs aloft in anticipation of the artists yet to come.  It took multiple announcements, including a few by the NYPD to get the disgruntled uncooperative crowd to disperse on order of the park being closed by Storm and Flood Warnings.

Equipment was hastily moved and covered, trucks backed-up in anticipation of an end-of-show load-out.  Backstage, faces were in a state of shock and many were stunned.  Natalia Clavier, herself an LAMC main-stage act days earlier lamented, “I HAVE to see this show!  It’s just too good of a line-up!”. We watched radar images on phone apps, witness to large heavy rain clouds heading toward the park.  The die-hard fans forced to exit the park, formed a 1000-person long-line and maintained hope along with the reet of us the park would re-open.  And whether by force-of-will or musical providence, the enormous formations headed straight for the park shifted, parted, and abated . 

You could hear a roar erupt from outside the park as the radio transmission broadcast to park perimeter security announced the show was back-on.  The crowd raced inside the park as Alex Anwandter was already onstage resuming his set.  Alex made a note his next song was fitting and indeed, as he began the ballad, “Tormenta,” the less-threatening rain began.

The two hour delay threatened the show to run against performance curfew but the park authorities extended the curfew a half-hour, and the stage-crew rushed change-outs between sets, forcing each act to only shorten their set by one or two songs

Perhaps the most desperate fans were anticipating the second act of the show — Mexican alt-singer-songwriter and last years LAMC discovery award winner, Carla Morrison.  Many fans held signs wishing her early birthday wishes and were thrilled to finally see her, and she seemed just as relieved to see them — it was this group most defiant to leave the park upon the shows suspension.  It was obvious how confident her stage presence had grown in just a year since she won the Discovery Award and she frequently sang to crowd outside the protective canopy of the stage, basking in the summer rain.

A quick change-out finally brought the prodigious headliner, Mexican singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentslist, and producer Julieta Venegas to a roar of approval.  Cursing away the delay, she and her band jumped into an energetic and musical set and delighted the rain-drenched crowd, evoking a loud cheer each time she donned her accordion.

Despite the heat, and threat of major storms, LAMC 2013 came to a storybook ending.  We joined some of the LAMC crew for an actual sit-down dinner with real utensils — some amazing Argentinian — absent of any laptops to work upon or scheduled to keep, now that an amazing week of music and organized chaos had come to an end.  We met friends at the lounge setting of Bar at Dream Downtown and took in our last hours of NYC viewing the abstracted haze-filled skyline from the rooftop of Ph-D.  It was another great year…but it sure will be nice to get back to Los Angeles.  

LAMC 2013 Day 3 Recap

Friday always proves one of the busiest and chaotic days for us at LAMC, but also one of the most enjoyable and this year proved no different.

We started the day’s activities with Raul introducing the morning’s fist panel: “Digital Dinero: Streaming, Social Media and the New Music Economy” — a prescient discussion for some of the biggest acts (offering panelist Camilo Lara of Mexican Institute of Sound) to the burgeoning self-produced artist — which comprise a significant portion of LAMC’s annual attendees.  The panel also included reps from major labels, music services, licensing, and music streaming services including Pandora, and YouTube/Google.  I had a reminder of the influence of new media, when an attendee noticed my KCRW shirt and informed he had discovered the station looking up info on the artist Gotye and the MBE live session was one of the immediate search listings. (Note to whomever at KCRW:  this latest design drew the most compliments I have ever received, even by people who don’t realize it is for a media outlet…)

With the rest of the day so busy, we wanted to prep our “studio” for our guests later that night, but Raul had his own whirlwind tour of the Media Room to make it through first.  With his sixth year as the host of LAMC, many Latino and Entertainment outlets were interested in asking him about the expansion and role of LAMC and the continual redefinition of the term “Latin Alternative.”

The rain which never manifested yesterday, wound up presenting itself in torrential buckets today.  It impeded our journey to the LAMC/Celebrate Brooklyn show at Prospect Park, and we wondered if it would impact the turn-out, as attendees in past years have lined-up for literal miles around the park to get into a free venue to see some amazing acts in years past.

In the end we weren’t too surprised to hear the roar of a crowd as we approached the park entrance and Mexican Institute of Sound was opening their set.   Sheets of rain came down hard again as the Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich and Fussible took the stage, but the crowd — drenched following days of oppressive heat, consumed the whole experience as if it was part of the show, and the band ate up the energy, themselves dancing and spinning at edge of the storm — the electronic instrumentalists careful to not get too wet.

Anytime in Brooklyn we’re obliged to at least grab a quick drink with our friend DJ Jon Cutler, having introduced us to many cool spots in the city over the years.  But it was too brief as we needed to race all the way back to Manhattan and the New Yorker for Friday night’s live show, featuring two special guests and an amazing live session to bring you. 

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First up was indie-electronic rock band Astro, hailing from the same myriad and profound music scene coming out of Santiago, Chile the past few years, and last night’s recipients of the LAMC 2013 Discovery Award.  Raul spoke with them about winning the award, their rapid success, and the robust sounds emerging from Santiago recently.

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Our next guest may have been the highlight of the entire trip.  It’s difficult to ascribe only one or two adjectives to Lila Downs and hope to encapsulate her career and sound.  "Mexican-American" may accurately describe her ethnicity and nationality, but hardly surmises her cultural biography and heritage.   "Singer-songwriter" might be a performance categorization many can identify, but largely remiss describing Lila’s compositions evocative of Mexican traditional incorporating African and other World music elements, along with pop influences, and recording songs in many indigenous languages. 

Raul spoke with her, in between selections from her rapturous performance at Central Park SummerStage — discussing the show, her career and influences, upcoming show at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles Sept. 22nd, and her surprise guest last evening Angélique Kidjo.  The interview proved so fantastic we couldn’t fit it all into the allotted showtime and added the rest of the segments onto the KCRW/LAMC webpage.  We wrapped up our live coverage and said our thanks you’s to the many people who helped us through the course of the week — but we still had one more day of LAMC to cover.