Arroyo Seco Weekend, Brookside Golf Course, Pasadena

June 23-24, 2018 Arroyo Seco Weekend is not fussy. The beer is thick with local crafts, the something for everyone eats abundant with vegetarian options, and, yes, it felt like a day in the park with a rich soundtrack. The inclusive, relaxed setting and vibe made for one of most satisfying fest experiences I’ve had outside New Orleans. Goldenvoice worked out many of the freshmen kinks to bring us a uniquely L.A. area festival that was musically textured and easy to navigate, with zero attitude, when it so could have gone the other way. No need to pony up for VIP treatment here. Getting around was no issue, food and (pricey) drinks were never too far, Rose Bowl bathrooms were always an option, and while the Oaks stage was packed for headliners, it was manageable and easy to get close throughout most of the day. Oh, did I mention parking was included with entry? Even with only three stages, I still racked up 7-8 miles a day covering 30 of 36 acts over the weekend, but the 8th and 9th holes and driving range of Brookside felt like carpet compared to most fests. Near perfect June weather helped. Saturday highlights […]

Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters, Orpheum Theatre

    March 2, 2018 The last date of the Carry Fire Winter tour landed Robert Plant at the beautiful Orpheum Theatre in DTLA. The tour has stuck to smaller venues (the Orpheum holds about 2,000) while drawing on a consistent set list of multiple tunes from both “Carry Fire” and “Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar”, as well as a few quieter Zeppelin touchstones and other blues and traditional material.  The chance to see Plant in such intimate confines throughout the tour was special, considering the next time he’ll be in SoCal will be as headliner at the second day of Arroyo Seco Weekend. But it was also special, because the room so fit the music coming from the stage. Adventurous, personal, rooted in history, but not confined by it.  Ten years ago when the Raising Sand collaboration brought Plant together with Alison Krauss, the incredibly talented singer, songwriter and fiddle player, she of the bluegrass origins and more Grammys on her shelf than any other singer or female artist ever, it struck me as a WTF leap that could have been a disaster. Instead the critically acclaimed (and Grammy winning) project knocked me out that he could even pull […]

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Hollywood Palladium

October 7, 2014 Few voices in rock stand as tall and as memorable as Robert Plant’s. Whether it’s the reverb drenched “aahs” in “Black Dog” or the screaming howl that caps “Whole Lotta Love”, that voice is embedded into the brain of any fan born before 1965, and then some. But Plant has rebooted himself more than a few times since the salad days of his old band and continues to challenge himself as an artist, while neither running from, or towards, his legacy. Many of Plant’s musical contemporaries will roll along familiar ground until the wheels come off. But not Plant. In his solo career, the Staffordshire born Brit has embraced Americana and roots in recent years with the likes of T-Bone Burnett, Allison Krauss and Patty Griffin, and now turns the planet on its ear fusing world beats and African sounds with his Sensational Space Shifters. Forget reinvention. This is career forged exploration from a man still trying to live the “golden god” moniker down. No phoning it in. Musical bravery, if you ask me. Plant scheduled a handful of US dates for his “lullaby…and the ceaseless roar” tour, and I was fortunate to catch the start of his […]
May 23
by Jim Brock in Reviews 1 comments tags: Abner Ramirez, accordion, Acura Stage, Alabama Shakes, Alejandro Escovedo, Alex McMurray, Allen Toussaint, Alynda Lee Seggara, Amanda Sudano, Americana, Anders Beck, Anders Osborne, Arcade Fire, Astral Project, Avett Brother, B-3, Baritone Bliss, baritone sax, Bernard Allison, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Big Freedia, Big Sam Williams, Bill Nershi, Blodie's, Blues Tent, Bombino, Bonerama, Boz Scaggs, Brittany Howard, Casandra Faulconer, Chaka Khan, Chick Corea, Christina Aguillera, Chuck D, Cody Dickinson, concert photography, Congo Square, Cowboy Mouth, Creedence Clearwater, Dan Oestreicher, David Shaw, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dumpstaphunk, E Street, Ed Williams, Eric Clapton, ES-335, Eye on the Music, Ezra Koenig, Fender guitar, Flavor Fav, Fred LeBlanc, Gal Holiday, Galactic, George Porter, Glen David Andrews, Greensky Bluegrass, Gregory Davis, Gregory Porter, Henry Butler, Honey Island Swamp Band, Hooray for the Riff Raff, Infamous Stringdusters, Irvin Mayfield, Ivan Neville, James Si, Jason Isbell, Jazz Fest, Jazz Tent, Jimmy Buffet, Joe Krown, John Boutte, John Fogerty, John Fohl, John Hiatt, John Thomas Griffith, Johnny Sansone, Johnny Vidacovich, JOHNNYSWIM, Jonathon Boogie Long, Keb Mo, Lakland, Laura Mvula, Led Zeppelin, Liam Tyson, Lil' Nathan, Little Freddie King, Lonnie Smith, Luther Dickinson, Lyle Lovett, Maggie Koerner, Marcia Ball, music photography, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans music, New Orleans Suspects, Nikki Glaspie, North Mississippi Allstars, Patry, Paul Languedoc, pedal steel, Pharoah Sanders, Phish, Public Enemy, Quint Davis, Raul Malo, Reggie Scanlon, riti, Robert Earl Keen, Robert Plant, rock photography, Rodriguez, Roger Lewis, Roosevelt Collier, Runnin' Pardners, Russ Broussard, Russell Batiste, Samsung Galaxy Stage, Santana, Sensational Space Shifters, slide guitar, Soul Rebels, Southeastern, Springsteen, Stanton Moore, Stratocaster, String Cheese Incident, Sugarman, Tab Benoit, Terence Blanchard, The Mavericks, The Meters, The Nevilles, The Radiators, The Revivalists, The Wailers, Threadhead Records, Tom Morello, Tony Hall, Trey Anastasio, trombone, Trombone Shorty, Vampire Weekend, Voice of the Wetlands, Walter Wolfman Washington, Wayne Toups, Win Butler, World Boogie, Zachary Richard, zydeco, Zyedcajun

Reflections of a Wandering Jazz Fest Photographer

Years come and go. Jazz Fests do not. They endure. Each seemingly better than the last. Each its own indelible stamp on the soul. Jazz Fest 45 had everything going for it and, man, it did not disappoint. From the time the lineup dropped in January and headliner after headliner brought smiles, to the days of Fest without a drop of rain and temps in the 70s and 80s, to the ensuing butter and crawfish withdrawl, Fest 45 delivered. The big moments were big – Springsteen and New Orleans deepening their love affair, an epic crowd for Clapton, Phish’s return after 18 years and Robert Plant flashing some legend. But the small moments were big, too. Kindness spread generously throughout the Fair Grounds for seven days and musicians who were on stage one day would be roaming around the next. Locals Johnny Sansone, Irvin Mayfield and James Singleton were regularly spotted throughout the Fest. Photographer and fan frequently collide within me. Call it an occupational hazard. Stay on task, cover ground, hit my stages. But sometimes, you gotta just put the gear down and take it all in. I actually managed to do that (a little). I’ve come to the […]