September 17-20, 2015 With summer and festival season coming to a close, in steps KAABOO, a 3-day inaugural event held a sea breeze away from the Pacific at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The brain child of Denver based Bryan Gordon and a huge supporting cast, the fest offered a broad spectrum musical experience mixed with comedy, artists of many media and a late night party with an emphasis on the creature comforts for the masses that many festivals lack (real toilets for all!), and top flight culinary options in one of the best craft beer counties in the U.S. The challenge for any first timer with big ambitions is to establish not just an identity, but to create a distinctive experience that separates itself from the pack of an ever more crowded festival field. It is not enough to draw a weekend’s worth of headliners to a town near you with an eye chart worthy promo poster in tow. There is a lot on the line for KAABOO. Until now, there has not been a Southern California event with the musical diversity to befit the region that isn’t branded Coachella, and there has been a vacuum in San Diego since […]

Southern Soul Assembly, Regent Theater, Los Angeles

November 18, 2014 The Southern Soul Assembly is not the horn laden, Stax driven sound the name could conjure. Southern, yes, with Mark Broussard, Luther Dickinson, J.J. Grey and Anders Osborne covering that geographic territory. The soul is of a more personal nature. Four stringers and singers, trading songs, telling stories and swapping licks. The Assembly’s individual voices and playing are usually heard at higher volumes, often accompanied by furious soloing (Osborne), frets both foreign and familiar (Dickinson), swampy blues (Grey) and straight up blue eyed soul (Broussard). But in this configuration, they are songwriters first, just sharing tunes in a chill musical setting. The SSA was wrapping a western tour when they arrived last week at the Regent Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. The Regent is a 100-year old gem freshly reopened after 8 years by Mitchell Frank and his Spaceland crew, and perfectly suited to the occasion It’s bigger than your living room, but not by much (for this seated show, maybe 20+ rows of chairs plus a horseshoe balcony), and your bar isn’t as well stocked. Step outside, and you’re in the middle of downtown’s new golden age. So, as big a fan as I am of […]