KAABOO 2016

September  16-18, 2016 KAABOO is an art and food festival with a serious music problem – a weekend away with a killer soundtrack. With a year to percolate since last year’s inaugural, KAABOO again flashed musical diversity, tasty cuisine, artisanal liquids, five-story art, good humor and an abundance of creature comforts around the historic Del Mar Fairgrounds. It’s an event and region meant for each other.The brainchild of entrepreneur Bryan Gordon, KAABOO is also a refreshing break from the AEG, Goldenvoice and Live Nation events that dominate much of the festival landscape. Sophomore KAABOO was not without its hiccups, but its place in the California festival landscape is certainly secure. Aerosmith saw to that. The unlikely pairing of Macy Gray and Chris Isaak kicked off the event Thursday night for those with “Amplify” passes. Her set was frothy, funky, full of sexuality and maybe a little lost on the not so danceable crowd, while his was schmaltzy, entertaining and well rehearsed with his band of 30 years (and the guy can still hit all the high notes of “Wicked Game” without flinching and probably ages slower than the rest of us). Not to mention there was so much good food being […]

KAABOO, Del Mar

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 […]
May 27
by Jim Brock in Reviews 1 comments tags: A Tribe Called Red, Acura Stage, Alex McMurray, Allen Toussaint, Anders Osborne, Andrew Bird, Astral Project, AXS TV, B.B. King, Band of Horses, banjo, baritone sax, Beausoleil, Ben Harper, Ben Jaffe, Big Sam Williams, Bill Summers, Billy Hart, Billy Joel, Black Crowes, Black Keys, Blues Tent, Bonerama, Brian Blade, C.J. Chenier, Calexico, Campbell Brothers, Carl Dufrene, Carlo Nuccio, Carousel bar, Cecil McBee, Cesar Rosas, Charlie Musselwhite, concert photography, Congo Square Stage, Corey Glover, Corey Henry, Craig Handy, Dan Auerbach, Danilo Perez, Dark Matter, Dave Malone, Dave Matthews, David Shaw, David Torkanowksy, David Weiss, Debbie Davis, Del McCoury, Dianne reeves, DMB, Dr. John, Dumpstaphunk, Economy Hall Tent, Eddie Henderson, Eddie Palmieri, Edward "Kidd" Jordan, Electric dobro, Epiphone, Eric Bolivar, Eye on the Music, Fais Do-Do Stage, Fi-Yi-Yi, Fleetwood Mac, Fleur Debris, Flow Tribe, Frank Bua, Frank Ocean, Funktet, Galactic, Gary Glark, Gentilly Stage, George Benson, George Cables, George Duke, George Porter Jr., Gibson ES-335, Gipsy Kings, Glen David Andrews, Henry Butler, Irvin Mayfield, Ivan Neville, jam bands, Jamaal Batiste, Jason Marsalis, Jazz & Heritage Stage, Jazz Fest, jazz photography, Jazz Tent, Jazzfest, Jazzfest Foundation Archive, Jerry Douglas, Jill Scott, Jim Brock Photography, Jimmy Herring, Joe Ashlar, Joey Peebles, John Boutte, John Gros, John Mayer, John Pattitucci, Johnathon Boogie Long, Johnny Sansone, Johnny Vidacovich, Jon Cleary, Joshua redman, Kendrick Scott, Kevin O'Day, Khris Royal, Kristin Diable, Lagniappe Stage, Lakland bass, Lenny White, Leo Nocentelli, Little Willies, live music, Los Bayou Ramblers, Los Hombres Calientes, Los Lobos, Los Po-Boy Citos, Lucille, Ludwig drums, Luther Dickinson, Luther Kent, Marcia Ball, Mardi Gras indians, Mark Mullins, Matt Perrine, Michael Doucet, Midnite Disturbers, Mike Ballard, Modeliste, New Orleans jazz, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Foundation, New Orleans music, Nicholas Payton, Nite Tripper, NOLA.com, Norah Jones, North Mississippi Allstars, Offbeat, Page McConnell, Papa Grows Funk, Patrick Carney, Patti Smith, Paul Sanchez, Pete Murano, Phish, Phoenix, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Quint Davis, Radiators, Raul Malo, Raw Oyster Cult, rock photography, Roger Lewis, Rolling Road Show, Rolling Stone, Ronnie McCoury, Rosie Ledet, Roy Ayers, Runnin' Pardners, Sasha Masakowski, Shannon Powell, Sidney Bechet, Skerik, Sonny Landreth, soprano sax, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Stanley Clarke, Stanton Moore, Steve Masakowski, Stratocaster, Tab Benoit, Taj Mahal, Telecaster, Terence Blanchard, Terrance Simien, The Cookers, The Mavericks, The Meter Men, The Meters, The Revivalists, Thomas Hedlund, Thomas Mars, Tony Dagradi, Treme, Trickbag, trombone, Trombone Shorty, tuba, Twangorama, Vasti Jackson, Voice of the Wetlands, Wayne Shorter, Widespread Panic, Wille Nelson, Woodenhead, Zack Smith, Zigaboo, zydeco, Zydeco Playboys

Reflections and Musings of a Jazz Fest Photographer

The 44th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is a few weeks past and my rear view reflections only seem to sweeten the experience. This Jazz Fest, my 10th overall, is best summarized by an exchange between two Festers NOLA bound from NYC by train, one a dear friend, composer and 3-timer, the other a vet from a krewe known for their affection for Fezs (yeah, you heard that right). “Hope to see you next year”…. “You will, and every year after that until I die.” What Rolling Stone calls the “greatest music event on the planet” inspires such pure devotion. 60+ acts a day, 12 stages and tents, 7 days (no repeats, Coachella, you listening ACL?). Most of my time these days is in the pit or hustling from one stage to the next, trying to burn more calories than I eat while keeping up with artists and bands older and younger than I am (not in my 40s anymore). Fest photographers do not get to enjoy whole sets. Far from it. With 3 and outs for most big names, as well as other random acts, and much ground to cover, the feast becomes a mountain of nibbles […]

Robert Randolph presents The Slide Brothers, with the Otis Taylor Band, Royce Hall

February 23, 2013   We’re all told to respect our elders, to learn from the generation before and to pass along tradition. Wise words musically speaking, and fundamental to any jazz or blues playbook where family legacies span generations and old sounds are regularly rediscovered and reimagined. Now, I hail from about as far from a Pentecostal upbringing as one would expect for a ‘60s kid raised in the relative comfort of a West Los Angeles lifestyle. But when I heard Robert Randolph for the first time, I was floored. I had no clue about the roots of Sacred Steel in the church tradition, but the Hendrix like intensity he brought to the pedal steel was pretty religious in my book and I’ve been a fan ever since. Randolph’s latest project, the Slide Brothers, pays homage to those roots. Randolph has brought together the “greatest living musicians who embody the Sacred Steel tradition” (as described on the Slide Brothers’ web site), a tradition that dates to Depression era times where steel/slide guitar and vocal melodies were all but interchangeable in church music. Calvin Cooke, Chuck Campbell, Darick Campbell and Aubrey Ghent are the Slide Brothers – a direct legacy to […]

Voodoo Experience 2012

October 26-28, 2012 As an unabashed Jazzfest vet, I approached my first Voodoo with excitement and a hint of fear. The mix of rap, EDM, and the often indefinable, sprinkled with the best of New Orleans contemporary and traditional, on a bed of arena headliners, eclectic rockers, funk and blues artists, is uniquely Voodoo.  Look, I’m an old school guy who knows enough to be dangerous to himself. Not a banger, a mosher or a surfer. I know Skrillex drops bombs that turn your bones to jelly and have never been to a Metallica show in my life, but I approached Voodoo with anticipation and an open mind. After all, there was Mr. Neil Young touring with Crazy Horse for the first time in eight years. Gary Clark, Jr.’s, blues without boundaries and the omni-bluesusical Jack White closing it out. OK, so much for the obvious. How far would I go to connect with my inner Voodoo? Would I make it to Borgore (an Israeli DJ formerly of a death metal band), the total bizzaro of South African rappers Die Antwoord or Electric Daisy Carnival main stager Nervo (all three made “Rolling Stone’s 10 Must See Acts at Voodoo Fest”)? […]

Honey Island Swamp Band Returns to The Mint

August 14, 2012 It’s apropos that the Honey Island Swamp Band would return for a summer gig at The Mint following an appearance at Outside Lands the prior weekend. After all, the Bay Area figures so prominently in this NOLA band’s origin story. Stranded by Katrina. Crescent City players a long way from home. Meet up on the west coast. Bond big time. Keep their chops strong. Throw a few songs together. Land a regular gig in the heart of town. Cut their debut in the one and only Record Plant in Sausalito. It could only happen….where?   This is their third trip to The Mint in 14 months. That’s not a bad thing. Whether it’s covering their LA dates, staking their ground from the big stage at the Fest or enjoying their pop up everywhere Fest club dates, I have been a fan since first catching them at Jazzfest in 2008.  The Bay Area meets bayou influences are everywhere in the HISB sound. Solid songwriting, tight arrangements and enough room to stretch, their self-coined “bayou americana” is rootsy strings first stuff. Swamp driven, but not dripping, and often sprouting ensemble fed jams from tasty hooks, HISB sets include staples […]

Dumpstaphunk, The Mint

March 1, 2012 Dumpstaphunk is slippery, stinky, smelly, funked up stuff. It says so in the name. We get it, but just to make sure nobody misses the point, Nick Daniels III and Tony Hall lock up dueling basses at every D-phunk gig. The prowess of the players is unquestioned, the history and Neville legacy familiar. Ivan’s indulgences and 14 years sobriety. His time as a Stones/Richards sideman. The fat Hammond sound and rich vocals he’s cultivated with Dumpstaphunk since 2003, along with numerous other projects and collaborations. Cousin Ian carrying the torch with the Funky Meters. Tony Hall’s double barreled Strat/bass attack and emcee theatrics. Nick Daniel’s III’s powerful digits. New addition Nikki GIaspie’s huge resume and Berklee chops. It all adds up to a solid unit that puts it in the dumpsta night in, night out.   Back in the day, Ivan Neville had more than a few residencies at The Mint and he’s no stranger to LA these days, either. The last time I caught Dumpstaphunk in town, they headlined a double bill with Rebirth at the Roxy and the energy was crazy. This time around, they were playing a room half that size over two nights. Scary. […]

Honey Island Swamp Band, The Mint

February 10, 2012 You couldn’t miss it. She was vintage. All black and chrome. Gleaming under the streetlight. Probably mid-80s, but who knows. The guys had a bus. Rolling from gig to gig in comfort, if not style. Not flashy. The sight of that thing parked smack in front of the Mint on Pico (couldn’t fit it in around back) was pretty sweet. Not about ego, all about pride. For a band that has been a staple at Jazzfest for years and hitting their stride, it had to feel pretty good to be back in LA under their own power.   After making their Southland debut last June (see my post of that show deeper in this blog), HISB returned with a generous (2+ hour) Friday night set. The tunes are familiar, the vibe upbeat. Everyone seems to leave an HISB gig pretty damn happy.   The band is back in the studio aiming for a late spring release to add to their 3 album catalog (their eponymous 2007 EP, 2009’s Wishing Well and 2010’s Good To You), and the set had generous helpings from all their material. The raucous “Till the Money’s Gone”, the jammy “Wishing Well” and the […]

Honey Island Swamp Band, The Mint

June 26, 2011 Honey Island Swamp Band swung into the Westside on Saturday, another NOLA nugget appearing at the Mint.  This is a New Orleans band that reflects its Katrina Diaspora-Bay Area birth with chunky and soulful jams, tight arrangements and great material.  If you are expecting ballads, standards, and second lines, this ain’t that NOLA band.  Whether moving easily from moments Dead infused or Dr. John influenced, their self-described Bayou Americana sound never loses sight of its swampy swagger or solo driven joy.  The band has kicked ass at Jazzfest the past few years, so a chance to enjoy them here in the Southland was indeed a treat, and to my knowledge, The Mint gig is their first Los Angeles show. At Fest performances and in the studio, HISB often fattens their arrangements with horns, and Saturday had that taste with Karl Denson sitting in for both sets contributing frequent solos and locking into some killer grooves with Trevor Brooks on keys and Chris Mule’s SG/Strat driven leads.  When not providing the good time feel of a summer day front porch harp, Aaron Wilkinson switched between mandolin and his hollow-body Tele, taking the bluegrass string thing into Hendrix/Page territory, […]

Jim Brock Photographs featured in Review of Voice of the Wetlands All Stars

  February 2011 Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars The Mint, February 10, 2011 It is always something special when the likes of Tab Benoit, Anders Osborne, Johnny Sansone, Cyril Neville, and Johnny Vidacovich (and for this tour, Wayne Thibodeaux) get together to spread the word about wetlands devastation, and to just flat out play. Tab Benoit said early on that if you’re going to rehearse, and get that thing really rolling, shouldn’t waste it on an empty room. Those few hundred comfortably packed into The Mint for this VOTWAS show got the better end of that deal. The stage was shared by all, whether Johnny Sansone was bringing it with the fiery Poor Man’s Paradise, Tab Benoit killin’ it all night long, Anders Osborne wringing all the light and the dark out of Louisiana Rain and Darkness at the Bottom, Wayne Thibodeaux “rowing that pirouge” or Cyril Neville getting everyone to feel the Blues for New Orleans. The players brought the best out of each other, with plenty of smiles and solos to go around – truly a collaboration of chops and spirit. Of course, anticipation built for Big Chief Monk Boudreaux to make his entrance towards the end of […]