Arroyo Seco Weekend, Brookside Golf Course, Pasadena

June 24-25, 2017 Festival behemoth AEG and Goldenvoice are at it again, launching the inaugural Arroyo Seco Weekend after years of negotiations with the City and citizens of Pasadena, securing a 10-year deal at Brookside Golf Course, adjacent to the Rose Bowl. It’s a family forward music festival with free entry for kids under 10, a relaxed park setting, good grub and libations and a first year lineup that was more than just respectable, it had personality. Mixing big name headliners (Tom Petty and Mumford & Sons), Fest friendly mid-tiers (Dawes, Alabama Shakes), some 90s love (The Shins, Live), a hefty does of New Orleans (The Meters, Galactic, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Revivalists), quite respectable jazz, soul and and blues (John Mayall, Charles Bradley, Bennie Maupin, Roy Ayers), and a number of indie comers, there was also a refreshing lack of EDM or rap/hip hop to the lineup. The price point was fair, and keeping the inaugural event to three stages and two days (three days are planned in the future), was probably a pretty smart move, even more so with record breaking heat on Sunday that felt more Coachella than DTLA proximate. Freshman fests inevitably have a few […]
May 28
by Jim Brock in Reviews 0 comments tags: 20 Feet From Stardom, Aaron Neville, Aaron Wilkinson, Acura Stage, Adonis y Osain Del Monte, Alabama Shakes, Alex McMurray, Americana, Anders Osborne, Batiste family, Beausoleil, Blodie's Jazz Jam, blog, blues guitar, blues photography, Blues Tent, Blues Traveller, Bonerama, Brady Blade, brass bands, Brittany Howard, Buddy Guy, cajun music, Carl Dufrene, Charles Neville, Chris Mule, concert photography, Congo Square Stage, Cowboy Mouth, Craig Klein, Cuba Pavilion, Cuban music, Dairus Rucker, Dave Matthews, Dave Torkanowsky, David Shaw, Dawes, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dumpstaphunk, Economy Hall Tent, Eric Lindell, Eric McFadden, ES-335, Eye on the Music, Fais Do-Do Stage, Galactic, Gentilly Stage, George Porter, Gibson Firebird, Gospel Tent, Greg Hicks, Gregory Davis, Harry Connick, Heartbreakers, Helen Gillet, Honey Island Swamp Band, Instruments a Comin', Ivan Neville, jam bands, Jazz and Heritage Stage, Jazz Epistles, jazz photography, JBP website, Jeff Raines, Jeff Tweedy, Jesse McBride, Jim Brock Photography, Jimmy Herring, Joey Alexander, John Bell, John Boutte, John Popper, Johnny Sansone, Jon Batiste, Jonathon Boogie Long, Jonny Lang, Judith Owen, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Kris Royal, Kristin Diable, Lagniappe Stage, Lake Street Dive, Lakland bass, Leo Nocentelli, Leon Bridges, Lisa Fischer, live music photography, Lone Bellow, Lorde, Lucien Barbarin, Margo Price, Mark Mullins, Michael Doucet, Mike Campbell, Mr Sipp, music photography, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans music, Pedrito martinez, Rachael Price, Revivalists, Rhiannon Giddens, Rickenbacker, rock photography, roots music, Roots of Music, Runnin' Pardners, Skerik, Stanton Moore, Stay Human, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Goldsmith, Telecaster, Terence Blanchard, The Meters, Threadhead, Tipitina's Foundation, Tips Interns, Tom Petty, Tony Hall, Tower of Power, traditional jazz, Trey Anastasio. Languedoc, Trombone Shorty, trumpet, Tuxedo Brass, Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, Waylon Thibodeaux, Wayne Toups, Widespread Panic, Wilco, WWOZ Jazz Tent, zydecajun

REFLECTIONS AND MUSINGS OF A JAZZ FEST PHOTOGRAPHER – 2017 EDITION

Heading home from Jazz Fest 48 it seemed I’d passed through a lifetime’s worth of sounds, tastes and bonding since arriving in New Orleans a few weeks back. Friendships deepened, the palette was bathed in constant indulgence, the liver took a bit of a hit and a soundtrack that will echo well into the dog days of Summer still resonates sweetly. For the uninitiated, Jazz Fest (short for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival) is the most diverse musical party on the planet replete with 13 stages, tents and pavilions spread across the Fair Grounds Race Course, a few miles from the French Quarter. Quite simply, there is nothing like it. And, as with the city that bears its name, Jazz Fest is not something you wrap your head around, it’s something you feel in your exhausted and happy bones. And, man, were they exhausted and happy.  My perspective is of a working photographer first and a fan second. I am on task covering 15 – 20 acts and 7-8 miles of ground a day. My musical encounters are often brief, and occasionally cosmically timed. My colleagues in the pit are extremely talented and a pretty respectful and decent bunch to […]

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 […]