Can The Santa Monica Pier Become A Great Concert Venue?

An artisan gives finishing touches to an effigy of demon king Ravana in preparation for the upcoming Hindu festival of Dussehra in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh October 8, 2013. The effigies are burnt during the festival which commemorates the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana, marking the victory of good over evil. REUTERS/Ajay Verma (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Founded by two brothers, veterans of Yo-Yo Mas genre-bending Silk Road project, the Knights gave sizzling performances of classics by Bach, Haydn and Stravinsky. It is a joy to see such deeply committed musicmaking. The Knights have no conductor; only the bassoonist and cellists play seated; every player is viscerally caught up in the shape of every phrase. That they suggest a rock band is not accidental, but the precision of balance and ensemble bespeaks the highest level of musicianship and preparation. Looking for things to do? Select one or more criteria to search Kid-friendly Get ideas It is unfortunate that the string soloists play with a thin, quasi-baroque sound (unlike their woodwind colleagues); this affect marred the Bach concerto for oboe and violin and the Haydn Le Soir symphony. Given the energy and spirit everywhere else, this counts as just a quibble, but it is odd that so many excellent, conservatory-trained artists prioritize beauty of sound lower today than they used to. The concert concluded with two unclassifiable works: a Concerto for Santur and Violin by Colin Jacobsen and Siamak Aghaei (a santur is an Iranian hammer dulcimer) and . . . the ground beneath our feet, apparently a group composition by the entire ensemble. The concerto hung together a little better (having fewer cooks than the second piece), though it was still a mish-mash of Middle East and West, including places where the concerto seemed like a Disney movie soundtrack and ending with a kind of Iranian tarantella. The final work was truly a Mulligan stew, an attempt at blending every kind of non-classical music that each member felt like tossing in Irish bebop; Indian calypso; Peter, Paul & Mary; and so on. Bemusing, but ultimately silly; the joyous vibe the group clearly shared did not translate into or even suggest music of any permanence. Battey is a freelance writer.

Concert review: Ghost and Skeletonwitch haunt the Newport Music Hall (Photos)

Comments 3 Los Angeles concert promoters Mitchell Frank, left, and Martin Fleischmann are bringing concerts and festivals to the Santa Monica Pier. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times / September 26, 2013) Also By Mikael Wood October 5, 2013, 7:00 a.m. A stiff breeze blew across the Santa Monica Pier on a recent afternoon, kicking up sand and sea spray as visitors munched fried food and watched a man paint names on a grain of rice. But sheltered inside a seafood joint, Mitchell Frank and Martin Fleischmann didn’t seem concerned with the weather perhaps because they were busy describing winds of change. “What we’re trying to do is create a destination for locals on the pier,” said Fleischmann, a veteran Los Angeles concert promoter. “Tourists are here all day long, but otherwise it’s underutilized.” Added Frank, another promoter hired by the nonprofit group that oversees the pier, “The mandate was to bring content here.” PHOTOS: Concerts by The Times Content in the form of musical performances isn’t unheard of on the pier, which last month wrapped its 29th annual Twilight Concert series with a free show by the reggae star Jimmy Cliff. The gig drew 30,000 people, according to some estimates. But this year the promoters expanded the menu with a slate of ticketed festivals, including All Bands on Deck! (with indie acts such as Poolside and Yacht) and September’s Beach Ball (featuring Aloe Blacc and Sly & Robbie). This weekend the pier is to host Way Over Yonder, an inaugural two-day roots-music event connected to the venerable Newport Folk Festival with performances Saturday and Sunday by Neko Case, Conor Oberst and Calexico. And Oct. 19 will bring the comedy-based Festival Supreme, assembled by Jack Black and his mock-rock band Tenacious D.

Concert photos by the L.A. Times

This band, however, is much more suited for the dark claustrophobic interior of the Newport Music Hall than the bright sunny outdoors. They still put on a hell of a show, albeit a very brief one, at Rock On The Range, but they were definitely out of their element there. Not last night though. When the lights went down and the ominously creepy Jocelyn Pook composition Masked Ball played over the PA, the five Nameless Ghouls walked on stage, each one clad in black robes that made them look very similar to the Nazgul from ‘The Lords of the Rings.’ After basking in applause for a minute, the ghouls started their set with a rendition of Infestissumam that was considerably heavier than the album version. During this song, frontman Papa Emeritus II made a grand entrance, resplendent in his pitch-black Pope garb and skull makeup. The audience ate it up, cheering wildly and even moshing to the keyboard-heavy music. With only two albums under their belt, and no hit singles, Ghost pretty much had the freedom to play whatever they wanted. By the time the show ended, they had played all but one song from their phenomenal debut album (read my review of ‘Opus Eponymous’ here ) and half of the brand new album ‘Infestissumam’ (read my review of that album here ). One of the tracks from the latter album was Jiggalo Har Meggido which, according to Papa Emeritus II, was the first time Ghost was ever performing it. The evil pope didnt say much else; the bands stage banter was kept to a bare minimum. Indeed, the Nameless Ghouls couldve been robots and no one would notice. The only one to show any emotion at all was the one with the black guitar, who stomped his foot quite a bit while shredding. Papa Emeritus II barely addressed the audience, although he did say, with tongue in cheek, that the bands performance of Elizabeth was for the ladies. Its all a part of the mystery surrounding the band though, plus no one goes to a Ghost show hoping to hear life stories ala Bruce Springsteen. The performance is what mattered, and Ghost delivered on all counts. Most of the songs were even heavier than their recorded counterparts, although the decision to play two of their least heavy songs at the end of their set was just as cryptic as the band.

Concert Injuries – Yes, They Occur and What You Can Do

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