So last year we blogged about 5353 Fest at TBWA\Chiat\Day. Well, it happened again! 5353\2, with music\art\fest.
A big thank you to the following for making this happen (seriously, like a HUGE, x5353 million, we owe you a bajillion thank you!):
So in usual la fashion, I busted out my fancy camera and my intimidating lens (that frustratingly is not working on autofocus!) and went shutter-crazy for the event. So instead of write about it, I’ll photoblog it. Enjoy! It was a super fun day, and one of those that reminds you that what we do is pretty insanely cool.
Now to the music.
First up, Dustbowl Revival. A Venice, California-based roots+jazz collective that merges New Orleans second line swing, bluegrass, jug-band and jump blues. Known for their wild, lose-your-troubles live sets, the Dustbowl Revival often features up to ten instruments ranging from fiddle, banjo, gypsy guitar and mandolin to accordion, tuba, trombone and clarinet and plenty of kazoo and washboard for good luck.
And really enjoyed the intermission music by DJ Soft Touch! For the past few years, CLIFTON AKA DJ SOFT TOUCH has made a name for himself as a DJ with a wide range and impeccable taste. His mix of rare soul, funk and R&B is truly unique, with a fresh ear for sounds off the beaten path. A veteran of the Eastside / Hollywood L.A. music community, he’s also a bass player for The Mojo Filters, The Belle Isle, Black Sugar, and Love Grenades, as well as a guitarist/singer/songwriter on his own. A dedicated lover, historian/sage of most western popular & underground music forms out there, he always digs deeper in his selections but always moves the crowd.
Next up, WATERS. WATERS was born out last year of the ashes of the San Francisco rock band Port O’Brien and founding member/front man Van Pierszalowski needed a break from the hectic, wonderful mess that is touring.
After making his way out of music and into Oslo, Alaska, California & New York, he made his way make in again with Waters. He returned to Oslo and put together a band of fine Norwegian gentlemen and made a mix of fuzzy, pealing guitars and crashing drums, and easy, alternately soaring and languid, indelible melodies. According to Van, “The record is about waking up. It is about getting out of a situation that seems endless, and realizing you’re not too old to make dramatic and sudden changes in your life. It is about starting over.”
And then came Dengue Fever. Los Angeles-based Dengue Fever’s music is wholly unique — an exotic blend of Cambodian rock, Afro grooves, surf, and garage psychedelia. Since their inception, the band’s unique take on 60s Cambodian pop and American surf rock has garnered praise and attention from fans and critics alike. True Blood named an entire episode after one of their songs and featured the band’s music throughout the show, Spin highlighted the band in their ‘Breaking Out’ section, and profiles on the group have appeared in the New York Times, Magnet, Wired, and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Ray Davies from the Kinks called them “a cross between Led Zeppelin and Blondie.”
And then possibly my favorite from the day, He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister – they had such joy and vivacity! Really a pleasure to watch. He’s My Brother She’s My Sister’s unique yet familiar sound exudes the earnestness of folk, the colorfulness of glam rock, the infectiousness of pop, the innovation of indie rock, the rawness of blues, the theatrics of cabaret, and the hip shake of rock-a-billy.
Brother and sister Robert Kolar and Rachel Kolar split vocal duties, with Robert on guitar and kick drum and Rachel on tambourine. Their voices range from boisterous to introspective, from breezy to emotive. Lauren Brown adds full-body percussion with her fluid tap-dancing. Oliver Newell plucks the stand up bass with joyous flair. Aaron Robinson plays lead guitar on a lap slide, veering from nuanced psychedelica to American roots riffs.
The band’s infectious rhythms and high energy make the sounds come alive and cause even uninitiated crowds to erupt in dance. Their songs ring like pop classics in a modern framework. It is a recipe that has quickly gained the band a devoted following in their hometown of Echo Park and the surrounding LA area, and that following has spread to every town the band visits.
(last two photos by Josh Withers, my camera’s memory card crapped out booooo)
And last up, Class Actress. I didn’t get to stay and photograph because I actually thought I had my first travel photography class that night (although I was just wrong and it’s actually tonight!) So a couple photos from Josh Withers. (Thanks Josh!)
Class Actress is: Guilty Pleasure. NSA dance music. Casual Encounters. Stalker Pop. Depeche Mode meets early Madonna and Five Star as heard on the radio in the leather backseat of a cab.
Brooklynite Elizabeth Harper’s first musical offerings appeared in the form of personal singer/songwriter fare — her airy vocals paired only with quiet strums of acoustic guitar. But having a long-held desire to make electronic music, Harper recruited producers Mark Richardson and Scott Rosenthal to assist in achieving her desired sound, and electro-pop outfit Class Actress was born.
Harper remains the force that binds the songs into a cohesive statement, her winking coo darting about in the deep drums and lofty arpeggios, and her passion – backed mostly with electronics– summons thoughts of Yaz’s Alison Moyet. In concurrence with the title (“rapprocher”is French for “bring closer”), the candid, sincere lyrics meld with the atmosphere, enveloping the listener into Class Actress’s world of 21st century romanticism.
There was also a trailer set up by CAVIAR CONTENT with an adorable “row row row your boat” video made with Chiat peeps. Record players and polaroid cameras and all things cute and vintage.
And to close it out, here’s a couple shots of people enjoying the music!
Thanks to Chiat Day for making our job infinitely cool.
And thanks to Michael Gross for really making the festival infinitely cool!
a musically-satiated, phototrigger-happy la
PPS For all the photos, check out the photo album!