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Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Show Review: Make Music Pasadena 2015

Hundred Waters singer Nicole Miglis

Show Review:
 Make Music Pasadena 2015
Hundred Waters
Sir Sly
Nick Waterhouse

   I'm in the middle of a little love affair with Pasadena.  It isn't so far from my LA digs in Echo Park.  It has an Arclight movie theater that is just as far away as the Hollywood Arclight movie theater and about a million times less annoying and "sceney."   The downtown strip is a pleasant meander and there are lots of proximate bargain retail chains like Ross and Marshalls for that kind of shopping (Echo Park does not have a Ross.)  Make Music Pasadena has been on my radar for several years, probably since Best Coast played it.  I've always said, "I'd like to go to Make Music Pasadena some time."  WELL THIS PAST WEEKEND WAS THAT TIME.

   There is no specialized parking for the festival.  Basically I recommend that you look for on street parking at the far end of the festival, far away from where they have blocked off the streets.  We were able to find non-metered, on street parking at Colorado and Lake, then walked to the SESAC second stage in time to watch Hundred Waters.  Hundred Waters has certifiable buzz, a record out on Skrillex's OWLSA record label, and an active manager who believes in putting in "tons of money up front."  I'd heard all that prior to the show, so I was intrigued, even after reading the "Struggles with...comparisons to Dirty Projectors and Braids" language from their most recent Pitchfork album review.  I made it through...three songs?  That is no slam on the band, who do, indeed, play a brand of music that can best be described as "digital jazz folk."  They undeniably know how to play their instruments, and Miglis has the kind of high, quavering voice that sets scribes pens alight in the indie world.  But... it isn't really a band you want to watch at a festival standing in the parking lot of a theater at 4:30 PM.

  Sir Sly played a legitimate headlining set to an adoring crowd that seemed heavily weighted with all ages ladies.  They have been working on a new record and played a cut from it that sounded like it had genuine top 40 type potential- like cross over between alt rock and active rock.  Generally speaking they seemed to have gone with a "harder" edge (within the world of dancey rock) and have moved away from the more Foster the People type sound of their past.  I was genuinely impressed, and if the one new song they played is any indication, Interscope could have a break out artist on their hands with the next record.

  Nick Waterhouse played in a cool, old timey band shell at the north side of the festival.  It was a cool spot, and it was need to see all the soul fans all dressed up in their goin' out clothes, but I'm not much of a fan of his soul-revival stylings.

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