Gogol Bordello at The Observatory

words + photos by Joe Cortez

Gypsy punk giants Gogol Bordello eviscerated the stage of Santa Ana’s Observatory on Friday, March 2. Bordello and its charismatic front man Eugene Hutz have made an incredible impact since debuting in the late 90’s with incredible live performances and a unique genre blending take on traditional punk rock.

Having just wrapped up a tour of the States in support of the band’s latest release, “Seekers and Finders,” (available now) the band turns to Europe for the remainder of their world-conquering tour with dats booked throughout the Spring and Summer. Check our my photos from the night below. For more on Gogol Bordello be sure to visit gogolbordello.com.

Bully, Melkbelly and Gem at The Constellation Room

words + photos by Joe Cortez

Nashville’s own Bully are back with a stellar new album, “Losing” (available now via Sub Pop) and are hitting the road in support of the freshly pressed long player. The band hit the stage of the Constellation Room on Tuesday, February 20 and delivered an intense set to the OC crowd.

Check out my photos from the night, also featuring openers Gem and Melkbelly, below. For more on Bully be sure to visit bullythemusic.com

Bully Photo Gallery

Melkbelly Photo Gallery

Gem Photo Gallery

Lemuria and Jeff Rosenstock at The Constellation Room

words + photos by Joe Cortez

New York rock four piece Lemuria graced the stage of Santa Ana’s own Constellation Room on Friday, February 16. Opening for punk rock renaissance man Jeff Rosenstock, Lemuria recently wrapped a tour with Rosenstock in support of the 2017 LP, “Receeational Hate.”

Check out my photos from the night below. For more on Lemuria be sure to visit  lemuriapop.com.

Lemuria Photo Gallery

Jeff Rosenstock Photo Gallery

Rachael Sage at The El Rey

words + photos by Joe Cortez

New York-born singer/songwriter Rachael Sage graced the stage of the El Rey Theatre on Saturday night, February 3, treating audiences to a taste of her upcoming release, “Myopia,” due out this May on her own MPress Records label.

Opening for English songwriter Howard Jones, Sage’s performance found her witty and effusive as she wooed the crowd with selections from her songbook. Check out my photos from the night below. For more on Rachael Sage be sure to visit  rachaelsage.com.

Steve Lacy at The Constellation Room

words + photos by Joe Cortez

As guitarist for and key member of hip hop iconoclasts The Internet in addition to being one of the most in demand producers in the industry right now, 18 year old Steve Lacy is a busy man. Now, Lacy adds solo artist to his repertoire with the release of "Steve Lacy's Demo" (available now via Three Quarters Records). Lacy stopped by Santa Ana's Constellation Room on Wednesday night, December 20 to deliver his playful blend of So Cal soul and funk to the OC masses. Check out my photos from the night below and for more on Steve Lacy, be sure to visit his SoundCloud page and follow @steve.lacy on Instagram.

Julien Baker at The Palace Theatre

photos by m.haight

Memphis’ own Julien Baker graced the stage of the historic Palace Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday night, December 14 for a breathtaking performance of tracks from her recently released LP, “Turn Out The Lights” (now available via Matador Records) as well as earlier favorites.

The venue was the perfect setting for an artist such as Baker who is every bit singer-songwriter in the most endearing and archetypal sense of the phrase, while still remaining true to her unique perspective and vision. Check out m.hiaght's photos from the night below. For more on Julien Baker be sure to visit julienbaker.com.

Syd at The Observatory

words + photos by Joe Cortez

Producer/songwriter Syd, she of lauded hip hop group The Internet, stopped by Santa Ana’s Observatory this past Wednesday night, December 6 during her first ever solo tour. Bringing an impassioned and soulful performance to the OC crowd, Syd captivated her fans with her undeniable charisma and heartfelt words. Check out my photos from the night, also featuring opener Malia, below. For more on Syd be sure to visit internetsyd.com.

Syd Photo Gallery

Malia Photo Gallery

Alex Lahey at The Echo

words + photos by Joe Cortez

Australian indie rock fave Alex Lahey took over LA’s Echo on Friday night, December 8 with a raucous set of tunes from her debut release, “I Love You Like a Brother,” (available now via Dead Oceans). The charming and often hilarious Lahey delighted and set the crowd ablaze with her insanely catchy tracks and insightful lyrics.

Check out my photos from the night, also featuring opener Dude York, below. For more on Alex Lahey be sure to visit  alexlahey.com.au

Alex Lahey Photo Gallery

Dude York Photo Gallery

Nicole Atkins at The Bootleg Theater

words + photos by Joe Cortez

Singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins graced the stage of the Bootleg Theater in LA this past Thursday night, December 7. Currently on tour in support of her latest release, “Goodnight Rhonda Lee,” (available now) Atkins dazzled and wowed the capacity audience with an impeccably polished and impassioned night of soulful rock. Check out my photos from the night below and for more on Nicole Atkins be sure to visit  nicoleatkins.com.

Terror Jr and Kid Froopy at The Roxy

words by Melissa Brooks, photos by m.haight

On Friday December 1st, the pop trio Terror Jr took the stage at The Roxy in West Hollywood to perform the final night of their latest tour installation, Grapeland. In celebration of their latest album, Bop City 3: The Girl Who Cried Purple, the band provided an evening of twinkling purple aesthetic mixed with heart-wrenching pop perfection. Fans ranging from young teens to adults of all ages gathered into the sold out historic room, all dressed in purple and anticipating great entertainment from Terror Jr and opening artist, Kid Froopy.

Des Moines, Iowa-based songwriter and producer Kid Froopy took the stage and played a fifty minute DJ set packed with remixes of modern hits, classic dance tracks, and some of his own original material. Kid Froopy had hands to the sky as he played his remix of the late Lil Peep’s track “Awful Things”, paying respects while the crowd grew emotionally attached, then transitioning to the upbeat dance song “Work” by Ducky. Other remixes included Cashmere Cat’s “Mirror Maru”, “Undercover” by Kehlani, and “Money Trees” by Kendrick Lamar.

One of the set’s highlights came from an audience member dressed as a bunch of purple grapes, stealing the spotlight for a minute as the grape person ferociously danced next to the merch table, causing even Kid Froopy to bust out a laugh and break his deep focus briefly. In between his remixes, he snuck in his songs “Dreams” and “Down” off of his debut EP Drive Slow, which had the audience grooving hard.

After an exciting DJ set, the crowd was hyped and ready to be “snatched” as Terror Jr prepared to take the stage. The curtain rose and the room was succumbed into darkness until the purple neon Grapeland sign twinkled to life, causing the crowd to completely lose their minds as the band walked on the stage to take their instruments. Lisa Terror had the audience eating out the palm of her hand with her immediate fun stage presence and sweet voice, just as sweet as “Caramel”, their opening song of the set. Fans shot their hands and phones towards the stage as Lisa Terror powerfully stomped across the stage, glittering like a dark fallen angel in her black fishnet crop top and mermaid-like sparkling sequin pants. The lights shifted to pink and blue as star-like LED lights lit up the stage, making the foggy space look as if it were a purple milky way galaxy. The music was rather intergalactic with their out-of-this-world keyboard tones and unique drum beats, making it seem as if the audience were transported into the realm of Grapeland.

The audience really started to dance hard as “Pray” began, the second track off of their debut album Bop City. The deep 808 bass had bones rattling and the kick-snap beat had butts shaking for the trio, especially when the backup singers would fold their hands in prayer while swaying to the groove. Not too long would go by without hearing a “YAS, queen”, an “OH MY GOD”, or an excited “I love you” from a shrieking audience member as Lisa Terror commanded the stage with her powerful vocals and friendly presence, creating an undeniable positive relationship between the crowd and the band. You couldn’t help but smile as the band members rocked out to the incredible energy of the supportive crowd as they smiled at each other.

Terror Jr’s set was composed of hits off of their three albums: Bop City, Bop City 2: TerroRising, and their latest Bop City 3: The Girl Who Cried Purple. The crowd sang along to every word of their hit “3 Strikes” as Lisa touched hands of lucky audience members. I was lucky and grape-y enough to steal a hand touch, and you can bet that I melted like butter. Ms. Terror surprised us all when she placed her mic into a stand and busted out a guitar, strumming the chords to their emotional ballad “IDWT”. Other songs on the set list included “Sugar”, “Death Wish”, “Come First”, and the soul-baring, down tempo ballad “Truth”. During this song, I was engulfed into her high falsetto notes, giving me goosebumps on my arms and legs. I’m pretty sure at least three other people in the room besides me were definitely hiding some tears, because dang, it was seriously so beautiful to witness. After being called back onto stage for an encore, Terror Jr finished off the set with bangers “Holding Your Tongue” and “Fight and Fuck” as grape-scented fog wafted through the air, causing everyone around me to question their friends, “Do you smell grapes?”

Overall, I am pleased that I got to attend this intimate show at The Roxy, as I know the next time they play in Los Angeles, it will probably be at a larger venue because they are on their way up to stardom. Grapeland was a fruitful experience to take a bite of, and I will be forever tickled purple.

Special thanks to Terror Jr’s team for arranging coverage. For more on Terror Jr be sure to visit terrorjunior.com and for more on Kid Froopy visit facebook.com/kidfroopy/

Terror Jr Photo Gallery

Kid Froopy Photo Gallery