Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photos courtesy of Label27
What started out as a backyard event in Topanga has grown into California’s biggest reggae fest. Reggae on the Mountain is entering its 10th year bigger and better than ever.
Inspired by growing up in Topanga and charging a little money for events, founders Amit Gilad and Brooks Ellis decided create a festival. Originally hosted in the Topanga Community Center, it has moved and is doing it’s first year at the King Gillette Ranch in Malibu.
With the move to a bigger and better venue, it can truly become a proper festival. The new venue has room to add a campground and has an 11 p.m. curfew, far later than the old 8 p.m. curfew.
Although the festival physically has grown, it still holds onto its roots. For the anniversary, they are bringing back all-stars such as Julian Marley. The founders are still entirely grateful that they can put on the show.
The festival can unify everyone of different ages, races, and backgrounds. On a beautiful sunny day in Malibu, it’s a great family outing. There is a place for children to run around while adults listen to the music. Children under the age of 10 are let in free.
On the day of, it’s important to speed things up, so make sure everything is together before arriving. Get prepaid parking, make sure festival tickets are easily available, and get there early because the parking will fill up. Coolers with non-alcoholic beverages are allowed inside.
In addition to the music, this is also a wellness festival. On Sunday morning, some well-known yoga instructors will be leading early morning yoga. There is also a sound bath, to help heal through sound.
A vendor village is included to promote a healthy lifestyle. The booths include CBD vendors and yoga studios.
Some tips they gave to live a healthy lifestyle include listen to yourself, exercise, and try to eat raw and healthy foods. But, how to lead a healthy lifestyle varies from person to person. So it’s up to you to listen to your body.
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photos by Bobby Talamine
The latest House of Vans show was curated by mid-00’s electronica indie-rock band The Rapture. They featured performances by the bands Seedy Films and Tandem Jump with art by Rich Jacobs.
While guests were being checked in, those inside leisurely strolled around, the 21+ guests holding a cup of free Goose Island beer. They made their way over to the free shirt line, getting a green-orange ombre shirt that announced “The Rapture at the House of Vans.”
Some guests stayed inside, dancing to the tunes the DJ was playing. Others chose to go outside to get some fresh air, more beer, or to order from the food trucks parked. But, once the first act started, people started to filter inside.
Tandem Jump started out the night. Their music was very quirky, with comedic hints. One of their songs was an apology letter from the lead singer to her mother, apologizing for cheating on her with a different mom.
More people chose to stay inside after that set, dancing to the music playing.
Seedy Films followed Tandem Jump. The three women in the band alternated singing lead on their songs. The overarching genre was rock music, with notes of reggae mixed in.
After Seedy Film’s final song, everyone went back to dancing to the pre-show music coming from the loudspeakers.
Their music was loud and electronic and fun. The House of Vans was almost transformed into a dance club
From the first notes to the very end of their set, it was a non-stop dance party. Everyone was moving and dancing with each other.
One of the singers from Seedy Films and the singer from Tandem Jump sang backup, having fun the entire time.
They left the stage and the stage lights went out. Everyone was chanting for them to come back on stage.
They did come back on stage to play “How Deep Is Your Love.” After one last dance, they left the stage for good, leading the audience to filter out, grabbing posters off the walls as they left.
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photos by Bobby Talamine
When the Anderson .Paak RSVP went live, it almost immediately sold out. Everyone wanted to see the Grammy Award-winning artist.
Showday the line outside the House of Vans wrapped around the building. Excited fans had been waiting for hours to get inside, ready for a jazzy night of rhythm, blues, and rap.
Sipping on free Goose Island or Canned Water, guests wandered around, enjoying the art by Dewey Saunders, who created the art for Paak’s “Malibu.” The art was made using mostly black, white, and yellow, save for one giant picture of Anderson .Paak that hung by the bar. The giant Anderson .Paak picture was black and white, with pops of bright color.
In addition to the art, guests could experience skateboarding down Santa Monica Pier via a VR headset, YouTube, and skateboards attached to the ground.
The art included a photo corner. Foliage covered walls held up a bright green sign that read “Yes Lawd!” in script. There sat a drum set, covered in stickers and leaves.
While people were still filtering in, Kadhja Bonet started. Her 1950s-esque soul vocals overpowered the chattering crowd. Her entire set was jazzy and full of soul, with classical elements.
As Bonet left the stage, the crowd started pushing forward. The Free Nationals, Anderson .Paak’s band, was up next.
Paak joined the Free Nationals onstage briefly, leading to lots of cheers. He wasn’t performing with their set, but was up there to announce them.
“This is my first time seeing them live without performing with them,” he announced.
The Free Nationals’ jazz set was very music heavy, light on the vocals. The members encouraged the crowd to start a pit. They started the dance party and were a preview of what was yet to come.
The crowd was very friendly, chatting with each other, dancing to the pre-show setlist. People were sharing their water so nobody had to lose their spot. Strangers were dancing with each other.
The security guards started to flash their lights at each other, leading the crowd to speculate what was going on. People were guessing that someone had thrown up, or passed out.
The smooth sound of Maurice Brown’s Intro on a trumpet came from the crowd, where the security guards flashed their lights. The trumpet player made his way to the stage and took his place. That was the Free Nationals’ cue to take the stage again, this time joined by Anderson .Paak.
Anderson .Paak claims to have the best teef in the game, according to his late spring/early summer 2019 tour title. It’s confirmed: he does. Up on stage behind his drum set, his teeth looked great.
Everyone started dancing as soon as the first song, “Heart Don’t Stand,” started. The dancing lasted through his entire 20 song set. From the very beginning to the very end, the energy was at a very high level.
Although he spent most of the set behind his drums, he got up a few times to showcase his dancing. He danced his heart out while he belted out “Come Down.”
He also came into the audience and walked around while performing. From the VIP lounge to the bar, he went everywhere. A quick shirt change later, he was back on stage.
The entire set, the dancing was edging on forming a pit. But during the song “Bubblin” one started. Everyone went wild, dancing as hard as they can.
His final song was a tribute to Mac Miller. They made the song “Dang!” together, which was on Miller’s album The Divine Feminine. Anderson .Paak announced that he could feel Mac’s presence and that he was in the air.
Maurice Brown Intro
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photos by Bobby Talamine
There is no wrong time for a dark and gritty rock show, as Badflower rocked out our studio at 1:30 p.m. on a Monday afternoon.
(L-R): Bassist Alex Espiritu, Singer Josh Katz, Jerry, Drummer Anthony Sonnetti, Guitarist Joseph Marrow
Dedicated fans starting showing up early, trying to secure their place and to catch a glimpse of the band. The first fans showed up before 11:30 a.m, a whole two hours before the show.
Badflower dropped their first LP “Ok I’m Sick” only a few months ago, but had already built a strong and steadily growing following. Some fans called off work and drove 9 hours to come to this show.
The stage was lit up for a big show, not an intimate crowd. Lights made by Katz stood in the background, ready to flash green and blue.
“Thanks for waking up early. I know it’s the afternoon, but I’d usually still be in bed,” joked Katz after taking the stage a little after 1:30 p.m.
Their first song, Jester, had everyone singing along, and their next song, Die, had everyone screaming along. The crowd were screaming out the political lyrics with Katz, dancing to the heavy rock.
Their biggest song, Ghost, was performed last. People in the crowd were crying as they sang the raw and emotional lyrics. Like many of their songs off “Ok I’m Sick,” it deals with Katz’s struggles with anxiety and depression.
The band went into the green room, but the crowd still hung out by the stage. They wanted to catch the band exiting the green room. Some people had brought albums and other merch they wanted autographed.
Katz and Joey Marrow, the lead guitarist, headed into the lobby to have a meet and greet with the fans. While they ate the food they got before the show, they talked to everyone who came. They gave hugs and took pictures, they autographed albums and posters. Fans were able to mingle with each other and with Katz and Marrow.
They had to be dragged away from the lingering crowd to do the interview.
During their conversation with Jerry, fun tidbits were released about each song off the album. The oldest song on the album is Jester. It wasn’t written specifically for the album, but it had been performed before. So they decided to add it to the album.
The song “Die” is one that causes some of their fans to stop being into the band. They shot a live video of it from the Epicenter music festival in North Carolina.
“During the video you can watch people who liked our band just crumble,” Katz joked about the song’s strong message. It’s a song condemning the political state in the United States and the meat industry. Katz and bassist Alex Espiritu are both vegans, and, even though Marrow and drummer Anthony Sonetti aren’t vegan, all four members are very conscious of what they put in their body.
Katz said that they are the superheroes here to save America. Espiritu is the biggest superhero fan in the band. His favorite hero is Spiderman. “He has been borderline kicked out of the band” Katz joked about the fact Espiritu claims that Batman would destroy Superman in a fight.
They are also on the lookout for aliens. They live together in the desert, in California City. Although they haven’t spotted any UFOs yet, they have heard some sonic booms from the nearby Air Force base.
Owning a house in the desert helps them creatively. Katz is able to work and write songs in peace.
Katz likes to be very hands-on with all creative production work. He writes all of his songs, helped build the lights that were on stage, and mixes all of his music. He said he would be just fine wearing all black and doing tech work. Although he loves to perform, it’s his least favorite part of the job. Although, watching their live performance, that’s impossible to tell.
Words + Photography by Bobby Talamine
With a slight rain delay to start, and the only casualty from the delay being Dreezy's set, the last day of Pitchfork 2019 was underway.
Having said that, things ran smoothly after the rain delay, and it was a weekend that celebrated musical diversity without question. A communal event where the spirit of mixing it up with strangers, dancing in place, or chilling out on blankets to simply take in the relaxed vibe held sway.
Once considered the cutting edge of music festivals, Pitchfork has branched out with bookings over the past few years, courtesy of Pitchfork's talent buyer Mike Reed. Reed has been bringing a keen perspective to all of the bookings, and selecting artists and bands from all genres, and all age groups.
To start Day Three of Pitchfork, a French- Cuban duo Ibeyi. Comprised of twins Lisa- Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz, their set involved keyboards, samples with electronics, assorted percussion, and a mix of hip hop. With their shared vocals and genuine enthusiasm, Ibeyi had everything come off as captivating as it was silky smooth.
Up next: Clairo, who is a definite do-it-yourself success story. A nice crowd showed up for her afternoon set at 4:15, witnessing first hand her homemade and laid back music and overall vibe.
Khruangbin was next on the line-up. A psych (with a hint of surf music) trio hailing from Houston Texas, and between most of my photographer friends, Khuranggbin was a must see for Sunday. These guys are cool factor times ten, from their stage presence and fashion, right down to the instrumentals they create and play. With a mix of South American, via the Middle East by way of Southern California vibe throughout, Khruangbin was definitely one of the highlights from Day Three at Pitchfork.
Chicago band and JBTV alums Whitney, led by Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek were next to grace the stage with their captivating and subdued psychedelic folk sound. A pleasant and laid back set from beginning to end, adding to the overall vibe of Pitchfork this year and the definition of "Chill."
All of that did a complete 180 when Charli XCX hit the stage, which we'll get to in a moment.
Up next, a rare performance from Swedish artist Neneh Cherry. Challenging herself musically at every turn, even through ear monitor problems at the start, she recovered nicely to bring forth her eclectic style of "all over the map" electronica and pop.
The brash, take no prisoners, even when performing solo with no band and just background tracks, JBTV alum Charli XCX was next and flipped the chillness that Whitney left on his head. What a sexy / take no prisoners stage presence, Charlie XCX ups the ante in her performance every time she hits the stage and knows how to party while performing.
The audience, bopped up and down during her set from beginning to end, with relatable and catchy tunes that jam and mix easily from one to another.
This was a set that by definition is "Party," and F everything else.
Another Up there highlight from Pitchfork 2019.
To close out Day Three from Pitchfork was headliner Robyn.
Robin Miriam Carlsson has established herself as a top tier dance-pop performer and innovator. Lots of white backdrops and various, fabricated drapes shrouded her stage and instruments, with the emphasis on the color taupe.
We got the announcement that us photographers were allowed to shoot approximately 40 minutes or so into her set, which was a change from the last time she was in town a couple months ago at the Aragon. The costume change we were allowed to photograph had her in a costume (white of course), dressed like a matador, accompanied by her dancer, and sitting on a throne of a giant hand.
Robyn is fascinating to watch and perform live, ever so confident in her style and presence, with a voice that's silky smooth and polished.
Definitely a free spirit, with her set building in momentum, and becoming an outright dance party.
With that, we close out Pitchfork 2019. A weekend that had a splendid array of styles and diversity in all things music.
Words + Photography by Bobby Talamine
Day Two of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and it was all things hot, humid and sticky.
From the start of day Two: Welsh musician Cate Le Bon. You can tell Le Bon is a ringleader with a lot of style and class, not just in her presentation and fashion, but with music that pushes gently into uncharted territories. A perfect start to the day, and a round of applause to the bookers of Pitchfork, for bringing forth an eclectic music cast throughout the entire festival.
Next up: Parquet Courts. And right from the get go, with the song "Master of My Craft," things got unruly with bodysurfers, lots of pushing and shoving from the front of the stage, and genuine hooligan behavior that added to the caterwaul of discontent and release.
The band was in on the fight, especially with guitarist Austin Brown releasing unholy wails from his guitar, taking it off and pretending to bash his head with it and sliding the strings along his mic stand.
As their set continues, the storm clouds come rolling in, and then the announcement comes to evacuate Pitchfork. The evacuation and suspension of Pitchfork lasted about an hour and twenty minutes, making Kurt Vile's and Amber Mark's set both casualties of the lineup for Day Two.
After the brief thunderstorm delay, we're back in business with English - French ultra cool avant pop from Stereolab. You know things are going to be fine and dandy with an announcement from Laetitia Sadler, saying "Hope you enjoy our set of light French disco."
Although that seemed weak when announced, Stereolab's music is anything but meek.
Lounge instrumentals abound, Sadler added the flair of comfort and cool, and possessing unorthodox time signatures intact, even after all these years.
A definite highlight from all things Pitchfork.
Up next: The quirky fun of chamber pop / folk rock coolness from Belle and Sebastian, with Stuart Murdoch enlightening everything and upping the ante as their set went forth. What started off their set with slight restraint, ended up celebratory when Stuart hopped off the stage and partook in some late afternoon fun with the audience jogging down the main runway in front of the stage. Lots of handshaking and sing-alongs, then back to the stage to finish off their set.
Belle and Sebastian know how to write songs that are impressive and hard to pigeonhole, presented in such a way that to classify them is nearly impossible. Another terrific set from Day Two at Pitchfork.
Headliners The Isley Brothers were up next, with Ronald and Ernie Isley still intact and going strong. Lead Vocalist Ronnie Isley, debonair and playing the flamboyant sophisticate, and his younger brother Ernie on lead guitar, looking badass and oh so cool down to his bandanna.
Ripping from the start, with opener "Fight the Power," into "Who's That Lady," with Ernie's swaggering guitar intro still sounding so fresh and clean, into the sexy and slinky "Between the Sheets."
This was a night of celebration of all things R&B, straight up Rock n' Roll, heavy doses of soul, and a mix of Funk with Doo -Wop. You could tell they were having a grand old time, with backup dancers and sexy models providing the necessary bells and whistles depending on whatever song they were playing.
A downright party from beginning to end with The Isley Brothers, closing out Day Two from Pitchfork.
Words + Photography by Bobby Talamine
So begins another year of the Pitchfork Music Festival: The hot and sweaty and sticky version of Day One.
Lots of drinking of water, lots of shade between acts to get out of the uncomfortable sun and humidity.
First up: Standing on the Corner. Formed by Gio Escobar, Standing on the Corner is an improvisational group in the realm of free spirit jazz, for lack of a better term- kind of like a mellower version of Lester Bowie's Art Ensemble of Chicago, and their version of Avant- garde jazz. Not much of a live presence, more musically inclined, with Escobar giving direction at various times with the horn section into the rhythm section.
A decent start to today's festivities.
Chicago rapper Valee was next up on the lineup. Having witnessed his live performances a couple times before, he's the definition of "Mellow." Lots of weed smoking, pacing the stage from left to right slowly yet assuredly, and well- a sleepy set for a mid afternoon performance in the blazing sun.
Next up: Sky Ferreira. Plagued with audio ear problems from the start of her set, Ferreira truly never fully recovered from the audio inadequacies. Trouble hearing her band, pulling out the ear monitors, looking at the stage hands for help, replacing portable ear monitors, awkward pacing, blazing sun, cover tunes, such as Aimee Mann and Till Tuesday's "Voices Carry." She can surely capture a crowd with all the mistakes, and yet- there's mistakes.
Earl Sweatshirt graced the stage next with his brand of cool vibe, American quality rap. An exciting rapper who lays down sophisticated beats, simple in performance, but yet powerful.
Next up: Julia Holter, an LA- based singer- songwriter, who creates challenging and sophisticated albums worth a listen, and when performing live, the sound collages are guaranteed to make you listen intently and assuredly.
Pusha T came out next with his forceful nature of rap and hip hop. He’s the kind of guy you don't want to mess with, and a guy with lots to say. There's a sense of unease when he stalked the stage, and it's fascinating to watch. Pusha T had fun, but you can tell he has lots on his mind, and needs to get it out, like expelling demons.
Next up: Sophie Allison and her band Soccer Mommy. Definitely one of the highlights of my day at Pitchfork. She sights Mitski, Taylor Swift and Avril Lavigne as some of her influences. But the opening instrumental of her set- I hear the Cure, and Jangly post punk. Definitely songs that are catchy, songs that are beyond the realm of the three influences mentioned.
All please hail and bow to Mavis Mavis Mavis. Mavis Staples was the standout set of the day, from beginning to end. A force of nature. A soul legend times ten. Oh so convincing, oh so brilliant with a voice from the heavens. From the mighty "Take us Back," to a cover of The Talking Heads' "Slippery People," up to the end of her set with "No Time for Crying," your in deep with soulful gospel, and a testimony to how gospel should be done righteous and with purpose and meaning.
Next up: The Minneapolis via Duluth trio Low, a band that challenges itself at every corner, every new release. The group still as unpredictable as ever. And before they played their first note, lead vocalist Alan Sparhawk wanted to know why everyone isn't over witnessing Mavis Staples perform live, saying that they don't compare, but they'll do their best to proceed. Alan said this not as a joke, but as a real head scratcher with everyone watching them play live instead of Mavis. Low proceeds brilliantly, and unrelenting.
And the headliner: Haim, in all their American pop band glory. visible on the giant LED screen behind the drum kit, live footage of their backs walking up the ramp to the stage, and the crowd going crazy nutty for their grand entrance. The three sisters- Este Haim on bass and vocals, Danielle Haim on guitar and vocals, and Alana Haim on guitars, keyboards and vocals, each came out one at a time to knock out some serious floor tom drumming, and then onto the hits. Captivating as they are, left to right on a shiny red lit stage, it was hard to navigate the pit to get decent shots of these three, with umpteen (and I mean plenty) of photographers filling up the entire pit. As decent as the girls are, not my cup of tea.
However- they do know how to put on a show.
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photography by Patrick Luhrs and Daniel Boczarski
It was a hot day, the Chicago summer in full swing. Standing in the heat was a huge line outside the House of Vans. Tonight’s event was sold out. This House of Vans House Party was curated by Taking Back Sunday, featuring Pronoun and Rozwell Kid.
Tattoo artist Brian Ewing created the art for this show. The artwork spread all over the walls had horror elements to it, with a pop art aesthetic.
Pronoun kicked things off. Alyse Vellturo, the indie/synth artist, is based in Brooklyn. She revealed that she was asked to be a part of this House of Vans show the last time she was in Chicago. Her first full-length LP, i’ll show you stronger, was released May 24, 2019.
Continuing the indie genre, Rozwell Kid came on next. This West Virginia band likes to incorporate comedy into their performances. Jordan Hudkins, the lead singer, started many call and responses with the audience. He asked if he should take his glasses off or leave them on and if he should wear his hat backwards or not.
The entire floor was packed. Everyone was ready for Taking Back Sunday. People were chattering over the music playing through the speakers, waiting.
It was time for the main event. Taking Back Sunday came on the stage.
A pit formed almost immediately. A group of men, who have been fans since the release of Tell All Your Friends in 2002, immediately occupied it.
Adam Lazzara gave a lot of anecdotes and fun facts about their history. Before the beginning of the band, he lived with guitarist John Nolan. They had a TV but didn’t have cable. They had the preview screen, so they could see the names of the programs. Lazzara, one night, decided that all songs on the first album would be named after program names he saw a preview for.
The track “Timberwolves at New Jersey” is actually named after the Minnesota basketball team, playing in New Jersey. But Lazzara did not know that. “Do I look like a sports guy?” he asked the audience. “I thought the people in New Jersey were getting attacked by Timberwolves!”
Their usual drummer, Mark O’Connell, was missing during the show. He was at home because his wife was expecting a child. She gave birth to a daughter on Saturday night.
He was replaced with Atom Williard of Against Me! Lazzara joked that “Laura Jane is never getting him back.”
The set ended with “MakeDamnSure” and “Cute Without The E.” The pit expanded from a concentrated circle in the middle to the entire floor in front of the stage. Everyone was going nuts, losing themselves.
People weren’t only losing themselves, but were losing glasses, phones, and bags. The rest of the audience was helpful, searching. Many of the lost items were returned broken or cracked after being accidentally trampled on.
The crowd chanted for one more song. But, as the last notes of “MakeDamnSure” rang out, the night was over. It was another great night at the House of Vans.
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photography by Bobby Talamine
The line outside of the House of Vans was long. Doors were at 7, but people had started to line up as early as 3. The BANKS show was sold out and everyone with a ticket wanted to secure their entry.
As people began to file inside, they spread out everywhere. Some went to get free Goose Island beer, some to the merch table, and some to look at the poetry. A few people made sure they were front and center for the show.
The poetry installment by Jillian Banks was an interest for most people. Her poems and drawings were printed on large sheets of crumpled paper, individually lit with colors that reflect the mood of the poem. The entire room was filled with low light and paper.
The merch table had an incredibly long line for the free “BANKS at the House of Vans” shirt that they were giving out. Next to the free shirt line was some merch for Samoht, one of the openers. They were giving out free fans because it was very hot inside.
Samoht was the very first opener for the evening. On stage, it was just him and his drummer. The microphone was hidden in a bouquet of flowers. The Brooklyn artist released his sophomore album, Exit, in June.
The second opener was billed as a surprise guest, so nobody knew who it was going to be.
BANKS’ friend, DJ Anna Lunoe, was the surprise guest. After playing a set of remixes, she began to perform songs off her album, Right Party.
The crowd was buzzing, waiting. BANKS was up next and nobody could wait. The entire space was filled. The energy in the air was electric.
Accompanied by two backup dancers, BANKS came on. They were backlit, dark figures against a bold red background. They had sharp movements, forming beautiful pictures with their bodies.
For most of the show, she was backlit. The band was hidden behind the bright lights, colored in bold hues of blue and green and red. It was a beautiful aesthetic.
For the songs that she did not have dancers on stage, she was also front-lit so the audience could see her.
She played a mix of songs from her old albums and a few newer ones. Her new album, III, came out July 12.
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Pictures by Bobby Talamine
Culture Abuse proved that there is no wrong time for a punk rock show. On a Thursday afternoon, their hard rock energy was brought. On their first day off in three weeks, Culture Abuse put on a show that was not on their official tour.
(L-R) Nick Bruder, David Kelling, Shane Plitt, June Bug, Anaiah Lee
The five piece group hails from California and have toured with names like Nothing and Green Day. The band is made of David Kelling on vocals, June Bug on guitar, Shane Plitt on bass, Anaiah Lee on drums, and Nick Bruder on guitar. Culture Abuse has a surf punk vibe and sound. The band formed in 2013 and recently had their 6 year anniversary of their first show.
A strong crowd came out to the show, including the bands that they have been touring with. Most of the crowd had bought tickets to their show at the Subterranean.
Kelling brought a film camera on stage and took a few pictures during the performance. He had been taking some around the studio and during set up and later took some during the interview.
They started off their set strong, with the titular track off of their latest album Bay Dream. The song is about being on the road and away from home. The crowd went nuts for it.
Their track list included a cover of “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash.
Their final song, “Turn It Off” was off of their first album, which they were hesitant to do. They didn’t want to give any royalties to that company. But they decided that they’ll “give them the 25 cents and play it anyway.”
Kelling occasionally made some interjections between the songs. He talked about everything from how nervous they were to be filming a television show to their first record label.
They had a bad contract on their first label and were being taken advantage of. For the release of Bay Dream, they have switched labels and been able to prosper.
After the set they came out and mingled with the crowd who came. They were selling vinyls of Peach and Bay Dream and autographing them.
During the interview, Kelling revealed that “Bay Dream” was about leaving his mother who has a terminal illness while he’s on tour. He doesn’t know if he should sing the meaning or go with the music because it’s a very personal song.
They signed the first contract offered to them, which was not a good one. They got a tour offer and when they reached out for money to help get a tour van, they were told to “sell more records” by the company. It’s hard to be just about the music when there’s a business side to it as well.
Their set in Chicago was the next day, at the Subterranean. It was an entirely different environment than the intimate show the day before. The crowd starting filtering in for the first opener, Buggin Out.
Buggin Out is a Chicago-based hardcore band who joined Culture Abuse during their show at the Subterranean. Several members had their parents’ in the audience and the lead singer’s mom was filming the entire act on her phone.
DARE OC STRAIGHT EDGE is an LA-based hardcore band. Lee, who performs with Culture Abuse as their drummer, is in DARE.
Young Guv and Tony Molina were both great transitions to Culture Abuse. They are both surf rock bands. They brought the crowd down from the hardcore screamo music that Buggin Out and DARE brought, but kept the crowd hyped enough for Culture Abuse.
Around 11 p.m. Culture Abuse finally came on and immediately everyone began to lose their mind.
Because of the lack of barrier, people were going up on stage to throw themselves into the crowd to crowdsurf. Bodies were flying everywhere.
Kelling was sharing the use of the mic. He was throwing it up to the balcony, and having people who came up stage sing into it.
There was a never ending mosh pit. The audience were screaming all of the lyrics while throwing themselves around.
The crowd was super friendly and helpful throughout the chaos. One guy lost his glasses so people were looking on the ground for the glasses and the lens that had popped out. Both were unharmed.
At one point someone got thrown into Kelling, who has cerebral palsy. Both went down onstage and people immediately jumped up to help them both up and make sure they were both ok.
1. Bay Dream
2. So Busted
3. Be Kind To The Bugs
5. Calm E
6. Should I Stay Or Should I Go
7. Rats In The Walls
8. Turn It Off