"One man's attempt to dissect the method to 3 days of madness in the desert"
- By Scott Butterworth
On the 3rd weekend of April my Coachella will give to me.....
....and 11 Angelenos:
The Soft Pack
Them Crooked Vultures
Iglu & Hartley
Street Sweeper Social Club
DJ Lance Rock
Shooter Jennings & Hierophant
Mayer Hawthorne & the County
Some are singer-songwriters (Alana Grace), some are former fighters of foo & royalty from the stone age (Them Crooked Vultures), some host hugely popular children's television programs (DJ Lance Rock), some are famous for raging against machines (Street Sweeper Social Club/Tom Morello), some are staples of Orange County's ska/pop-punk scene (RX Bandits), but along with 1/3 of the Amoeba family, they all call the greater Los Angeles metro area home. Whether they were born and raised in LA, migrated here to be a part of LA's eclectic artist/musical community, or brought here by the industry, they all contribute to the mosaic of the music scene in LA, as diverse as the inhabitants that walk its streets. Although Coachella takes place outside of Los Angeles county, it is produced by longtime LA concert promoter Goldenvoice, and has become LA's de facto "native son" in the international realm of music festivals. But there's no blatant nepotism involved here. Eleven deserving artists with home-field-advantage will be representing the city well at this year's festival.
At some point in time, everybody has played the "make your own porn-star name"...you know, you take your middle name and the street you grew up on as a child, and the result is your very own ready-made porn-star name. (On a side note: from now on you can refer to me as "Frederick Fleming"). OK, back to the point at hand. Instead of becoming a porn star, Andrew Mayer Cohen -- from Hawthorne Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan -- decided to pack up his middle name & childhood street, and move to Los Angeles as Mayer Hawthorne. After signing to Los Angeles based Stones Throw Records, he wrote/ produced / performed / recorded / mixed his debut album, A Strange Arrangement. There's a big elephant in the room...so I'm just going to say it. He's a white kid doing soul music on a respected hip-hop label. And he's doing it as well as anyone's done it in a long time. I'm not a big soul fan, but there's something intrinsically lovable about this album. About seven years ago I was approached outside of a Pennywise concert by a guy handing me a flier for a new hip hop artist on SoCal powerhouse punk label, Epitaph. The guy looked me right in the eyes and proclaimed, "This rapper just got signed to a PUNK record label, so you know his shit is dope!" How could I argue with that? So I'm going to say to you, "This white kid singing soul music just got signed to a notorious hip hop label...so you know his shit is dope!" I rest my case. Check out Mr. Hawthorne as he spends an afternoon at LA's Venice Beach:
Mayer Hawthorne & the County - "Maybe So, Maybe No" from the album A Strange Arrangement (2009):
Other Notable Angelenos:
The Soft Pack - "Answer To Yourself" (Live on Letterman) from the album The Soft Pack (2010):
Iglu & Hartly - "In This City" from the album & Then Boom (2009):
Local Natives - "Airplanes" from the album Gorilla Manor (2009):
(To see all posts in The 12 Days of Coachella 2010 series, click here. For Amoeba's full Coachella coverage, click here. And thank you to those that commented on previous posts. Please feel free to comment on what you like, don't like, and leave a suggested donation of $10.)