The annual Jubilee Music and Art Festival has become a community staple in Los Angeles, and though this year marked the first in its new Downtown location, the celebration retained (most) of the original charm it possessed from its days hosted in Silver Lake. It still focused primarily on local acts, while inviting a handful of touring bands for flare, and memorialized the stage names taken from the busy streets of the hip neighborhood in which the festival began. We were there to witness the first year of the revamped Jubilee, and though we were showered with a variety of great music all weekend, here are our highlights:
Yellow Red Sparks
While getting a feel for the festival setup and numerous food, art and fashion vendors strewn under DTLA’s 6th Street Bridge, it was hard not to follow the sounds of Yellow Red Sparks into the warehouse housing the Hoover Stage. What began as a solo outlet for vocalist/guitarist Joshua Hanson grew into a three-piece, breathing even more life into the singer-songwriter’s anthemic, cinematic folk project. Accompanied by Goldy on drums/vocals and Sara Lynn Nishikawa on upright bass/banjo/harmonica/vocals, the trio’s lush harmonies were bone chilling as they bounced off the warehouse walls. They played songs off their recently released self-titled debut as well as gems like their freestanding single, “Let’s Go Sailing.”
As the sun set on DTLA’s art district on Friday night, a crowd huddled around the Sunset Stage in anticipation for the up-and-coming punk rock heroines, Bleached, to hit the stage. The recent BNB Featured Artist just wrapped up a European tour and have headed back Stateside to play numerous domestic festivals and headlining shows throughout the summer. Live, the Clavin sisters were accompanied by a touring bassist and drummer, which rounded out the sounds of the duo’s post-punk brand of rock ‘n’ roll. Jennifer and Jessica wailed on their guitars as they crunched through selections off their debut album, Ride Your Heart, which came out in April to critical acclaim. And as they played “Searching Through The Past,” a small mosh pit started to form and ambitious fans jumped up to crowd surf…on the asphalt (eek).
Back in November of 2011, we ran one of the first interviews with Bradley Carter and Sean Stentz of NO. And now, not even two years later, the Los Angeles-based anthemic indie rock outfit has garnered fans from across the globe and is gearing up to release its anticipated debut full-length album. Although the six-piece is getting ready to hop across the pond to play European festivals and a special show with Smashing Pumpkins in Germany later this month, they seemed collected and focused as they performed on the Sunset stage early Saturday evening. Before delving into new songs and tracks off their EP, Don’t Worry, You’ll Be Here Forever, Carter kindly asked the crowd to take a few steps closer to the front. As the fans moved up, the band began to play “Another Life,” and Carter sauntered across the stage, microphone in hand. As they played, festival goers trickled in. “How many of you are watching us for the first time?” Carter asked, and a smile stretched across his face as hands raised. By the time the indie rockers played “Stay With Me,” it was clear they had garnered some new fans.
RiFF RAFF (shown above)
And the award for most ridiculous set of the weekend goes to RiFF RAFF . The Texas bred rapper is known for putting on a spectacle, and on Saturday night on the Myra Stage he did not disappoint. Fans tightly crammed into the warehouse as the grill-wearin’, hair braided MC stepped on stage, accompanied by an absurdly large entourage including three bikini models, shaking and throwing beach balls into the crowd with dazed looks on their faces. As the eccentric rapper performed tracks off his various mixtapes and albums, the crowd went into a frenzy, dancing and singing along to hits like “BRAiN FREEZE.” So even though his set seemed to be the most out of place at the festival, it also may have been the most chaotic and well-received.
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