REVIEW: MACHINEDRUM AT THE TROUBADOUR

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As Travis Stewart strutted onto the Troubadour’s stage with a red guitar, it would be easy to confuse him for a rock star–doubly so after the night’s two electropop opening acts. But it’s apparent that he’s something entirely different as soon as the music starts: drums worthy of the night’s aggressive Red Bull branding, keys that would fit into the locked grooves of a house DJ set and–yes–that guitar picking away. This blend of ingredients isn’t surprising, as Stewart’s work as Machinedrum has fused the sexy strains of R&B, pulverizing rhythms of jungle and breakneck speed of footwork to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

 

At the Troubadour performance, he was celebrating the release of his ambitious and well received LP, Vapor City. With drummer (and old collaborator) Lane Darrington at his side, Machinedrum expertly chopped up samples and his own live guitar work, played flowing bass lines and let his (surprisingly great) vocals work together to bring Vapor City to life. Visuals by the influential UK-based label and design group LuckyMe provided the backdrop, as they showed glitched-out landscapes depicting each of the record’s tracks, similar to the video for lead single “Eyesdontlie.”

The set’s pacing became more and more frenetic as it went past the album cuts into a world that walked between a wild, party-rocking DJ set and a more polished “live” set. BPMs ticked upwards, both for the tunes and for the audiences’ heart rate as Machinedrum unleashed older tracks from the Room(s) EP and other various remixes (including this corker from San Francisco-based EPROM) Darrington admirably kept pace. People danced harder, screamed louder and basically freaked out. When the house lights went up at the end of the night, people were still riding high from energy and trying to piece together what they had just witnessed: Live set? DJ set? Button-pushing? Debates aside, Machinedrum definitely rocked the crowd and made them dance.

RECAP: FIRST NATIONAL RED BULL FLUGTAG LONG BEACH

Last Saturday, the laws of physics were defied and put naysayers to shame as a flock of brightly colored chicken suited daredevils known as ‘The Chicken Whisperers‘ soared over Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach at the first National Red Bull Flugtag. This is the first time Red Bull’s infamous home-made contraption competition reached a national level with multiple competitions all over the country occurring on the same day. Long Beach was the only location on the west coast – other locations being Washington, D.C., Miami, Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth.

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With a total of 28 teams attempting to successfully fly their apparatuses and an audience of over 110,000, It only makes sense that the drink known to give you wings would break through boundaries and set world records.

The Chicken Whisperers, a team of aerospace and mechanical engineers from Palo Alto and Mountain View, proved that poultry could not only fly, but fly far. With an extraordinary trajectory of 258 feet they easily soared through the previous world record of 229 feet.

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Having the  home field advantage, Long Beach’s Legendary Flying Machine glided into second place and the Oakley Factory Pilots drifted into third with their anglerfish. The People’s Choice Award of the day went to the patriotic team Red, White and Brew.

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RED BULL PANAMERIKA PRESENTS: BOSNIAN RAINBOWS

LA CANVAS partnered up with Red Bull Panamerika and Marshall Audio to host a surprise invite-only show last week at Los Globos in Silverlake. After many sleepless nights of anticipation, it was announced two days before that Bosnian Rainbows would be the big surprise. Made up of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of the Mars Volta, Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes, Deantoni Parks also from the Mars Volta and Nicci Kasper of KRS-ONE, the group is an indie Frankenstein masterpiece in terms of lineup, and it’s not all about Omar this time.

Having released their first record just a few days before the secret show, the buzz around Bosnian Rainbows is undeniable, as every show they play is for a packed house of devoted fans despite only releasing their record two weeks ago. The workhorse band has generated a following the good ol’ fashioned way: shows, shows, shows.

 

After seeing them play, we get it. Despite the show’s early-ish start time, people were lined up down the block hours before Bosnian Rainbows were supposed to go on. When the doors opened, the fans took their place at the front of the stage leaving them only inches from the instruments. Once a couple hundred people filled the intimate (read: sweaty) setting, the show began. The set started exactly as the album does, and was played from start to finish. The entire room was slick with perspiration and yet not one person could keep their eyes off of Teri.

Teri Gender Bender made everyone crush that night, as she took to the stage barefoot and ready to put on a hell of a show. Her stage performances have made headlines since her days in Le Butcherettes. Enigmatic, Teri is an all-star frontwoman. Her body convulsed with the music and she used everything within sight as a prop. Pacing the stage looking almost tribal, she clearly had not been skipping Zumba class. Omar, Deantoni and Nicci stayed anchored to their posts and all eyes were on Teri.

Bosnian Rainbows ended their set with “Mother, Father, Set Us Free” just as the self-titled album does. There was no encore because there was nothing left to play; they don’t do covers and don’t play music from their other bands so that was it. The show was over.

 

The good news is we can relive it as many times as we want thanks to the Internet! Below is a teaser trailer for an interview we did with the group. Stay tuned to our social media for the full interview!

The album was released on Sargent House/Rodriguez-Lopez Productions. Check it out on Bandcamp now.

Photo Credits: Erik Voake, Red Bull Content Pool