Do they come to see a man fall?

…or to see him fly?

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Antemasque Wrap Debut Tour With Energetic Set At The Roxy

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala performing with Antemasque

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala performing with Antemasque

Note: This review was originally written for another publication three weeks ago. That website never published it nor did they ever inform me as to why they didn’t publish it despite previously accepting the pitch. In the industry, we call this situation “bullshit.” So I’m publishing it here.

The concert at The Roxy in Hollywood this past Wednesday, August 13th was a homecoming and a public display of reconciliation for singer Cedric Bixler Zavala and guitarist/producer Omar Rodriguez Lopez, the founding members of Antemasque, who wrapped their debut US tour that night. The duo had been here before 14 years ago with At The Drive-In as the opening act for Rage Against The Machine.

A lot happened during that time. Zavala and Lopez left hardcore outfit At The Drive-In and formed the much more experimental The Mars Volta a year after that show. That much-loved, Grammy winning band came to a sudden end in 2013 when Zavala lashed out against Lopez on Twitter and officially ended TMV. Two lifelong friends were suddenly enemies much like Morrissey and Johnny Marr.

But then, earlier this year, the two reconciled and announced Antemasque, their new project together. They quickly released their debut self-titled album online and announced their first tour featuring Le Butcherettes as the opening act.

If anyone ever had any doubt as to the duo’s reconciliation, those doubts were put to rest the instance Antemasque stepped foot on the stage. Zavala and Lopez, flanked by drummer Dave Elitch and Lopez’s brother Marfred on bass, performed together as they have for years.

If there’s one word to describe Antemasque, that word is “freedom.” The duo have long been tied down to one genre or another for much of their careers: Hardcore Rock/Punk with ATDI, Dub with short-lived project De Facto, and Progressive Rock with TMV. As Antemasque, they’re free to do as they wish jumping from Classic Rock to Pop-Punk/Pop-Rock to Punk to Acoustic ballads.

Age has yet to slow Zavala down as he jumped, shimmied, leapt off Elitch’s drum kit, and smashed his cymbals on the floor as he’s done since his days with ATDI. Lopez joined on backup vocals a few times throughout the hour-long set where the band played all but one song from their debut album. They performed an untitled new song in its place.

Lopez, who in the past had a reputation for noodly guitar antics, kept the guitar solos to a minimum until the second-to-last song of the night, “Providence.” Halfway through the song, the band gave its Volta fans a nod with a drawn-out jam session during which Zavala ad-libbed new lyrics on the fly.

Openers Le Butcherettes set the tone for the night as singer/guitarist/keyboardist Teri Gender Bender (Teresa Suarez), drummer Lia Braswell, and tour bassist Chris Commons fired up the crowd for an hour playing a mix of tracks from their latest album, Cry Is For The Flies, and their debut, Sin Sin Sin.

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Luis Nariño and the Strange Behavior of his Noble Creatures

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Dedication is the best word to describe Luis Nariño, the founder and frontman of Latin Alternative Rock/Pop group Noble Creatures. Today, September 2nd, marks the end of a five-year quest to complete and publish his band’s debut album, Strange Behavior.

The journey began about a decade ago when Nariño arrived in L.A. from Kansas for the sole purpose of launching his career as an artist. A rotating cast of musicians and a debut EP for the Luis Nariño Band eventually gave way to the solidified lineup of Nariño (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Marcos Mora (drums), Ruben Salinas (Tenor Sax), Evan Mackey (trombone), Brina Simon (trumpet), David Bowman (bass), and Cliff Beach (backup vocals) in Noble Creatures.

I spoke with Nariño at a restaurant in the Farmer’s Market about the album and how his Colombian-American upbringing shaped his life and music. The edited interview is below as a playlist.

Strange Behavior is now available on iTunes and other major online distributors. Noble Creatures will play a album release party at The Virgil on Saturday, September 6th.

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GameCrate!

I forgot to mention that I picked up another writing gig in late June. Gamecrate is a website dedicated to electronics entertainment (that’s the adult phrase for “video games & etc.”).

Check out my work so far.

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UFC 178 Q&A at Club Nokia

UFC 178 is less than two months away and the powers-that-be are hyping the fight up with a number of media events around the country. Fighters Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Conor McGregor, and Dustin Poirier spent some time at Club Nokia in Los Angeles for a Q&A session with the fans.

There was plenty of trash-talk and two fans won an opportunity to play the new UFC video game against Cormier and Jones. Alistair Overeem also made an appearance.

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Viva Pomona 2014 Photos

Viva Pomona is a small, two-day music festival in the city of Pomona packed with lots of local and international artists with a focus on independent and upcoming artists.

I interviewed the festival’s founder in this piece, Viva Pomona Festival Celebrates A City Unfairly Overshadowed By Los Angeles, for Remezcla.

As always, I shot some photos. Below are some of my favorites. The full set is available on my flickr.

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The Doorless Bathroom Stall Of The Sacsara River

Back in 2012, I took a trip out to Machu Picchu in Peru. My group’s trek to the ancient city included a stop at Cola De Mono zipline near Santa Teresa. We had about an hour of time to kill before the employees returned from assisting the group before us and, somewhere along the way, my breakfast was ready to escape my intestines.

I walked around the large, outdoor waiting area and found the sign for the restroom. The bathroom was many feet away from the entrance facing the Sacsara river that borders the park on one side.

I walked over to a small paved area where a lone, single-person stall stood under the shade of a number of trees. Three of the stall’s sides were dressed in thin bamboo reeds and foliage and the entrance…had no door!

“Where’s the door?” I asked out loud to no one because everyone was near the entrance killing time by playing a bean-bag toss game. There was no door, no curtain, nothing to spare the world, especially the river of gorgeous, crystal-clear water, the view of my answering nature’s call.

I figured the bathroom was out of order but a flush of the toilet showed me wrong. Meanwhile, my stomach continued to warn me there’d be no chance of flying over the Sacsara on a zipline with irritable bowels (all those damn potatoes!).

So be it.

I sat down, pulled my pants down far enough and went to town.

There I was, sitting on and shitting in a toilet facing the Sacsara river, various exotic birds singing their songs amid the gentle rush of the running water, the cool mountain air doing its thing as the greatest air freshener money will never be able to buy.

It was the most unexpected place to find bliss.

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You can see the roof of the stall in the lower-left corner.

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