Frances Cone and Delta Rae at Bootleg

Reviews, Live Shows

220213 Breathing Forests by Gabriella Smith (world premier)

Sobbing beneath our masks

211203 "Seven Pillars" premier at Emerald City Music

Inspiring composition, mind-blowing performance

210911 Sylvan Esso at The Greek

Standard production, amazing music

210911 Tune Yards at Ford Amphitheater

Low expectations, high reward!

210129 Cinematic Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall livestream

Monochromatic, but enjoyable.

201201 Sylvan Esso "With Love" streaming

Heartfelt performance by one of my favorites

201010 NDT2: Dare to Say

Proving that streamed dance performances can move

201010 NDT: Endlessly Free

The Other You is my favorite choreography ever.

201010 Kaoru Watanabe: Haruka and Akira

"Kibou no Hikari" made me cry

200411 Arugakki at JCCC Montreal

First steps: shaky, exciting

200322 Nederlans Dans Theater at Place des Artes

Vladimir is mind-blowing

200221 DRUM Tao at Jorgensen Center

pina colada cotton candy

191116 Sylvan Esso at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Moving music, delightful dancing, incredible sound

191115 Ohmme at Teragram Ballroom

Fantastically quirky

191025 Hiatus Kaiyote at Novo

Amazing music, over my head

191023 Frances Cone and Delta Rae at Bootleg

Introspective, thoughtful music vs showboating

191017 Cosmo Sheldrake at Echoplex

Great samples, less-inspiring looping

191013 Oregon Symphony premier of Andy Akiho Percussion Concerto

My new favorite piece of classical music.

191009 GoGo Penguin's Koyaanisqatsi at Regent Theater

A worthwhile addition to an iconic movie

190925 Cornelius at Echoplex

Bright lights, big music.

190726 New Original Works Festival 2019 at REDCAT

Craving a "composition"

190717 Mitski at Hollywood Palladium

How to make pop songs performative?

190614 Imogen Heap at Greek Theatre

Hide and Seek and not much else

190601 Snarky Puppy at Orpheum

So Snarky!

190319 Monterey Symphony: Sound Waves Concert IV

A drifting concert. Water Concerto anchored by Chris Lamb

190316 Miyamoto is Black Enough, at Wallis

Holy shit this was a good show!

190127 Hidaka at International Dinner 2019

Go Hidaka Taiko!

190116 Third Coast Percussion with Hubbard Street Dance

Unsure why I was unmoved

181120 Dermot Kennedy at Fonda

Solid show to adoring fans

181108 Birdtalker at Hotel Cafe

A special band, early in their career

180623 Olafur Arnalds at Cathedral Sanctuary

The power of sweet/sad melody!

180614 Dirty Projectors at El Rey Theater

Amazing quirk-pop!

180310 Miyake x UnitOne

UnitOne shines!

180224 Batare at La Mirada Theater

Laudably ambitious but scattered.

180223 QuiltCon 2018

Inspiring works, inspiring community.

180131 Kagami Kai at Asian Art Museum

Amazing mochi-making skills, frustrating calligraphy, and take-home encouragement

170416 Sigur Rós with LA Phil

Amazing concert with a few missed opportunities.

170115 A Seed: Ichi-Ryu Manbai

Overwrought concept, thin music, tragic flowers

160927 Sigur Rós at Hollywood Bowl

Amazing sound needs mixed set-list

160918 Road to Kumano: Taiko Project with Chieko Kojima

Ambitious new work!

160409 Locations and Dislocations: An Ecomusicological Conversation

thought-provoking, inspiring, exhausting

130514 Stuck Elevator was fantastic

Powerfully uneventful ending

081012 Byron's Bottled Water Operas

Welcome. Stay and think.

Frances Cone and Delta Rae at Bootleg

Wow, I loved Frances Cone!  Wow, I hated Delta Rae!

I track Frances Cone on Songkick and so got an alert that she was performing in LA.  Yahoo!  After seeing their Tiny Desk video, Hiro and I are huge fans.  I was surprised to see that they were the opening act.  I'd never heard of "Delta Rae" but they must be amazing if they go after Frances Cone!  I watched Delta Rae's "Bottom of the River" video and loved it.  To be honest, I went in bracing myself for Frances Cone to be less than their videos -- it's never as good as the Tiny Desk concerts -- and ready to be pleasantly surprised by Delta Rae.  I had it exactly backwards.

Frances Cone played something like the following.

Late Riser
Rattles Your Heart
Easy Love
Wide Awake
Leave Without You

I teared up in nearly every piece.  I liked the extra-rubato feel of "Wide Awake" (slowing down in the chorus) and Christina's acapella "Easy Love".  Her voice has this incredible rasp + control quality.  My friend recently expressed a love for the way a voice can trail off delicately and I was thinking about that tonight.  So beautiful!  Christina sings without vibrato most of the time and then adds it for accent in the most satisfying way.  And her delivery is so great.  She's clearly feeling the music but she doesn't add dramatic gestures and sappy eyebrows.  Like Tracy Chapman, the voice and the music are full of emotion but the delivery is understated.  I also really liked the live version of the drums on one of the pieces -- I wish I could remember which -- where the drum fills felt like an updated version of the intro to Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing".  Perhaps the difference is in the new-ish drummer, Garrett's (?), take on the parts, whereas I've mostly heard Alex Baron's drumming.  It was all great!

Not to end on a negative note, but we couldn't watch Delta RaeLook at this photo and imagine what the band sounds like.  You nailed it.  We stayed for the first four songs and then split.  In all fairness, they're really good.  The overall sound is really well balanced and the energy is amazing.  But it feels like a PR person has tweaked the show.  "We need a 'Delta Rae' backdrop and lots of flashing lights facing the audience..."  "We'll put a soapbox at center stage for the guitar solo and for Liz to belt the high notes..."  "Brittany, you need something to do when you're not singing, bang quarter notes on this drum..."  "More emotion!  Sing to the stars!!!"  Ug.  It felt so staged after Frances Cone.  It's a bit depressing that my taste is so different than the audience's.  They seemed to love the high energy and showmanship.  Instead, I want to feel something original and unique.  To me, Delta Rae shouted a promo video and Frances Cone played music.

Bootleg is an interesting venue, with about 100 seats and room for 150 more standing.  Stage views aren't great unless you're right in front or up in the back seats, but the sound is better than in many clubs in LA.  We stood right in the center where the sound was best and didn't mind the sometimes-occulted view.  (Especially in Delta Rae with the blinder lights.  Thank you 6-foot person in front of me!)  Sound for Frances Cone was good, but a bit too loud.  The speakers sounded harsh in the midrange at high levels.  I enjoyed about half the pieces without earplugs and the others sounded better with them (Etymotic).  The reverb on Christina's vocals was particularly nice.

The word "Leave" in "Leave Without You" was too loud on that particular PA.  Andrew's guitar in that piece had the same harshness when loud, so perhaps it's something that can be solved with EQ/compressor, or maybe backing off the mic for that word would do the trick.

Anyway, Frances Cone was one of the best things I've seen in a long time and I'll remember this show as I compose.

notes for self

Instead of a backdrop with one's own bandname, how about a backdrop of other bands you love?
When you don't want to greet audience members after a show, remember how charming and natural Frances Cone members were.
Try to make my music as moving with so few parts.  Strip away anything not adding meaning.