Imogen Heap at Greek Theatre

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.

Imogen Heap at Greek Theatre

I was uninspired by this show.  Imogen is charming and personable and seemed sincerely happy to be finishing her tour in Los Angeles.  But the majority of the music fell flat for me.  I'll go way out on a limb here and say that it feels like she's been distracted by non-musical pursuits for too long (having a baby, the gloves), realized she actually wants to perform, and is making up for lost time by borrowing from musical archtypes.  Everything felt too... normal.

The drum parts are pretty boring.  Gus, her long-time collaborator played single-finger synth parts most of the night.  Zoe Keating was on cello, but even she didn't shine.  Everything just felt uninspired.

Everything other than Hide and Seek.  Imogen remade the piece to utilize her "" musical gloves, and this was my favorite use of them in the show.  The gloves allow her to use gestures to cues a bass part, or vary the delay and reverb on her voice.  She explained that the purpose was to allow her to get out from behind the machines and she's spent years developing the technology.  I feel bad saying this, but I'm unconvinced it's worth it.  If she enjoys the physicality of it as a performer, then more power to her...  It's most successful when it's just her performing and easy to follow what each gesture is doing.  But there is an awkwardness to the concept that I think is hard to overcome.  While a sweeping gesture can now trigger a sweeping sound, the opposite is also true.  When she doesn't want a sweeping sound -- most of the time -- she is forced to hold her hands out in front of her like she's about to hug an invisible bear.  The gloves feel limiting.  And the "glove-tar" (strumming produces a power chord) and drumming motions look silly in their exaggeration; the real thing provides so much greater control and dexterity.

Her affinity for technology in general compounded my dissatisfaction.  At moments during the show she talked about blockchain technology and Twitter and her work on a project called "Creative Passport" to allow artists to better share and collaborate with digital, trusted identities.  Ever heard of copyleft?!  The techno-utopia speak raised my skepticism.

Part of my frustration is probably that I'm afraid of making similar mistakes.  I'm in a phase where I'm looking outword.  I want to broaden my sound pallete beyond taiko, but I risk diluting my niche.  I want to study western music theory, but have to be careful not to lose focus developing my own rules and taste.  I'm working on a 5-year goal to create my own high-quality concert.  I need to be careful to only make and use things I truly love, and not to borrow "filler" from musical canon.  I want Hide and Seek, not the other stuff.