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Month: June 2014

R & R

R & R

On Sunday night Sam and I walked to the Bowl to see Royksopp and Robyn.  Oops, I mean Robyn + Royksopp as the marquee corrected me.  Apparently, although I’d only ever seen it advertised as Robyn joining Royksopp, the concert had morphed into a Robyn show with some opening band called Royksopp.

As it turns out there was an actual opening act called Zhala.  She gyrated up on stage in front of a Mexican flag performing karaoke of her own songs while the crowds lingered downstairs outside the amphitheater.  Even when Royksopp took the stage the throngs of young hipsters weren’t concerned with taking their seats.  I only remember twice during the entire concert that we spotted someone older than us, most of the crowd was about ten years younger.

As Royksopp began to play it was apparent that none in this young crowd were interested.  During songs where I had expected to have a Triumphant experience that could happen in Only This Moment, I felt more like Running To The Sea since 49 Percent of the crowd were acting like they were at a party and Royksopp was nothing more than a tv on in the next room.  Is this just how kids act at concerts now?

In the below video check out how not excited these kids are to see This Must be It, one of my favorite Royksopp songs.   For me this was a disaster.  I thought I’d never get to see this song performed live, and in a way, I still haven’t. (this video belongs to heyalfie)

When Robyn came out the crowd leapt to their feet and started singing along to most of her songs and shouting out “play Call Your Girlfriend” etc.  Repeatedly we heard kids saying things to each other like “Robyn is amazing!” or “This is so amazing.”  Meanwhile we ended up sitting down under the sea of undulating arms as the music itself just seemed boring, not amazing.

I started listening to Robyn in anticipation of this concert and was very surprised how generic her music and lyrics are given her association with more avant-garde acts like Royksopp.  Her work is mostly dating stories sung over a pop inspired dance club mixes.  It’s not terrible for what it’s intended to be.  It’s not at a Britney Spears level of thoughtlessness, but it leans in that direction.   She’s sort of like KISS, in that her appearance is always very bombastic and edgy, but her actual music isn’t nearly as much.  For anyone that doesn’t know, KISS dresses like extras from a Lord of the Rings goblin scene but sings about “rocking and rolling all night and partying every day.”  Robyn dresses like Bjork but sings songs with lyrics like “I’m in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh I’m right over here, why can’t you see me? Oh I’m giving it my all, but I’m not the girl you’re taking home, ooh.”  Can’t you just hear Katy Perry singing those lyrics, or maybe Taylor Swift?

But not someone who looks like this:

(note, this is one of the promotional images for this concert, I should have been smart enough to guess it was going to be a Robyn-centric concert since they made Royksopp wear masks and stand behind her… oh well)

I found a video taken by Roberto Soto of the song everyone was screaming for, Call Your Girlfriend, judge for yourself:

Now, we already knew that Robyn was going to be the more pop oriented portion of the show, but we didn’t know that THIS was what everyone came to see.   Even when when Royksopp came back out to perform their duets with Robyn the crowd was confused.  As Monument (which is the best song on the new Do it Again album the tour was here to promote) the guys behind us started shouting things like “oooh, we’re getting artsy now” and “oooh, so mysterious” mocking the more dramatic tone that contrasted bluntly with Robyn’s dance club songs. Here is a video of that performance by ednla:

I never realized before this how much the vibe of an audience contributes to my own enjoyment of music.  Concerts are a collective experience, otherwise I might as well be at home with my headphones on and my eyes closed.  I felt bad for Royksopp, this young hipster Los Angeles audience making them seem like some artsy friends Robyn brought on tour.  Robyn makes perfectly good dance club music if that’s what you’re into, but Royksopp is by far superior sonically and lyrically; far more imaginative and daring, but it was lost on this crowd.

Because it was placed in the set closer to Robyn’s performance, The Girl and the Robot still had most of the crowd on their feet, even if they were unfamiliar with it.  This was probably the only time I got some semblance of the experience I had expected from this concert.  (video by ednla again)

Even the encore was Robyn’s hip-hop heavy None of Dem, which came out in 2010, remixed with a Royksopp darker slant, but seemed unfamiliar to the crowd.  In fact, the only song in which Royksopp participated that the crowd recognized was the Do It Again single released just a few months ago, which was largely derided by Royksopp fans (including myself) and music critics as being nothing more than a dance club remix with lyrics so simple they make The Black Eyed Peas’ “Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday Party Every Day” seem like the work of a lyrical genius.  Judge for yourself:

Of course the young crowd ate it up.

Most of the concert we felt like we were parents chaperoning a 12 year old girl to a Justin Biber concert.  I know that most people reading this blog (hi Aunt Lois!) are probably unfamiliar with Royksopp or Robyn… so let me put it in boomer terms:  Imagine going to a concert featuring Led Zeppelin and Cyndi Lauper in 1985 and then realizing that every single person came to sing along to Girls Just Want to Have Fun and uses Stairway to Heaven as a good time to go grab another beer.  Meanwhile, you’ve waited ten years to hear Immigrant Song live, but you can’t hear Robert Plant over the kids behind you talking about how hot Tony Danza was on last week’s episode of Who’s the Boss?

“play Time After Time… PLAY TIME AFTER TIME!!!”

 

Beaches

Beaches

On Monday my parents and I went to Greystone mansion. I didn’t take any photos since there were plentiful signs saying it was not allowed. Unless, of course, you’re a Japanese tourist.

Afterwards we drove all the way down Sunset to the PCH and headed to Malibu. Our first stop was lunch at my dad’s favorite seafood spot. Then we went on to Leo Carillo State Beach, walking out to the tide pools before heading north to Point Mugu. We parked at Mugu and walked the beach before going back to Leo Carillo and crossing the street to look for the looking for the hiking path that goes up the hill. We couldn’t find it until my parents were too tired of walking as from most areas the trailhead is hidden behind a fence. Some of the park officers didn’t even know there was a hiking trail.

Back at home Sam was back from work and we watched Howl’s Moving Castle on BluRay as my parents had never seen it.

Zippy

Zippy

On Sunday we drove up to Wrightwood for the zipline tour.   The tour was a little pricey, but the description sounded exciting enough and promised 3.5 hours of adventure.

We ate at a little cafe in the town where my dad had some of the best french fries of his life.

Our tour was delayed by about twenty minutes because two blondes (and one of their husbands) came late.  We weren’t sure, but it seemed like they’d been drinking a little before showing up, and their “rowdiness” up in the forest was appropriate for some level of inebriation.

After a quick bumpy jaunt up the hill in a modified van we were being schooled in zipline safety and technique by the guides.  Strangely this zipline differed greatly from the ones we’d been on (Sam and I in Thailand and my parents in Ohio).

As we proceeded through the course we were constantly castigated for getting these techniques wrong, or even for being mistaken for someone else that had got it wrong in our group.  Sam was always told she was now doing good because the guide confused her with someone that had come in too fast before.  My mother had trouble with the “stopping” mechanism, which was an asinine system of burning your gloved hand on the actual zipline to slow yourself down.  Even in Thailand they’re smart enough to use physics to design a zipline so momentum, gravity and mass do the slowing for you… not your hand…   My crime?  I uncrossed my legs once.  Apparently on THIS zipline you have to pretend you’re on a waterslide… no twirling or waving or anything like that.  None of the fun stuff you’d associate with a zipline elsewhere.

Still, we still managed to  have a little fun.  I liked the long “scary” bridges over the canyons and wished we could have stayed up there even more.  It was really strange since normally I’m slightly afraid of heights.

On the way back we had to drive north before coming back down around the national forest.  We discovered an area with some great rock formations, and I couldn’t help but scramble up one of the smaller ones.  I later learned these are called the “mormon rocks.”

We headed back to LA, stopped at pa-ord noodles for dinner and then had ice cream before mom and dad retired for the night.

parents visit June 2014 – pick ups

parents visit June 2014 – pick ups

When my mother came for a visit in March one of Sam’s friends was in Los Angeles for work.  Strangely the next time my mother came, this time with my father, Sam’s friend arrived as well.

Sam’s friend is a producer of soap operas in Thailand, and she had come with her crew for a series of location shots in California.  On the Saturday that my parents were scheduled to arrive Sam had volunteered to be a crew driver, so we attempted to combine these two things.  I stayed “on set” after dropping Sam off “on location” in the morning.  Then I took her away from the set in the afternoon so we could pickup my parents and take them to lunch.  After lunch we drove her back to the set (which was nearby) before we went over to Elysian Park and then Scoops.

Coming from Ohio, it had been a long day for them by early evening, so they retired and then I went to pick up Sam from the set.  As it turned out she got to be a stand-in for the lead actress (from the back), so she’ll be on Thai TV in a few months.