Armed with acoustic guitars and a grand piano, 14 acts performed songs influenced by various elements of big cities for ‘Songs Of The City’ – part of the Disney Hall’s Concrete Frequency series.
During each set, the artists explained how their songwriting has been influenced by the sights, sounds and experiences of big cities, whether living in them or simply travelling through on concert tours.
The Hall’s stage resembled a living room, adorned with rugs and lamps as well as couches and armchairs occupied by artists watching their fellow musicians perform.
Also on the bill were Zach Rogue of Rogue Wave, songstress Inara George joined by legendary composer and Beach Boys collaborator Van Dyke Parks, Norwegian wunderkind Sondre Lerche, Los Angeles punk legend John Doe of X, actress/singer Zooey Deschanel with M Ward on guitar, songstress Annie Stela, local rockers Biirdie, Beastie Boys keyboardist Money Mark, and former Husker Du frontman Bob Mould.
“It’s kind of nice to be here at Carnegie Hall West,” Doe quipped before launching into a rousing acoustic rendition of X‘s 1980 anthem ‘Los Angeles’.
Malone closed out the night with two haunting songs, including ‘Today I Was A Desperate Bitch’ featuring the evening’s only electronic loop and whistling. “I’m really excited to get to play with all these amazing musicians,” he said.
Other highlights of the evening included Lerche‘s energetic performance and stories of his home city Bergen, Stela‘s quiet-yet-powerful piano-based songs, and Belle & Sebastian‘s Jackson accompanied by Biirdie on the experimental number ‘Electric Box’.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking because I’m used to being a guitar player surrounded by other musicians, so I asked Biirdie to join me for my second song,” Jackson told NME.COM after the show. “I had never met them before but I thought they sounded good at soundcheck.”
The Walt Disney Concert Hall’s Concrete Frequency series concludes on January 17 with performances by Plaid and Cornelius.
–By our Los Angeles staff.
The Shockwaves NME Awards 2008 are coming soon – and it’s time to have your say. Vote now by heading to NME.COM/awardsvote and you could win VIP tickets to the ceremony, which takes place in London on February 28.