Sunburn 2013: The Music Festival Lives Up To The Hype

Concert photos by the L.A. Times

Pete Tong ‘s name is, quite literally, synonymous with dance music (see the rave-movie staple “It’s All Gone Pete Tong” for proof). For two decades, the U.K. DJ and producer’s program on BBC Radio One has set the pace in dance-music culture, in Europe and around the world. So there might not be better proof of L.A.’s dance-music vitality than Tong having just moved to Beverly Hills last month. “I wanted to raise my game, basically,” Tong said. “I’m established in the U.K., but I want to shake it all out and find out what I’m really made of.” PHOTOS: Concerts by The Times As Los Angeles has become a global destination for dance music, with local firms such as HARD Events and Insomniac getting tens of millions of investment dollars and new clubs springing up every few months, one thing that’s lacking is institutional memory. New York has a legacy of legendary clubs such as Paradise Garage; Detroit and Chicago have trademark sounds that helped form the dominant mode of pop music today. Los Angeles’ current bull market in mainstream dance music is relatively recent. It was built on big festivals such as HARD Summer and Electric Daisy, where young crowds came of age to contemporary house, neo-disco and dubstep. What it doesn’t have is a gatekeeper, a universally agreed-upon tastemaker whose acknowledgment can cement a career and put challenging new sounds in context. In England and around the world, Tong has filled that role since mainstream dance-music culture cohered in the ’90s.

Virginia music preserved in history

Featuring multiple stages, the day-long party will echo through the hills of Northeast Los Angeles with experimental electronic and ambient music, Americana, rock, global bass, jazz, blues and punk, as well as food and family-centered action. It’s an impressive and adventurous roster, featuring artists Bosnian Rainbows, Poolside, Boardwalk, Nguzunguzu, Dub Club and a few dozen others, and presents evidence of the vibrant music community that has blossomed in the area. Over the span of the festival’s life, Eagle Rock and its sister neighborhoods Highland Park and Atwater Village have become independent music havens, home to labels including Friends of Friends, Innovative Leisure, Stones Throw, Now-Again, Alpha Pup, Brainfeeder and others. Studios and indie biz offices dot corners, and no fewer than four fantastic record stores sell choice, expertly curated music. RELATED: The 10 Commandments of smartphone use during concerts Perhaps most important for the area’s long-term prospects, the proceeds from the festival will help fund the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, a nonprofit space near the corner of Eagle Rock and Colorado that programs art camps, after-school classes, workshops — one on the xylophone begins on Oct. 14 (!) — and concerts. Its mission is to ensure that the area remains an arts hub for generations to come. The space has long been utilized by taste-making promoters FYF for innovative gigs and represents the area’s dominant population with evenings of Latin American-focused music. Friday night, for example, the center will host the monthly “Noches de Trova,” which features Mexican and Latin American singer-songwriters drawing on bolero, ranchera, country, jazz, folk and blues music. Saturday’s music festival roster is all over the place. Those looking for heavy rhythm should note Nguzunguzu, whose tracks are typified by tribal, polyglot beats and psychedelic washes of synthetics. The smoother-grooved duo Poolside celebrates the more casual aspects of dance music, a team “inspired by California, mezcal, dancing, good food and friends.” The beguiling duo Boardwalk, which has an excellent new album out on Stones Throw, promises to be a highlight. INTERACTIVE: A festival for every fan SoCal’s yearly sonic lineup The biggest influx of fans will no doubt arrive for Bosnian Rainbows, though. The group was formed by At the Drive In and Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, and his devoted followers are legion. Born as Rodriguez-Lopez went on hiatus from the Mars Volta, the Rainbows features the shockingly charismatic lead singer Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes. A children’s stage will host, among others, the uniquely Angleno work of the Bob Baker Marionettes.

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That led to the Saxophone Concerto. Written specifically for McAllisters formidable talents, it starts off with a burst of sound, the soloist in the thick of it right from the top. At first its a fast and rhythmic ride, carrying soloist and orchestra (and audience) along; then it slows for a slow, seductive section with a less frenetic mood. Its a temporary respite. Having caught its breath, the concerto launches a zippy, complex conclusion that made a blur of McAllisters fingers. McAllister was phenomenal, giving a dazzling performance that rocked the audience to its feet for a prolonged and well-deserved ovation. Robertson and the orchestra were right there with him all the way, totally connected, with notable work by associate principal trumpet Thomas Drake and principal horn Roger Kaza. Adams joined them on stage for his share of seemingly endless approbation. The second half began with Adams cheerily minimalist The Chairman Dances, rendered to great effect. Then came Gershwins Concerto in F, with pianist Jon Kimura Parker as soloist. Parker, who hadnt performed with the SLSO in over a decade, made a welcome return. He and Robertson shaped the music superbly, Parker supplying a clear sound and fine contrasts. The boffo finish to the first movement sparked spontaneous (and deserved) applause.

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Iconic rock guitars and their owners

Many hands go up in the air. 05:42 PM: #dualistinquiry sets the stage on fire with live electronica and guitar based rock. #SunburnNoida 05:45 PM: #anishsood from goa rolls out his tracks now. Crowd turnout is overwhelming. #SunburnNoida. DJ Anish Sood sets the stage on fire with Live Electronica and guitar-based Rock. 06:17 PM: #SunburnNoida: Rank1 plays trance music. Crowd turnout is overwhelming. 06:18 PM: #Anishsood brings the Goa magic to #SunburnNoida, plays his debut song ‘wanna be your only love’. 06:49 PM: #Sunburnnoida: And now we have #Shogun setting the stage afire with his trance/progressive music. 07:07 PM: #Sunburnnoida: #Shogun has remixed for the world’s No.1 DJ Armin Van Buuren. As the evening progresses, BAR counter gets flooded with people. 07:33 PM: #Sunburnnoida: People cheer as American electronic music producer #porterrobinson hits the stage. 07:47 PM: #Sunburnnoida: Superb light show.

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Victory Lane Ford

If the load of oysters wasnt good then there was not going to be a mood for singing, he said. And the work songs he recorded at shucking houses and at a crab-picking house in Northumberland County were already dying out. Hinson said many young black employees preferred to listen to the radio, and some associated the work songs with slavery. His liner notes quoted one young crab picker who said, I dont go for that old-timey slavery s—. BRI Records nine albums often mixed field recordings with commercial recordings and occasionally featured the re-creation of music genres by original performers of traditional songs that had already disappeared from Virginias soundscape. Vaughan Webb , assistant director at the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum, said the focus of the Virginia Traditions recordings was on genres declining in popularity. The work songs album includes music recorded by famous musicologists and folklorists John Lomax and Alan Lomax , father and son. Lornells work for BRI Records yielded, along with contributions to other collections, albums titled Western Piedmont Blues, Non-Blues Secular Black Music, Tidewater Blues and Early Roanoke Country Radio. The Non-Blues Secular Black Music album, issued in 1978, was BRI Records first release. The album includes ballads, dance tunes and lyric songs. Webb said that even though the banjo has African roots, black banjo players and fiddle players were becoming scarce as hens teeth when Lornell did field recordings for the album. Webb completed field recordings for the Southwest Virginia Blues album, and his liner notes were nominated for a Grammy award in 1988. The album features bluesman James Henry Crip Diggs on vocal and guitar singing Poor Boy Long Way From Home. The liner notes reference a Feb. 16, 1955, article in The Roanoke Times and World-News that reported Diggs had been arrested for robbery and sang Hearts of Stone to investigating officers. And when he was acquitted one week later, the notes report, Diggs played guitar and serenaded detectives with Let Me Go, Lover. Jeff Place is an archivist for the Smithsonian Institutions Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Place said he has known Roddy Moore for a long time and that a casual conversation several years ago eventually led to the embrace of BRI Records by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.