WHITE ARROWS at the TROUBADOUR by Allison Lampers

White Arrows played a much anticipated homecoming show, last Thursday at the Troubadour, after a string of North American shows supporting The Neighbourhood. Strange Babes and Wardell opened the night; the former, I was too late to catch. However, if their sound was like that of Wardell, the booking manager may need to reconsider the artists being put on the bills together. Quite a few audience members were very confused.

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Wardell did capture the attention of those who showed up early, presumably to see Wardell, as they were squealing, cheering, swaying, and singing along. Unfortunately, for those unfamiliar with Wardell, trickling in for the main attraction, major differentiation in performance and music style left us questioning if we were at the right concert. The group is described as an indie-folk “band,” but the cohesion among the members was not apparent at all. I assumed it was the frontwoman’s (Sasha Spielberg) project and the others were simply a live band. Her dancing and constant hair tousling was unfitting for the music, and therefore, distracting. They were enthralling for those fans seemingly discovering and building their musical preferences (it was an all-ages show…), but nothing stood out as original. Musically: I was reminded of Sara Bareilles’s instrumentation mixed with the overdone, vocal tones of 90s female pop-rockers. In addition, White Arrows is blatantly indie pop (specifically, psychotropical pop, as they so cleverly self-categorize), and Wardell simply did not blend well enough, or add enough individual style to the indie pop genre to make sense as an opener. There was some pop, some folk, and a lot of confusion. This seems harsh, but I’m sure Wardell may have potential on a different bill… At least they’re enjoying themselves; as Steven Spielberg’s kids, they might as well try whatever they want! But maybe directing is in their genes…
On to White Arrows.

 

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By the time White Arrows hit the stage, The Troubadour was packed. The band opened with a few new songs, leaving the audience holding on to the very last note of each song before erupting with applause; whether they had experienced the songs prior or not , they were clearly madly in love. Also, in traditional White Arrows style, there were visuals projected onto the wall behind the stage; however, unlike the usual abstract visuals, this was an animation of their EP cover art on loop (much like the singles/visual videos they have been releasing throughout the summer) which contributed a great deal to the audience being spellbound the first song in. Then, on the first beat of “I Can Go,” it was apparent what everyone was actually waiting for: the oldies of Dry Land is Not a Myth. The crowd started swaying and singing along immediately, leading Mickey to comment “And they say… LA doesn’t dance!” which only intensified a couple songs later with “Coming or Going” (which is impossible not to move to, in my opinion).
Overall, the set was a balanced blend of old and new songs, about two or three new to one favorite oldie, in preparation for the drop of their sophomore album, In Bardo, expected early fall.  It was evident not only in the music, but the performance style that the band is maturing; the hi-fi, animated projections, lack of Mickey’s wigs, and professional, yet very genuine expressions of gratitude made it clear that they are no longer a “baby band,” as Mickey once stated. With band maturation, comes personal maturation; and it was announced that it was Henry Church’s

 

 

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KUCR’s Comedy Apoc 11 * WEDNESDAY * May 21st! * 7:30pm -10:30pm *

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KUCR presents Comedy Apocalypse 11 at UCR’s Barn Wed May 21st

 

Three comic talents announced for the long-running UCR series

Riverside, Ca — KUCR 88.3FM (kucr.org) will present the eleventh installment of it’s “Comedy Apocalypse” series at UCR’s Barn on Wednesday May 21st at 8:30pm.  Apocalypse producers proudly say about the show, “this one goes to eleven,” and that “we are pleased we are finally able to use that line for something.”    Noting also that “eleven is a prime number,” which is significant because “it’s math and stuff, and also prime is good, right?”

The series features up and coming acts picked for their comedic excellence and because they are “sort of famous, but not so famous that we can’t afford them.”  John Roberts, best known for his voice acting on “Bob’s Burgers,” headlines the show.  He is supported by the buzz-worthy talents of Emily Heller (John Oliver, Conan, Comedy Central) and Byron Bowers (Comedy Central, BET,  Just for Laughs).

 John Roberts

John Roberts provides the voice of Linda in the FOX animated prime time comedy “Bob’s Burgers.” He has appeared several times on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Watch What Happens Live, Co-written a pilot for MTV with Bob Odenkirk, and performed in two national tours for Margaret Cho as well as her Showtime special. He is currently working on a project for Comedy Central.

John first gained attention as one of the standout performer/writers on YouTube. His first viral video “The Christmas Tree” was hailed as an instant comedy classic. It was nominated for a broadband Emmy award and was featured on VH1′s Best Week Ever, Comedy Central Insider and countless other blogs and websites. The follow up “Jackie & Debra” won The Comedy Smalls award in London and has a huge cult following both young and old.

He has over 20 million hits on YouTube and counting and continues making new videos with the likes of Debbie Harry and David Cross. He performs several times a year at NYC’s famous Joe’s Pub and just signed a publishing deal with French Kiss Records.

 Emily Heller 

Emily Heller is a comedian and writer who likes you very much. You may have seen her on Conan, on the third season of John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show on Comedy Central, or as one of the New Faces at the 2012 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. She is the creator and star of the Above Average series The Future. In 2011, She was included in Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch, won Rooftop Comedy’s Silver Nail Award, and was named one of the “Funniest People in Town” by 7×7 Magazine in San Francisco. In addition to performing all over the country, she was most recently a staff writer on the FOX series Surviving Jack and has become a frequent panelist on Chelsea Lately.

Byron Bowers

Byron Bowers is a stand-up comedian from Georgia who was featured as New Face at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival last year. He has appeared on the Eric Andre Show on Adult Swim and toured with Eric Andre Live, in addition to performing at Comedy Central’s South Beach Comedy Festival, The Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and SXSW. Byron has performed stand-up on Comedy Central’s  “Adam Devine’s House Party”, the reboot of BET’s “Comic View”, and recently made his late night debut this year on TBS’s “The Pete Holmes Show”.

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