Review: Culture Collide 2013

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Jasmine Safaeian of Bleached rocks away with her guitar. (Courtesy of Culture Collide)

Jasmine Safaeian of Bleached rocks away with her guitar. (Courtesy of Culture Collide)

Music, booze, art, community and more took place at the Culture Collide Festival which happened recently in Echo Park. The 3-day festival featured over 65 international artists who joined together in the trendy Echo Park neighborhood for this special event. The annual music fest hanged it up this year by beginning a day early and making it run from Thursday the 10th to Saturday the 12th. Perhaps the organizers realized that even hipsters need a day to rest before going to work.

Now on its fourth year, the festival put on by Filter Magazine every October continued to prove that they are steadily growing while continuing to offer some of the most eclectic music from across the globe.

The weekend festivities kicked off on Thursday mid-day with a Keynote Creative Summit panel featuring Moby, Shepard Fairey and Dhani Harrison. Of course some of us had to work, and sadly missed the opportunity to participate in a panel that offered an insight into two previously underground cultures, which are in part the foundation for the pop culture movement of today.

Happy Hours were meant to take place from 4-6 p.m., but in reality ‘happy hour’ lasted until the last band performed, every day. Once again my crony and I had to take turns covering what lasted three 12 hour days.

Saturday, the final day, was incredibly saturated with music and a thousands of people roaming the neightborhood. Throughout the day people popped their heads in and out of multiple venues including the Lot 1 Café, Taix Restaurant, The Echo and The Echoplex among others. This year the highlights included Germany’s King Khan and the Shrines, Sweden’s Melpo Mene, Denmark’s’ The Ravonettes.

It was the middle of the day and as booze began flowing so did the people like a river rushing down Sunset Boulevard and spilling into the side streets and small shops, restaurants and warehouses in search of music, friends or just an experience.

The Swedish bad ass Melpo Mene and band performed in front of the Lounge of a packed Taix restaurant. They served up some stirring pop-electronica a la Sigur Ros. In between songs singer Erik Mattiasson would crack some jokes and made the experience intimate and entertaining. Swaying between pop and indie rock, this band kept the crowd at attention and rushing to the stage after the set.

The Echoplex was packed from front to back by the time The Raveonettes came on stage, which ended the 3-part series of Culture Collide.

The eerie duo, now with a touring drummer, piled on the darkness, punctuated at times by jangly, Cramps-esque rockabilly riffs and drum line beats. They also included the addition of electronic samples triggered off-stage. The band’s set was heavy on material from its two most recent records, “Observator” and the aptly-titled “Raven in the Grave” — two releases that have chronicled guitarist Sune Rose Wagner’s life with a major depressive disorder.

King Khan & The Shrines came on later in the evening and as soon as the canadians took the stage the crowd gravitated towards them. I’s been six years since the release of their last album, but their new work ‘Idle No More’ is full of dirty and sweaty, body throbbing, psyched-out riffs that are layered between rip boisterous horn lines, southern guitar riffs and tripped out melodies. This band sounds like meshing the dirty southern rock of the Black Lips, and the iconic punk of Velvet Underground injected with a dose of Sun Ra Arkestra. Yes they were that good! And, they left you ready for the closing act.

While the Raveonettes have always made music befitting of “The Vampire Diaries,” the mood and lyrical content of most of their new material is especially peppered with torment. “Recharge and Revolt,” saw the duo embracing their inner 80s alt rock (or emo if you will). They played “Young and Cold,” and “Attack of the Ghost Riders,” among others. However, it didn’t matter what they played because the savages were restless and thirsty for their haunting dance-electro tunes!

Those who attended got to experience an impressive array of music genres and artists worldwide outside of the United States. Artists and fans from all over the globe gathered in Los Angeles this past weekend to exchange and experience music; it’s safe to say we can’t wait to see what new international talents will reconvene for Culture Collide in 2014.

Brenda Camberos is a Contributing Writer for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter: @DitaDimone1
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