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Festival Recap: KAABOO Del Mar Music & Arts Festival 2018

Here’s our recap of the three-day Kaaboo Del Mar extravaganza which, celebrating music, comedy, art and culinary eats, hit the shores of sunny San Diego for its fourth installment.

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Walking into Kaaboo Music & Arts Festival I instantly realized what the festival was all about. As their goal states, “Kaaboo is everything a typical music festival is not.” Those words couldn’t ring truer. This is not just a music & arts festival, it’s a whirlwind for all five senses. As I walk through the gates I’m greeted with not only sights and sounds, but also the feeling of sand beneath my feet. Kaaboo, of course, is located just feet from the ocean shores in Del Mar, California. The perfect backdrop for a festival this innovative. There are artists lining the alleyways in every direction working on live murals and renowned chefs around each corner working on delectable cuisine.

Kaaboo has seen major growth in just four short years. Garnering some of entertainments biggest talents in recent installments. This year’s lineup was bigger and better than ever, and people took notice. 2018 was the first sellout for the festival. No doubt due to its profound music and comedy lineup. Headlining this year’s event were Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons and Katy Perry. Leading the comedy lineup were superstars Craig Ferguson, Iliza Shlesinger and Judd Apatow. With a total of four live music stages, a comedy club and a culinary cooking stage. The festival featured unique lineups for each of its three days. Each holding within them surprising stand out performances.

Day 1 saw the likes of Incubus, Post Malone and Halsey take the stage. Each filling out the crowds and exciting everyone in attendance. Foo Fighters closed out day 1 with a rousing performance from frontman Dave Grohl touring some of the bands greatest hits. Day 1 also featured comedians Nikki Glaser and Craig Ferguson bringing the laughs in the comedy club Humor Me.

Day 2 of Kaaboo featured a more interesting lineup consisting of varying genres. Artist’s murals were starting to take shape lining “Kaaboolevard” and renowned chef Marc Forgione was crafting some delectable eats on the culinary stage Palate. Co-headlining day 2 were Imagine Dragons and Earth, Wind & Fire. Each bringing their own unique styles to the shores of Del Mar. The standout performance from day 2 had to be Creature Canyon. The opening performance of the afternoon, these San Diego locals drew one of the biggest crowds of the day.

Check out the KAABOO Del Mar 2018 lineup video here.


Day 3 saw a closing performance from Katy Perry and Wiz Khalifa. Each performance echoing throughout all of southern California. The final night of Kaaboo 2018 provided its strongest performance of the festival. Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame closed out night 3 of the festival with a truly remarkable performance. Featuring some of Led Zeppelin’s favorite hits as well as work from Plant’s solo career. At the young age of 70, Robert Plant’s voice is still as lively as ever hitting the highest of high notes with his unique singing style.

Just like that Kaaboo 2018 Music & Arts Festival has ended. Painted murals are finished and all the food has been eaten. As I leave Kaaboo for the last time I remember back to what the aim of the festival was in the first place. To engage all five senses in a positive and thoughtful way and with that, it was a tremendous success. I have seen some amazing artwork and listened to every music genre imaginable. I’ve tasted food from some of the greatest chefs in the world, touched the sand and smelled the ocean. Kaaboo 2018 is a wrap!

For tickets and more information on the upcoming 2019 installment of Kaaboo Del Mar, head to www.kaaboodelmar.com.

Album Review

The Western Civilization – ‘Fractions of a Whole’ [Album Review]

The Western Civilization delivers expressive vocals and a wealth of stylistic aromas with an existential richness on ‘Fractions of a Whole.’

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The Western Civilization ‘Fractions of a Whole’ album artwork
The Western Civilization ‘Fractions of a Whole’ album artwork

It was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Applied to Texas-based indie-rock outfit The Western Civilization, the adage refers to the chemistry between Rachel Hansbro and Reggie O’Farrell, a chemistry on display in their recently released album, Fractions of a Whole.

Speaking about the album, Hansbro says, “The new songs were inspired by the amazing people who are part of my chosen family. Reggie has always been good at reminding me of the positive things. (He is) another voice saying, ‘Hey, it’s going to be okay.’”

Reggie O’Farrell and Rachel Hansbro first met while playing in separate bands. A friendship developed, resulting in two albums and performances at the Vans Warped Tour, SXSW, Halifax Pop Explosion, and, most importantly, an artistic alliance that survived a variety of obstacles.

Revolving around Hansbro and O’Farrell, The Western Civilization is a collaborative project with a rotating cast of musicians and collaborators who expose the actuality of Aristotle’s dictum.

The album opens with “Noctambulism,” a floating, folk-rock song with hints of Americana flowing through it. Driven by a sparkling piano topped by the voices of Hansbro and O’Farrell merging, the melody wafts and undulates like drifting clouds across the sky.

High points embrace “Bible Verses for Kids,” which reveals elusive Celtic flavors, a bit like The Cranberries. A rolling snare gives the rhythm a galloping motion as layered harmonies infuse the lyrics with choir-like textures verging on grandness.

A personal favorite because of Hansbro’s deliciously casual vocals, “Fool” resembles a child’s nursery rhyme reimagined as indie-rock – dreamy, drawling, almost discordant vocals riding over loose, garage rock harmonics. The imperfect, raggedy feel of the tune makes it wondrously genuine and gratifying.

Proselytism,” the closing track, travels on light, migrant surfaces as Hansbro’s soft, breathy vocals imbue the lyrics with subtle, eccentric whimsy, a kind of didactic reflection.

Expressive vocals, along with a wealth of stylistic aromas, invest Fractions of a Whole with an existential richness.

The Western Civilization in 2022, photo by Jack Potts

The Western Civilization in 2022, photo by Jack Potts

Fractions of a Whole Track Listing:

1. Noctambulism
2. Stitches (read our song review)
3. Bible Verses for Kids
4. She’s by the Sea
5. If You’re Lucky
6. Fool
7. My Mess
8. The Snake and The Saint
9. The Ocean’s on the Rise
10. Proselytism

Run Time: 42:18
Release Date: February 16, 2024
Record Label: Independent

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Event Review

‘Bob Marley: One Love’ Biopic Premiere [Event Review]

‘Bob Marley: One Love’ Biopic held it’s premiere alongside personal insights from a guest panel in London recently. Read our thoughts here.

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Bob Marley: One Love

I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to attend an event as special as this one. The venue, the esteemed guests and the incredibly warm staff made for a wonderful evening curated with meticulous detail from start to finish.

Regrettably, I must preface this article by saying that until last night, I wouldn’t have called myself a fan of Bob Marley. However, this night made a great case for that to change.

I don’t believe this event could have taken place at a better venue, Regent Street cinema is as charming as I can only imagine it was in 1896 when it premiered the very first motion picture in the UK. It is encouraging to see this cinema continue to strive for greatness so many years later.

Bob Marley Biopic Premiere

Bob Marley Biopic Premiere

Upon arrival, guests were greeted with tokens for a free cocktail redeemable at the bar. This kind gesture was much appreciated. After a short welcome speech from the cinema and the University of Westminster, the film started to roll. As aforementioned, I am by no means an expert on the life or music of Bob Marley, so I entered this screening almost blind. This was no issue I would wager it made the experience all the more enjoyable as I indulged in this incredible story with no expectations or worries about how they would portray this artist, which I believe has been the main criticism of this film. However, that is almost unavoidable for biopics.

I feel that Reinaldo Marcus Green (Director) did an excellent job of exhibiting the entire story cohesively yet not always chronologically and occasionally through abstract means. The introduction of flashbacks and dreamlike sequences kept the film from losing traction. I particularly enjoyed how the relationship between Bob and his father was depicted through regular brief interludes from the main story; using imagery such as the ring of fire, Green was able to convey a complex relationship throughout the film without explicitly telling the audience. This creative direction sets Bob Marley: One Love apart from your average biopic.

The film contains strong performances from the entire cast, especially Kingsley Ben-Adir, who was incredibly compelling. Not to mention the soundtrack, which, of course, was excellent, too. The film was greatly received by the audience, who regularly sang along.

As the credits began to roll, the film welcomed applause as the roundtable guests took their seats.

The guest panel consisted of Adrian Boot, Island Record’s in-house photographer who worked very closely with Bob and is responsible for the majority of Marley’s most iconic imagery, journalist Chris Salewicz and Bernie Dixon, a childhood friend of Bob’s. The panel was dictated by Dr Mykaell Riley, the Director of the Black Music Research Unit and Reader in Music Production Performance and Business at the University of Westminster.

The guests all shared personal stories from their times with Marley, respectively, which gave the audience a much more personal insight into the life of Bob. It was endearing to see these three men who had never met each other interact like lifelong friends through their collective love for the man.

Bob Marley Biopic Premiere

Bob Marley Biopic Premiere

Panellists told tales of Bob’s not-so-secret love affair with Cindy Breakspeare, who was briefly in the movie yet unmentioned. Dr. Riley asked who they thought the primary audience for the film was, which excited Salewicz, who was very quick to vocalize his opinion on the negative reviews this film has received by anonymous users who he suspected hadn’t even seen the film yet. This was due to the divide within Bob Marley’s fan base, ‘the purists’ vs ‘the masses’. The panellists settled on the film being made for ‘the masses,’ which justified some key characters being left out.

The event finished with some questions from guests, which made the conversation feel inclusive and tied off the evening very nicely. I would like to thank everybody involved for creating such a special viewing experience.

For more information on Bob Marley: One Love, head over to the official website.

Bob Marley: One Love Biopic Poster Artwork

Bob Marley: One Love Biopic Poster Artwork

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Album Review

Two Faces West – ‘Postcards From Lonely Places’ [Album Review]

Two Faces West knows how to play blues rock. On ‘Postcards From Lonely Places’ they’re at their best when pumping out nasty, swaggering, trash-laced melodies.

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Two Faces West ‘Postcards From Lonely Places’ album artwork
Two Faces West ‘Postcards From Lonely Places’ album artwork

Denver, Colorado-based blues rock trio Two Faces West released their debut album, Postcards From Lonely Places, in the middle of last year. The album’s title discloses a singular theme: stories of American lives and the daily grind of life experienced, in all its glories and defeats, tragedies and triumphs.

Produced by Glenn Sawyer and Rich Veltrop, the album was initially intended to be an EP but grew into an album after a change in personnel.

The band explains, “If Postcards From Lonely Places seems like a stylistic mess, it probably is just that. This album was originally conceived as a 5 song EP and slated for release in early 2020. Vince Carmellini joined Two Faces West in 2019, and the new line-up decided to write five additional songs. The result is a group of songs with essentially a very dynamic group of songwriters and players, with different flavors and moods.”

Made up of Kurt Ashmore (vocals, guitar, sax, banjo), Mick Knudsen (drums, vocals), and Vince Carmellini (bass, organ, vocals), Two Faces West’s sound merges rootsy blues rock, rock, and hints of funk into what the band calls ‘crankin’ rock and blues.’

Of the 12 tracks on the album, entry points include opener “Ain’t Got a Clue,” riding a funked-out rhythm topped by skiffing guitars and dramatic flourishes of braying brass. Because of its familiar, irresistible funk flavors, the song grabs listeners’ attention.

Rolling out on a cool drum shuffle, “Vegas at 3AM” features dark, dirty guitars giving off grimy tones as Ashmore vocals imbue the lyrics with cautionary timbres. The mood of the song conjures up suggestions of ZZ Top, especially in the solo section, highlighted by sleazy, virtuoso licks.

Hot Tamale Baby” ramps things up with its scorching textures of galloping blues-rock, radiating retro-infused energy. A personal favorite because of its muddy, growling guitars and Elvis-like vocals, reminiscent of “Jailhouse Rock,” “Brand New Suit” struts the pure essence of down-and-dirty blues rock.

Another grinder, “Moonshiners,” travels on a deep, gritty bassline and Mitch Mitchell-like percussion as Ashmore’s raspy vocals give the lyrics the dangerous savors of whiskey bootleggers. Whereas “Dirty Ol’ Man” snarls and grimaces on murky, sliding guitars that ride an austere, pummeling rhythm.

Freedom,” a live track recorded at The Bluebird in January 2020, recalls the grand live performances of Humble Pie, oozing low-slung, smoldering, bluesy surfaces and a jam band atmosphere.

Two Faces West knows how to play blues rock: they’re at their best when pumping out nasty, swaggering, trash-laced melodies.

Two Faces West, photo by Perks Photography

Two Faces West, photo by Perks Photography

Postcards From Lonely Places Track Listing:

1. Ain’t Got a Clue
2. Vegas at 3AM
3. Hot Tamale Baby
4. The Ballad of Jerry Davis
5. Rocks Like a Country Song
6. Mountain Sunrise
7. Brand New Suit
8. Moonshiners
9. Late Night
10. Spinnin’ Circles
11. Dirty Ol’ Man
12. Freedom (Live at the Bluebird 01/02/2020)

Run Time: 56:33
Release Date: June 16, 2023
Record Label: Independent

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