FMQB Triple A Conference & 97.3 KBCO Present
PORTUGAL. THE MAN + LP + THE SHELTERS
Fri Aug 11
Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm
This event is 21 and over
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Well, we’re two full months into 2017 and the world continues to burn like an avalanche of flaming biohazard material sliding down a mountain of used needles into a canyon full of rat feces. But hey, it’s not all bad: Portugal. The Man has a new album coming out called Woodstock.
PTM’s last album came out over three years ago—a long gap for a band who’ve dropped roughly an album a year since 2006. And in true, prolific band fashion, they’ve spent almost every minute since 2013 working on an album called Gloomin + Doomin. They created a shit-ton of individual songs, but as a whole, none of them hung together in a way that felt right. Then John Gourley, PTM’s lead singer, made a trip home to Wasilla, Alaska, (Home of Portugal. The Man’s biggest fan, Sarah Palin) and two things happened that completely changed the album’s trajectory.
First, John got some parental tough love from his old man, who called John on the proverbial carpet or dogsled or whatever you put people on when you want to yell at them in Alaska. “What’s taking so long to finish the album?” John’s dad said. “Isn’t that what bands do? Write songs and then put them out?” Like fathers and unlicensed therapists tend to do, John’s dad cut him deep. The whole thing started John thinking about why the band seemed to be stuck on a musical elliptical machine from hell and, more importantly, about how to get off of it.
Second, fate stuck its wiener in John’s ear again when he found his dad’s ticket stub from the original 1969 Woodstock music festival. It seems like a small thing, but talking to his dad about Woodstock ’69 knocked something loose in John’s head. He realized that, in the same tradition of bands from that era, Portugal. The Man needed to speak out about the world crumbling around them. With these two ideas converging, the band made a seemingly bat-shit-crazy decision: they took all of the work they had done for the three years prior and they threw it out.
It wasn’t easy and there was the constant threat that the band's record label might have them killed, but the totally insane decision paid off. With new, full-on, musical boners, the band went back to the studio—working with John Hill (In The Mountain In The Cloud), Danger Mouse (Evil Friends), Mike D (Everything Cool), and longtime collaborator Casey Bates (The one consistent producer since the first record). In this new-found creative territory, the album that became Woodstock rolled out naturally from there
Remember that mountain of burning needles we were talking about? Good. Because Woodstock is an album (Including the new single “Feel It Still”) that—with optimism and heart—points at the giant pile and says, “Hey, this pile is fucked up!” And if you think that pile is fucked up too, you owe it to yourself—hell, to all of us—to get out there and do something about it.
"I was feeling uneasy, like I knew that something was wrong," reflects LP, who now calls LA home. "I got a lot of material out of that ominous, foreboding feeling I had."
The 'Death Valley' EP, a preview of her forthcoming full-length on Vagrant Records, follows LP's 2014 major label debut, 'Forever For Now.' With its instantly recognizable single "Into The Wild," which was omnipresent as the soundtrack to a Citibank ad campaign and racked up nearly 10 million streams on Spotify alone, the record was a breakout critical smash. The Wall Street Journal raved that she was "knocking on stardom's door," Elle dubbed her "rock's next big thing," and USA Today praised her "serious pipes," while Vogue hailed her "penetrating voice and Dylan-goes-electric swagger," and BuzzFeed offered simple instructions: "buckle up and press play." She made the rounds on late night television, with performances everywhere from Letterman and Kimmel to Craig Ferguson and Carson Daly, and she wowed festival crowds from Austin City Limits and Bonnaroo to Hard Rock Calling and Lollapalooza, showcasing what the LA Times described as "the kind of show-stopping, booming voice that draws standing ovations." Martin Guitar even invited her to become the first woman—and the first ukulele player—to join their prestigious Ambassador program.
Though the album was her debut for a major label, LP was by no means a stranger to the music business. She had a track record of hits to her name as a songwriter, penning tunes for Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Rita Ora, the Backstreet Boys and more. But 'Forever For Now' showed a new side of her artistry: more personal, more intimate, and fueled by her singular, stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks vocals.
"Writing songs for other people, when you get that right, you make a connection with the artist and you help them connect to the world," she reflects. In an interview with CNN, though, LP explained the difference in writing for herself, describing 'Forever For Now' as "a bunch of songs I feel only I can sing."
The same can be said of the five tracks on 'Death Valley': any writer would kill to have penned these songs, but only LP could sing them. And if she learned anything from her debut, it was to trust her instincts about what makes her own music so unique.
"I did this record much like I did the last record, except this time around, we just fine- tuned and sculpted what was already there in the demos rather than starting from scratch and re-recording everything," she explains. "I work with such amazing people that the level of talent is so high from the get-go, and I didn't want to lose that initial burst of what makes the songs special or risk overproducing them. We built off of the palpable energy and the initial thrust of the tracks instead of ripping them apart and examining them so hard that they lost their spontaneity."
It's a formula that pays off in spades on 'Death Valley,' which finds LP teaming up with her longtime collaborators Mike Del Rio of POWERS, who produced most of the tracks, and Nate Campany, who co-wrote several songs. The EP begins with an ominous, rhythmic rattling chain that sucks you deep into opener "Muddy Waters" and sets the stage for the journey to follow. Co-written with British singer/songwriter Josh Record, "Muddy Waters" rises up into a dark spiritual, a twisted gospel of confusion and desolation embodying the anxious sense of dread that presages the end of a relationship. In the infectious, atmospheric "Lost On You," LP alternates between an understated verse and a soaring chorus, belting out, "Let's raise a glass or two / To all the things I've lost on you" in a poignant moment of self reflection, while the title track channels her love of the Replacements' brand of reckless rock and roll, and the shuffling, whistle-fueled "Other People" is a sardonic kiss-off to an ex.
It's not all so bittersweet, though, as the uplifting "Strange" moves beyond heartbreak to a joyous, triumphant celebration of self-acceptance and love, with LP blissfully singing, "We are all strange / And it ain't never never ever gonna change."
"My natural propensity is toward being an upbeat person and writing in an inclusive, 'we're all in this together' kind of way," she explains. "I like the idea of music uniting people and galvanizing them. That song just kind of wrote itself in that way."
Perhaps that’s the humility speaking (LP is, after all, a remarkably hard worker, constantly bouncing between her own breakout career as an artist and the cadre of stars who count on her inimitable perspective as a writer), but the idea that songs can write themselves is central to 'Death Valley.' This was music that poured out of her before she knew what it was about, before she lived through the heartbreak and pain and ultimate redemption that inspired it. The songs on 'Death Valley' may have known what was coming before LP did, but you don't need to be clairvoyant to see the future awaiting an artist this charismatic and gifted.
blast of Southern Californian rock and roll from a four-piece like they used
to make them, when the factory was still up and running. Co-produced by
Tom Petty, this album comes at you from behind, nothing you were
The Shelters had just banded together when Petty heard them and got a gut
feeling about what they could be. He gave the Shelters the keys to his home
studio and showed them a few things. Though mostly he left them alone,
Petty had enough sense to leave the gear powered up. Maybe they were
determined to show him he hadn’t made a mistake. Maybe they just liked the
way those old tube amps sounded. They seized the moment and got to
work, insistent on becoming a band. A real band.
One listen to their singles “Rebel Heart,” “Gold,” or any other of the ten
songs on their debut, and you’ll know they pulled it off. Led by the songs,
harmonies and twin-guitar sound of Chase Simpson and Josh Jove, and
powered by drummer Sebastian Harris’s and bassist Jacob Pillot’s groove
obsession, the band has put together a collection of recordings that have an
immediacy, an emotion, and a musical intelligence that suggests these boys
are beyond their years.
People are going to reference some of the great rock and roll bands of
yesterday and today. But this is no tribute show. The sounds they’ve made
seem to have been dragged from the vaults and forced to fit the present. It’s
all a beautiful reminder that rock and roll may have slipped out of view for
minute, but it’s still out there, alive in the hands of the ones who need it the
The Shelters are in the middle of a busy 2017 touring schedule. They just
finished touring the US East Coast with Royal Blood and have upcoming tours
confirmed in the US with Kaleo and The Head and The Heart - plus in Europe
with The Lumineers – and upcoming festivals like Lollapalooza, Forecastle,
British Summertime Hyde Park, Spain’s Azkena festival and Poland’s Open’er
Past tours have been with the likes of Band Of Horses, The Struts, The
Kooks, Gary Clark Jr, Mudcrutch, The Wild Feathers, BRONCHO, Atlas Genius,
and more, plus major festival appearances across the US.
The Shelters toured the nation at the end of 2016 as a co-headliner on the SiriusXM Alt Nation Advanced Placement Tour before returning home in December 2016 to headline sold out shows in their native Los Angeles and
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