Last weekend L.A. the Blog visited Make Music Pasadena 2012 to listen to recording-artist Grimes perform live. Tipped off about the show well-worth seeing and scheduled for the 5 o’clock hour, we arrived via the Metro Gold Line from downtown at 4:30 p.m. right near the main stage as the Cults finished their set. As a free event, the city of Pasadena definitely knows how to throw a good party, and the main stage area with great sound and a stellar lineup made concerts look fun again. The Cults sounded amazing and left an ache inside for missing the majority of their show.
The point of heading into conservative Pasadena wasn’t the Cults, though, nor was the reason we came performing on the Indie Rock stage. At this point, describing how Make Music Pasadena works will help understand the sheer scale of the event. The main stage area drew a humongous crowd stretching two blocks down the middle of old town Pasadena’s main drag Colorado Boulevard. They closed off the street at the stage but not the whole downtown area for the event, as streets leading off in various directions remained open for traffic. This way business and life went on as the concert rocked. Five smaller stages setup in various directions from the main stage, ranging from a few blocks to 10 blocks away, allowed for more bands with a wider variety of genres. From a Jazz stage to straight Rock ‘n’ Roll with old-time Blues and Funk mixed in between the event offered a bit of everything for everybody. Six stages are just the tip of the iceberg as different bars, the local library, coffee shops, a book store, the playhouse and even a church opened their doors to different musicians. In total over 30 venues setup for live acts and the number of musicians can make the head spin. A little something for everyone – literally.
So heading over to the Eclectic Stage, aptly name with KCRW as a sponsor (the stage highlighted a DJ set by their own Jason Bentley who hosts their signature morning show Morning Becomes Eclectic), we arrived just as local-based Dengue Fever finished up and Grimes setup for her show. Eclectic indeed as Dengue Fever plays tunes best understood as music suited for the old, silent film ‘Lost World” (literally); and Grimes represents the heart and soul (or call it rhythm and blues if you like) of electronic music with driving deep bass and ethereal vocals that easily capture the mind as well as emotion. Originally from the underground Montreal music scene dating back to 2006 Claire Boucher (aka – Grimes) recently moved to the L.A. area, that is if the Blog heard her announcement correctly, bringing with her a style of music both intense and alive in a synthesis of pop, punk and rave culture. A well-needed infusion of fresh talent to shake up the music scene in sunny Southern California.
Not to mention that young boys and girls love her – really, never have so many teenage boys and early-20’s men screamed for attention at a beautiful lady with pink hair. This writer understands for no one is a bigger sucker for a girl with pink hair, or blue, or red, or purple for that matter. Highlights of the show include the crowd surfers who kept popping up and the young dancing fan who jumped on the stage, well, dancing. As security removed the fan, Grimes between verses told security to let him stay to no avail. Even as they roughed him up she voiced her support.
The only hitch of the entire show came from the horrible sound system provided for the stage. The lows and highs played alright through the speakers but all the mid-level tones arrived muddied and weak. Even so the show definitely left an impression, and if it is an example of things to come, Grimes promises to deliver many more memorable events. Check out video we shot on our trusty cell phone, and since its a crap video we are placing a link below to an official music video of the same song.