April 1. First show

#aprilconcertchallenge First show: the Beach Boys, July 4, 1982, Washington, DC. A massive concert — easily half a million people in attendance at the free Independence Day concert at the Washington Memorial grounds. 1982 was the last year the Beach Boys headlined the 4th of July show, in what was becoming an annual tradition. The next year, U.S. Secretary of Interior James Watt banned the Beach Boys because he claimed they didn't attract a "family audience" — truth be told, it was the first time I ever smelled pot wafting through the air — and invited Wayne Newton to headline instead. I'm pretty sure half a million people didn't go to that one. Needless to say, this was the Mike Love-led version of the band. Brian Wilson wasn't up on stage, not that I really knew who that was when was 13 years old. At least they hadn't recorded "Kokomo" yet. #BeachBoys

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April 2. Most recent


April 3. Festival

#aprilconcertchallenge Festival: Lollapalooza, 1992, 1994, 1995. Music snobs in the 1990s often sneered at the travelling Lollapalooza festival, or at least didn't betray excitement about it. It's no coincidence Nirvana never played the festival; Kurt Cobain was another music snob. But in fact, I saw at Lollapalooza most of the big 90s bands that everyone still wants to talk about: the Beastie Boys, Green Day, Pavement, Pearl Jam, Beck, Smashing Pumpkins, A Tribe Called Quest, Sonic Youth, Soundgarden, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Hole, Red Hot Chili Peppers, L7, the Breeders, Cypress Hill, Ministry, etc. A lot of bang for your buck. Sometimes you got lucky and caught one of the decade's best bands in the side stage. Seeing Stereolab play under the tent, cool as a cucumber in their mod European sunglasses and summer threads while everyone else was sweating like a dog lugging around their backpacks, made quite an impression on me. Another memory is seeing the Jesus Lizard playing a forelorn midday set on the giant stage to a mostly empty ampitheater, with a solitary kid in the pit jumping up and down, screaming out his fandom. David Yow: "Thanks! That's my dad." #Lollapalooza #BeastieBoys #GreenDay #Pavement #PearlJam #Beck #SmashingPumpkins #ATribeCalledQuest #SonicYouth #Soundgarden #L7 #NickCaveAndTheBadSeeds #RedHotChiliPeppers #TheBreeders #CypressHill #Ministry #Hole #JesusLizard #Stereolab

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April 4. Favorite venue

#aprilconcertchallenge Favorite venue: Hollywood Palladium. It's not a hard-and-fast rule, but I prefer general admission open floors when I go to a concert. In Southern California, the Hollywood Palladium is the grande dame of such venues. Haven't been there in ages, but I saw so many great shows: headliners ranging from Björk and Massive Attack to the Ramones and Slayer, plus the odd event like the 1991 New Titans On The Block (Sepultura, Napalm Death, Sacred Reich, Sick of it All) and the 1995 Rock for Choice benefit (Iggy Pop, the Offspring, Rancid). Some of these shows got CRAZY — a subject for a future post — but the Palladium lets you get off the floor and find wall space or balconies to take shelter in. It feels like Los Angeles history, music and otherwise, runs through the Hollywood Palladium. In the 1930s, my Mexican grandparents went to social dances held here. In 1984, the Ramones/Black Flag show brought a police riot that marked a dark milestone in LA punk history, and clued many people into the reality soon voiced by gangsta rap. I remember Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth announcing that she didn't want Courtney Love hanging around anymore, after Courtney sucker-punched Kathleen Hanna at Lollapalooza a few months earlier. And of course, many of these events I saw in the 80s and 90s were promoted by Goldenvoice, which later went on to organize the Coachella Festival. #HollywoodPalladium #Bjork #MassiveAttack #Ramones #Slayer #Sepultura #NapalmDeath #SacredReich #SickOfItAll #RockForChoice #IggyPop #TheOffspring #Rancid #BlackFlag #SonicYouth #Hole #Goldenvoice #Coachella

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April 5. Band you’ve seen the most

#aprilconcertchallenge Band you've seen the most: Janes Addiction, seven times. I first saw Janes Addiction play a free concert at UCLA's Cooperage. Walking to the show, I observed a group of freaks including two dreadlocked dudes bowling in the student union bowling alley next door. Turns out that was the band, a totally unknown quantity at the time. Needless to say, Janes Addiction blew my mind, and my friends and I quickly tried to see them play as many times as possible. The next time would be at the Roxy in Hollywood, where the group recorded their first album live. Janes Addiction's hybrid of gothic post-punk and psychedelic hard rock was a revelation. I credit them as much as any other band circa 1986-88 for letting me embrace the hard rock and heavy metal that I grew up around as a kid but felt obliged to reject once I discovered punk rock. That said, there's a reason why those early shows were so life-changing. The band's peak was those first years, and they slowly but surely declined once the drug dissipation set in, and once Dave Navarro cut his hair. It took me awhile to realize this, but the best Janes songs are those early rockers built upon Eric's driving bass lines. #JanesAddiction

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April 6. Road-tripped to the show

#aprilconcertchallenge Road-tripped to the show: Maryland Death Fest. If it's Memorial Day, then I'm thinking about going to Maryland Death Fest. In 2011 my friend @francesco_heavensjail and I drove across four states to catch this three-day festival in Baltimore featuring the very finest in death metal, black metal, doom metal, stoner metal, hardcore, etc. The memory of seeing headliners Neurosis play under the stars and the downtown highway overpass is one I'll keep forever. Maryland Death Fest ain't no mass-produced Ozzfest knock-off (where, ironically, I saw Neurosis several years previously). Instead, it's one of the best curated festivals in music today. The organizers have exquisite taste, book only the most artistically credible bands, and have great success securing cult overseas acts who rarely if ever tour North America. Consequently, you can catch just about any band, including ones you've never heard of before — like Greece's Dead Congregation (above) — and be assured you're seeing someone at the top of their game and worthy of your attention. Plus the people who attend Maryland Death Fest are really chill. Also the merchandise tent is out of this world. Bring some extra cash and stock up on obscure metal t-shirts with illegible logos. #MarylandDeathFest #MarylandDeathFestIX #Neurosis #DeadCongregation

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April 7. Met the band

#aprilconcertchallenge Met the band: Metallica. In my junior year of college I was the music director @uclaradio. In that period our station was "cable radio": if you plugged your radio receiver into your LA-area cable box, you could pick up KLA radio at 99.9 FM. Very few people did that in those days, however, and so outside of the UCLA student union (mentioned in my Janes Addiction post two days ago), almost no one listened to UCLA radio. And yet we had the most recognizable university brand in the Los Angeles area. (Suck it, USC!) Since no record label could really corroborate which bands I submitted in our weekly charts with which bands were actually played over the air, this created possibilities for music directors to game the situation. I only did this once, for the sole reason of getting backstage to meet Metallica. I was in the peak of my Metallica phase in 1988, and several of my fellow UCLA radio jocks were already mixing Metallica into their usual "college radio" playlists, because the band was so exciting and innovative and they sounded a lot better alongside groups like Husker Du and the Pixies than did, say, REM's "Green" album did. So when Metallica released …And Justice For All in 1988, I charted them as the #1 most played band on KLA that week. I then called their label representative and asked to meet the band when they came to the Long Beach Arena in December 1988. She really couldn't say no. While opener Queensryche was playing, a small group of KLA DJs — myself, @bradyharris, and Beth Wittig — were backstage for the record industry meet and greet, which Metallica seemed very accustomed to. I don't recall meeting James Hetfield, but the label representative introduced us to Lars Ulrich, telling him that the band was now breaking with college radio stations like us. "Well, if can get on college radio, there's no stopping us," Lars said in his arrogant/Danish way. I told him we were so excited to play Metallica instead of the usual REM fare. Lars replied, "What's wrong with REM?" Then we were introduced to Kirk Hammett. Again I said something about how cool it was to play Metallica instead of REM. His response: "What's wrong

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Note: this story went long, so click through to the comments for the ending.


April 8. Hard to score tickets

#aprilconcertchallenge Hard to score tickets: Tom Waits Talk about an event that generated excitement verging on panic: Tom Waits' first headlining concerts in Los Angeles since the performances he recorded for the live Big Time album twelve years prior. With three shows scheduled, you'd think there would be plenty of tickets, but my connection at the Wiltern Theatre (hello @mbarberella!) recalls that just about all of Hollywood called looking to get in on the list. Michelle scored a center seat in the second row, so I could crane my neck to see Tom seated behind the piano in front of me. An unforgettable evening… although I had forgotten I gave @sarafmason one of these concert posters until I saw it in her house in Atlanta last year! #TomWaits

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April 9. Went solo

#aprilconcertchallenge Went solo: Basilica Soundscape Lately I go to shows by myself all the time. Where I live, there's not that many people my age who are still up for seeing a band in concert. And let's face it: I'm a music geek. I still relish the suspense of the moments before musicians hit the stage, and I try to stick it to the end of everyone's set in case something happens that I haven't seen before. I can make for a boring concert date. I've been going by myself to Basilica Soundscape, the curated "anti-festival" held in the cathedral-like Basilica Hudson in Hudson, NY, since it began in 2012. Five photos from five years: (1) @krisperryart and his machines, with @basilicahudson proprietor Melissa Auf Der Maur (remember her from Hole and Smashing Pumpkins?) in front. (2) The power noise of Pharmakon. (3) the punishing @swans_official. (4) a bloody @jennyhval (5) Angel @deradoorian asks for the lights to be dimmed. #BasilicaSoundscape #KrisPerry #MelissaAufDerMaur #Hole #SmashingPumpkins #Pharmakon #Swans #JennyHval #Deradoorian #bss12 #bss13 #bss14 #bss15 #bss16

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April 10. Went with someone special



Part two
11. Awesome opening band
12. Mellow show/crowd
13. Wild show/crowd
14. Bought tickets but didn’t go
15. Friend’s band
16. Best band to sing along with
17. Auditorium/big show
18. Story from the pit
19. Basement show
20. Show you traveled farthest for

Part three
21. Not what you expected
22. Exactly what you expected
23. Saw them before they were big
24. Got an autograph
25. Once was enough
26. Reunion
27. Saw them before they broke up
28. Memorable for a reason unrelated to the music
29. Solo artist
30. One show you would go back to see again if you could time travel