Set in Century Park at the Annenberg Space for Photography, a true urban oasis set in the heart of West Los Angeles, the KCRW crew began their annual Sound in Focus concert series this past Saturday night. The lineup was truly one for the books.
KCRW’s Jason Bentley kicked things off performing for the already massive crowd. Bentley currently serves as Music Director of KCRW and hosts the signature program “Morning Becomes Eclectic.” His music selections are always on point, and they were the perfect primer this evening.
Truly beginning the night was Imarhan; a this six-piece of friends hailing from South Algeria. Their group name literally translates into “the ones I care about”. There’s little cooler than feeling accepted and unified in a large group of people. Through their powerful music, it felt like the entire crowd became one; and in this rough time in the world, we needed that boost. The energy was almost emotional for me because there’s been so much hate in the world of the late.
Imarhan stand alone when it comes to being compared to their Grammy-winning musical elders, Tinariwen. Imarhan’s frontman Iyad Moussa Ben Abderahmane, aka Sadam, is indeed cousins to Tinariwen bass player Eyadou Ag Leche. Imarhan have a passion for new wave Algerian music, founded on Tuareg traditions. They have strong hints of jazz and blues influences meshed in, as well as some modern elements that transcend. I really dug these guys.
It was finally time for what I considered to be a giant love sermon. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were welcomed to the stage, and after a long prayer circle with their large and immediate family side stage, they graced us.
I was personally elated, after not having yet seen these guys perform. They’re known for their elaborate live performances, and I was not disappointed.
Loosely flowing around the stage, frontman Alex Ebert shined. This group’s image and sound evoke the beautiful free-spirited movement of the 60’s and 70’s. Basically, they just evoke a peaceful and happy vibe. Watching Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros perform was a true taste of summer concert season in Los Angeles. From shooting in the front of the stage, to dancing by myself in the crowd, it was evident the joy and freedom we all shared.
The fun didn’t end for quite some time. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros even played through the venue’s curfew, leaving them to perform their crowd-pleasing hit “Home.” Unplugged and fueled by the warmth of the singing crowd, it was absolutely beautiful.
Words & Photography: Danielle Gornbein