Last night KCRW took over Century Park in the heart of Culver City. This lush grass field surrounded by skyscraping architecture houses Sound in Focus–a four-part concert series curated by KCRW and the Annenberg Foundation. Each event includes live music, food trucks, beer and wine gardens, and is free to the public. Visitors are encouraged to visit Annenberg Space for Photography’s newest exhibit Emerging as it serves as inspiration for the event. Emerging showcases up and coming photographers across a wide range of genres from the intimate personal moments to global political issues. Outside the Annenberg Space, people can enjoy concerts under the stars. This Saturday night welcomed Bristish newcomer Oli Bayston with a full band under the moniker Boxed In and veteran headliners TV on the Radio to play for the masses. The night proved to be a smooth successful start to the series.
Boxed In may still be a bit wet behind the ears, but they have been making the rounds this year, including a massive 8-show smackdown at SXSW this past March. Bayston’s expressive new wave-y dance pop appeals to the crowd as the venue fills out just before the sun goes down. Between songs, Bayston mentions that this is their biggest audience ever (and their first show in Los Angeles). Every corner of the space from the beer gardens to the entire grass field soon are covered with bodies enjoying the event.
The beauty of these concert series lies within the magical experience of being able to enjoy epic live music in the center of an urbanized area whilst being under the stars. It feels like the anti-festival festival. Audience members who plan on staying for the long haul bring picnic blankets and snacks to make the long wait for TV on the Radio as enjoyable as possible. With an expansive 14-song set, the New York indie rockers make it worth the wait. They kick into the better part of the night with a jammy drawn out intro to “Young Liars” followed by an excited “Happy Idiot” which ensures the audience now has their full attention. It is a pleasant surprise to hear a healthy sampling of songs off their latest album Seeds which was released in November of last year. About halfway through, “Wolf Like Me” gets the crowd on their feet and rocking. Unfortunately, singer and frontman Tunde Adebimpe appears to have some vocal issues by the end of the set and reluctantly returns with the band after a short break to play one final tune “Trouble.” He apologizes for his current vocal shortcomings as his voice is slightly shot. Luckily, the familiar fans who stick around sway and sing along to fill in the blanks.
There is an undeniable raw quality that allows TVOTR’s sound to translate so beautifully into an outdoor setting. Perhaps it has to do with their expansive selection of influences every listener a little something to enjoy. That is the best part of this event. It highlights KCRW’s ability to curate unique shows that can appeal to a wide range of music lovers and provide experiences that are enjoyable for everyone. The future shows at this space include music from the like of Quantic, Dwight Yoakam and Cold War Kids.
TV on the Radio Setlist
Wolf Like Me
Blues from down Here
Staring at the Sun
All photos for mxdwn by Raymond Flotat