Blues Traveler -- New Date

Blues Traveler -- New Date (9:30 PM)

Matt Jaffe & The Distractions (8:30 PM)

Sun, October 18, 2015

8:00 pm

Adv Tix $30.00 / Day of Show Tix $35.00

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Blues Traveler -- New Date - (Set time: 9:30 PM)
Blues Traveler -- New Date
Blues Traveler Become Team Players
America’s rock innovators celebrate milestone on collaborative Blow Up The Moon

After selling millions of records and logging thousands of miles on the road, GRAMMY award-winning band Blues Traveler continue to chart new musical directions evident on their upcoming record Blow Up The Moon. A clever collaboration between various artists, Blow Up The Moon sees Blues Traveler keep an open-minded perspective on making music and enlists an eclectic mix of songwriters influenced by the bands remarkable 25+ year career.

Blow Up The Moon is first time the band collaborated with other songwriters and this record happened to feature a range of artists across the spectrum, representing country, pop, reggae and hip-hop.

“We wanted to experiment with co-writing since we usually try to do everything in-house, in this misguided homage to The Beatles,” says singer John Popper. Blow Up The Moon allowed Blues Traveler to expand their musical palette while holding the foundation of their distinct and explosive brand of rock. “We found quality writers to see what they could bring to us as a band, and also people who could see our strengths, something that’s hard to see for yourself.”

Blow Up The Moon features collaborating artists Thompson Square, Plain White T’s, 3OH!3, Dirty Heads and Rome Ramirez (Sublime,) Hanson, Jewel, Secondhand Serenade, JC Chasez (*NSYNC), Bowling for Soup, New Hollow and Thomas Ian Nicholas.

The concept for Blow Up The Moon came about when the band was commemorating the 20th Anniversary of their six-times platinum, award-winning and breakthrough album Four. “Once the idea was put out there the thing took on a life of its own” says guitarist Chan Kinchla. “We had so much fun reinvigorating our songwriting. This was an organic process that worked.”

“Nikkia’s Prom,” which Blues Traveler collaborated on with the Chicago pop-punk band Plain White T’s, was brought about through a Twitter conversation. While the groups had not met before, Popper and Plain White T’s vocalist Tom Higgenson bonded over the film Kill Bill. “Nikkia’s Prom” imagines what would happen if the daughter of Uma Thurman’s badass assassin showed up at her future high school dance. As drummer Brendan Hill said, “Like with all the bands we worked with, we just hit it off with them very easily. John and Tom holed themselves in a room and the rest of us just worked on key changes and rhythms. We all had the same kind of humor.”

Sharing humor and an open-minded perspective on music made the collaboration between Blues Traveler and electronic duo Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte, better known as 3OH!3, work so well. 3OH!3 are represented with two cuts on the disc, “Hurricane” and the title track which also includes contributions from J.C. Chasez (*NSYNC). Motte used Logic software to create the ambient and background noises, which Hill said made the process remarkably efficient. Keyboardist Ben Wilson adds that Foreman, “is one of those real grinders who pored over every word all day until he felt we had a real coherent tune. And Sean played an instrument called a guitalele, which looks like a ukulele, but has six strings. When you hear it in this context it has a twangy sound that’s just awesome.”

Blues Traveler also had a relaxed time working with the California ska-punk band Dirty Heads on “Castaway” and “Vagabond,” which singer Rome Ramirez (from Sublime) produced. “Both bands just kicked back, handed some chords down and everybody added lyrics,” said bassist Tad Kinchla. “We would just learn the chords while we were all in the room together and played it the way we felt. It’s the luck of getting along with people.”

While Keifer and Shawna Thompson from the popular country team Thompson Square are a very different group than 3OH!3 or Dirty Heads, they were equally excited to work with Blues Traveler on “I Can Still Feel You” and “Matador.” The latter piece was written with Merle Haggard in mind and how he deserved more respect within the music industry. It’s a theme both groups know all too well, especially as they dare to challenge any imposed limitations. “They want to push boundaries,” Popper said of Thomson Square. “Generally, they stick to love songs, but here they wrote a philosophical statement about how the industry will embrace you and then turn on you. With them, we enabled each other to broaden the idea of genre and help it lose its meaning. Music is never supposed to be monogamous.”

A few stars that ascended at the time of Four also make guest appearances on Blow Up The Moon. Jewel lends her voice to “Hearts Are Still Awake,” and Thomas Ian Nicholas (star of American Pie), worked with Blues Traveler on “All The Way.” Hanson, the brothers who gave the world “Mmmbop,” join in on “Top Of The World.” Wilson said, “Hanson were huge fans of us back in the day – they were little kids then and 14 years later, here they are, grown men and had the tune almost the way they thought it should go, and we played it down until we got it right. They’re great singers and cool songwriters.”

Other collaborators on Blow Up The Moon include Secondhand Serenade who perform on “Darkness,” and co-wrote “Hearts Are Still Awake.” “Jackie’s Baby,” a song of soaring hooks and the collaboration with New Hollow, is according to Popper a new slant on the imagery in The Beatles’ “Rocky Raccoon.” Working with Bowling For Soup on “Waiting For You” and “I Know Right,” proves that Blues Traveler is in no danger of taking itself too seriously. That piece is a satirical look at online communication. “That title phrase just covers everything now,” Popper said. “It’s easy to talk to someone or beat up someone on Twitter, but try to come up with something new to say.”

Blues Traveler plan to spend all of 2015 on the road and are looking at more collaborative projects in the future since, as Wilson said, “There are a lot of different ways to write songs, and so many different ways to work with other people and arrive at the same place. It was reaffirming, but also instructive in teaching us how to say something simpler. When you listen to what came out of it, it’s something to be proud of.”

Loud & Proud Records will release Blow Up The Moon on both CD and vinyl in North America via RED Distribution (a division of Sony Music Entertainment) and in the rest of the world through earMUSIC. Loud & Proud see Blues Traveler as a relevant artist and the collaborations as exciting partnerships proving the band’s versatility.
Matt Jaffe & The Distractions - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
Matt Jaffe & The Distractions
It was in the basement that Matt Jaffe found his parents' copy of 'My Aim Is True.' He'd recently been given a turntable as a gift, and in short order he proceeded to use it so much he nearly wore out the grooves of the Elvis Costello vinyl. If that sounds unusual for a teenager today, that's because Matt Jaffe is an unusual teenager. And with 'Blast Off,' his first official EP, he's got an exceptional debut to show for it.

The roots of Jaffe's quick rise go back to an encounter with Jerry Harrison, the famed Talking Heads keyboardist.

"If I had to name one group that I would call the bedrock of my influence, it would be Talking Heads, along with David Byrne's solo stuff" says Jaffe. "I have to credit my parents for turning me on to a lot of that stuff. For my birthday they'd give me compilation CDs like 'Talking Heads' Greatest Hits.'"

Jaffe was playing a solo set at a local Bay Area open mic night a few years ago when Harrison discovered the young songwriter's undeniable energy and talent.

"After seeing me a couple times, he suggested that I bring some demos to him," remembers Jaffe. "I brought him a bunch of songs, and then he suggested I do some more demos with him, and we cut a record's worth of material."

The sessions proved to be an exceptional learning experience for the high schooler, who had never before set foot in a studio, but he could sense himself maturing and evolving as an artist throughout the process, moving away from the singer/songwriter approach that had guided him as a solo artist in favor of a more raw, electric sound.

"After producing those songs with Jerry and LA studio musicians, I realized it would behoove me to form a band with guys my own age that I could play live with," says Jaffe, "and that encouraged me to write in a different way."

Adopting the moniker Matt Jaffe & The Distractions, he put together an electrifying young band influenced by new wave and punk rock, pulling cult hero producer Matthew King Kaufman—the Beserkley Records founder who helmed releases for The Modern Lovers' Jonathan Richman and Greg Kihn among others—out of semi-retirement to help shape the new band material that would form the core of 'Blast Off.'

"When we were recording it, there was a level of impulsiveness in the studio that was appealing," says Jaffe. "We were serious about it, of course, and wanted to create something that would be enduring, but there was also a levity that I appreciated. Some of the songs we literally did in one take, so you're hearing a live band in the studio, not the product of Pro Tools and soundproofing or whatever the latest gadget and gizmo the sound engineer happens to have."

The EP—a preview of Jaffe's upcoming full-length debut—kicks off with "Stoned On Easter," a tongue-in-cheek, driving rocker that sets the tone for the collection, with Jaffe singing "Chocolate fingers always on the hunt / God is just a publicity stunt / Pardon me if I've been too blunt."

"Last year, Easter and 4/20 fell on the same day," explains Jaffe. "It's meant to be an objective absurdist view on how Christian and marijuana culture would look if they overlapped. They seem sort of far-flung from one another, but I think there are elements of devotion in both of those cultures that perhaps reflect one another."

"Write A Song" is a rockabilly-influenced track that nods to Johnny Cash and draws on Jaffe's disillusionment with leaving the Bay Area (he's since returned), while "Blast Off" takes a punk rock page straight out of Joe Strummer's book, and "I Wanna Be Cruel" reaches back to the 60's with touches of George Harrison and The Beatles, though it was actually inspired by a Dylan quote.

"I think it was at his famous San Francisco press conference, Dylan was asked what he wanted his songs to do to people," explains Jaffe. "He said he wanted the music to 'needle them,' which I thought was an appropriate balance of sadistic and comic intent. 'I Wanna Be Cruel' is intended to strike that same sort of balance. I wanted it to have some genuine malice, but an undercurrent of irony and a good-natured wink to it, as well."

Lead single "Put Your Finger In The Socket" blends that same sense of defiance and humor into an infectious anthem of opposites, as Jaffe sings, "Because you dress in colors / I'm gonna dress in black / Because you love the summer / I’m taking the wintertime back / Because you hate your family / I am writing mine / Because I need a signal / You won't give me a sign."

"It was based on a poem that I wrote in Spanish, which was just about doing the opposite of someone, whether it's dressing the opposite of them or having opposite beliefs. Since my Spanish speaking is pretty nascent and the verses are a direct translation of the poem, they come across as very simplistic. But the song's about being disenchanted with a relationship and trying to be as much of a contrarian as possible, and since the catalyst for that behavior is so petty and simplistic, I wanted the lyrics to reflect it."

Jaffe proves that less is more with his songwriting, distilling sophisticated concepts into exhilarating musical adrenaline rushes and melding influences that belie his young age. The music doesn't simply reflect what's come before him, though, but rather utilizes his deep understanding of some of popular music's most vital scenes to cue his vibrant, utterly modern take on them. When it comes to crafting nervy, memorable, thrilling rock and roll, there's no doubt Matt Jaffe's aim is true.
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change