This past Saturday saw the first of three free summer shows alight gracefully in the shadow of the Century Park Towers in Century City. Rather than the corporate concrete one might suspect in this white-collar neighborhood, fans were treated to a spacious grass lawn, a primo photo exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography, and the legendary Moby revealing both acoustic guitar and DJ chops.
While waiting for the concert to begin, I headed over to the Annenberg Space for Photography which recently transitioned from its questionably curated digital photography exhibition, into a brilliant rockstar/music legend show, called Who Shot Rock and Roll featuring the likes of Chuck Berry, Elvis, The Beatles, Madonna, Michael Jackson, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and countless others. The primarily black & white film photos revealed American music legends in intimate, candid moments and is worth spending some time to explore.
KCRW DJ Jason Bentley began the musical program, offering a predictably eclectic set from the only broadcast radio station that this writer can consistently stomach. The sprawling lawn between the massive Century Park Towers evoked Summer Stage events that NYC offers in Central Park, with a more local and friendly vibe. Over the course of the night, I spotted three friends among the crowd.
As darkness fell, the winds picked up, and Moby took the stage with a retinue of back-up singers and a surprising, but well-crafted acoustic guitar set. He offered up several covers, including Ring of Fire. His acoustic versions of fan favorites Porcelain and Westside were both well executed, demonstrating a softer, more dimensioned side of the artist. This science geek also snickered at Moby’s Higgs Boson shout out before performing We Are All Made of Stars.
Between songs, Moby announced he was a recent transplant to LA, after spending much of his life in New York. His LA-centric photography blog offers his unique take on his new West Coast digs.
The second half of the show was spent in more expected Moby mode, as he walked behind the stage and assumed the DJ booth previously occupied by Jason Bentley. People were dancing freely all across the grass and despite the chilly temperature, a good time appeared to be had by all.
This coming weekend, July 21st, Portugal. The Man. will perform in the second free show offered by KCRW. The first 500 people in attendance (the crowd at this one was roughly 4,000) will received a free T. Rex CD. I have it. I’ve listened to it. It’s great. I would strongly recommend arriving early, if you decide to take advantage of the free show this coming Saturday. Parking was only a buck (one American dollar, for the whole night), but the security check to get down into the underground lot was a bit of a challenge.
In all, KCRW delivered again on its creative promise to maintain the pulse of Indie music in Los Angeles. With two more free shows to go, any music fans out there not yet won overmay yet find themselves a willing converts to its clever audio offerings.