Chris Martins

writer

Biography

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    Sublime Reunite Powerfully with New Singer

    It was a happy 4-20, indeed, last night at the Hollywood Palladium, where a sold-out crowd gathered to watch 21-year-old singer Rome Ramirez front a mostly reunited Sublime. It was the first stop on the band's inaugural tour, and the audience was in a celebratory mood. "You guys fuckin' stoned or what?" asked Rome between songs. "'Cause it smells real good in here." Indeed, the inside of the old Art Deco theater seemed tinted green. Of course, the band offered every incitement, opening with "Get Ready," which includes the classic couplet "Load up the bong / Crank up the song," as well as that line about pulling out a nine and "letting one slip." Thankfully, people came with pot instead of firearms, because the response was near universal. In case there was any question about what day it was, the band's second song was "Smoke Two Joints," and it was greeted in kind.

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    Faith No More: Big Pimping Their Coachella Reunion!

    There he was: Wearing a crimson leisure suit with a gold chain around his neck, track shoes on his feet, and a cane in his hand -- dressed, essentially, like a trashy Italian pimp. The inimitable Mike Patton led Faith No More through a Saturday night Coachella set that was excellent, but over too soon. The reunited seminal funk/pop/metal act opened, fittingly enough, with "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb. Their straight-faced delivery of that smooth, sexual R&B hit wouldn't have been possible without Patton's propensity for impeccable crooning -- an ability he turned on its head moments later for the infinitely more raucous 1989 FNM track "From Out of Nowhere." Barking, shouting, spitting and growling, Patton hurdled his walking stick into the blood-red curtain behind his band before executing a gymnastic series of leaps and lurches.

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    Jay-Z Duets with Beyonce at Monster Coachella Show

    "Instead of turning it up to 10," Friday night's headliner Jay-Z said to an adoring Coachella crowd, "Tonight we're going to turn it up to 99." And indeed they did -- "they" being the rap megastar, his 10-strong Roc Boys band, fella New York emcee Memphis Bleek, and one very special guest. In two hours, Hova performed more than 30 songs -- a career-spanning set that reminded the crowd just how many massive hits he's racked up in just 15 years. Jay-Z's status as modern pop royalty had been driven home in no uncertain terms by the time the surprise crown jewel arrived: None other than Beyoncé Knowles, singing lead on the show closer, "Young Forever." Beyoncé wore an oversize off-the-shoulder tee loaded withhand-painted punk iconography.

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    Panic! Offshoot Young Veins Preview New Songs

    With a debut album recorded and tucked away for a June release, Young Veins -- the new band from former Panic! at the Disco members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker -- played its first show together on Saturday night at The Echo on Los Angeles' East Side. The intimate setting made for a packed house fleshed out by familiar faces -- Alex Greenwald, Jenny Lewis, Z Berg, Edward Sharpe -- and treated to a streamlined set of throwback rock. Young Veins took the stage in vintage suits and shag 'dos, looking absolutely Fab Four, even though the L.A.-based band has grown into a five-piece.

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    Bird and the Bee Perform Hall and Oates Tribute

    The crowd had to have seen it coming. The first sign appeared the moment the curtain opened. There was the Bird and the Bee in expanded octet form with a veritable arsenal of instruments and voices at its disposal. And yet, just left of center stage stood the night's indisputable question mark: a conspicuously unattended microphone, just begging for a special guest. Add to this the occasion for the sold out show at Los Angeles' El Rey Theatre on Friday night – the pending release of the duo's Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates – and, well, there was really only one of two ways the night could have gone. For those paying attention, the answer came about halfway into the Bird and Bee original "Man," as Inara George conducted her four-girl choir and Greg Kurstin lorded over his stack of keys and knobs.

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    Dirty Projectors Curate Orchestral Extravaganza

    On Saturday night in Los Angeles, Dirty Projectors threw one of the greatest and strangest shows of the year from within the airship-shaped chamber of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The night was curated by David Longstreth -- the lanky main brain of the experimental Brooklyn band -- and built around an ensemble-backed performance of the Projectors' highly dense and hugely bizarre fifth album, 2005's "glitch opera" The Getty Address. The event began with a set from the L.A.

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    Yeasayer Play L.A.'s Natural History Museum

    On Friday night in Los Angeles, intrepid show-goers braved heavy rain and dodged at least one Tyrannosaurus on their way to Yeasayer's sold-out performance at the Natural History Museum. Flanked by stuffed musk oxen and elephant seals, the eclectic Brooklyn band delivered a fevered set that saw them pound, wail, and groove through the majority of their upcoming second album, Odd Blood. Local foursome Warpaint kicked things off with its winning mix of slack and pop – a no-frills mash-up of rock bluster and post-punk angularity that gradually morphed the stylish ladies on stage into piles of tousled hair and Chuck Taylors.

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    Radiohead Perform Haiti Benefit in L.A.

    "This has been a very interesting way to break up recording," said Thom Yorke to the audience at Los Angeles' Henry Fonda Theater on Sunday night. The admission came near the end of Radiohead's impromptu show to raise money for victims of the Haiti earthquake. Throughout the set, Yorke was upbeat – jaunty, even – sporting a western shirt with the collar unbuttoned and sleeves rolled up, a smattering of surfer's scruff along his jaw line. The singer's look matched the mood of the night. In a venue with one-tenth the capacity the band typically plays, Radiohead's performance felt exceptionally warm.

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    Cold War Kids Start Tour with New Songs

    After persevering through some pre-set technical difficulties on Friday night at Los Angeles' Wiltern Theatre, Cold War Kids tore through a slick set that clearly wowed its devoted fans. The Long Beach quartet was kicking off a short, six-date tour celebrating the release of its new Behave Yourself EP, and singer Nathan Willett looked proud as he addressed the crowd: "You can't know how great it feels to be playing to so many friends and family." His assessment of the attendees appeared to be spot-on, as they sang along with nearly everything Cold War Kids had to offer, including a drawn-out cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Long As I Can See The Light" -- never mind that the young crowd had to learn the lyrics on the spot.

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    Vampire Weekend Kick Off Tour in L.A.

    On Tuesday night, Vampire Weekend celebrated the release of its new album, Contra, with a sold-out concert at Hollywood's Henry Fonda Theater. The tour opener, billed as an "intimate" performance -- at a 1300-capacity venue -- actually capped a series of secret and small-crowd California gigs thrown by the New York band, who spent a portion of 2009 renting a house in the Hollywood Hills. The headliner's breezy rhythms and syncopated beats played well following a sweltering set by L.A.'s own Very Be Careful, a five-piece specializing in vallenato -- folk music from Columbia's Caribbean coast.

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