Monday, April 16, 2007

Cold War Kiddies, Lily Allen, and The Shins lend voices during LA Benefit

Too much work to do today, but it is a lovely cause and some pretty wonderful artists showed up to lend their support. Care of NME:

"The Shins, Cold War Kids, Lily Allen and surprise guest Travis headlined a star-studded, sold-out benefit concert supporting Los Angeles radio station KCRW Saturday night (April 14).

The sixth annual A Sounds Eclectic Evening at Los Angeles' Gibson Amphitheatre featured a diverse array of performers playing to an equally diverse, 6,000-strong crowd during the four-and-a-half hour show.

The Shins headlined the evening with an energetic performance that ran just over an hour. The New Mexico quartet breezed through tracks from 2003's 'Chutes Too Narrow' as well as their latest album, 'Wincing The Night Away', which debuted at Number 2 on the Billboard charts.

"You've had lots of flavours to choose from tonight," bassist/keyboardist Marty Crandall told the audience. "I think The Shins are a lot like butterscotch."

Crandall also gave a shout out to Paris Hilton, who was rumoured to be in the audience. "Hi Paris, if you're here," he quipped.

Before The Shins took the stage, Lily Allen strutted her stuff in green stilettos and frilly pink dress.

"Jesus, I think I might have had a bit too much Jagermeister," she admitted, wobbling a bit.

With a backing band that included a three-piece brass section, Allen ran through several tracks from her debut album, 'Alright, Still', looking a bit worse for the wear.

"This is our last US show so it's great to be here," Allen said, fuelling rumours that she would be cancelling her upcoming US dates.

Travis preceded Allen as the evening's surprise guest. The Glaswegian quartet performed a pared-down set, previewing several songs from their forthcoming album, 'The Boy With No Name', as previously reported.

One of the evening's biggest surprises came from Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. The guitarists adeptly mixed Spanish classical guitar with classic rock, performing rousing renditions of Metallica's 'Orion' and closing with a startlingly unique version of Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway To Heaven'. They received the evening's most thunderous standing ovation.

Cold War Kids did not disappoint with their bluesy, funked-up numbers. Frontman Nathan Willett wailed on piano while his bandmates grooved across the stage. Playing several tracks from 'Robbers & Cowards' including 'Saint John' and 'Hang Me Up To Dry', the local band quipped, "If anyone took the 405 freeway here, we can give you a ride home."

After their set, Willett told NME.COM that this was the largest venue the band had ever played in their hometown. "It's also the first time we played somewhere where people were seated, which was kind of weird. But (actor) Will Ferrell was dancing a lot while we were playing, which was awesome."

Willett explained why the band wanted to play the benefit show. "We've grown up listening to KCRW--they're the most artistic radio station there is," he said.

LA band Bitter:Sweet kicked off the evening with a brief but strong set of jazz-infused trip-hop, fronted by sexy singer Shana Halligan.

Rounding out the night was Breakestra, an eight-piece band that delivered the evening's most political message against President George Bush, as well as a tribute to James Brown.

Proceeds from the evening will go toward preserving and modernising KCRW's extensive music library.

"The bands all play for free, except expenses," KCRW Music Director and DJ Nic Harcourt explained to NME.COM. "It's terrific that they lent their support."

***Latest Lily News*** via her myspace page:

Hey Guys ,
I'm writing to tell you that I have cancelled many of my May and June tour commitments in America. The reason for this, is because my mummy and daddy are very rich, and I have never been in a position where i have actually had to do any hard work before. I thought that being a popstar meant going out getting trashed with famous people and sleeping in all day. The fact that this is not true has come as a huge dissapiontment to me, and as a result I am throwing the towel in.

No but seriously, I have been on tour with this album for a year now, I have fulfilled every commitment up to this point. I am tired, but more than that I don't think I have been giving my best performances recently. I have been getting really drunk because i've been so nervous about doing bad shows, and I don't want people spending money on a going to see a show that isnt the best it could be. I am not falling apart at the seems, I am not suffering with exhaustion, I am not pregnant, and I am not going to rehab. I will be here in America, promoting the album and also starting to write the second album, which I am beyond excited about. The LA and New York shows will still be happening , and I am still playing Coachella and Bonaroo and all the other festivals .

I'd like to apologise to anyone who has bought tickets, but you can get your money back, if you take 'em back to the place you bought them from."

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