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Events / El Rey Theatre (5)

Tuesday, July 7

Indigo Girls

El Rey Theatre

5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 95928

8:00pm

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are Indigo Girls. Rolling Stone describes them as the “ideal duet partners. Their voices soar and swoop as one, alternately raucous and soothing. When they sing together, they radiate a sense of shared purpose that adds muscle to their lanky, deeply felt folk-tinged pop songs”. Together they write, arrange, record and perform music which over the course of twenty five years has become a vital part of the lives of their legion of devoted fans around the world, informing and rewarding them day to day.
With twelve original studio albums, three live records, various Greatest Hits compilations, a Rarities and a Christmas record to their credit, the iconic duo continues to challenge itself creatively, over and over again, adding to a body of work that contains such contemporary classic songs as Galileo, Shame on You, Closer To Fine, Kid Fears, Love of Our Lives, Making Promises, Get out the Map, Moment of Forgiveness, Least Complicated and Go. After numerous Grammy nominations and awards and gold and platinum certifications and decades of touring in clubs, arenas and everything in between,  Indigo Girls remain active and  relevant, always viewing their music as a fresh opportunity for exploration and discovery. “We really work hard to not lean on any tried and true path in making our albums,” says Ray. “So when it comes to writing new songs and working and performing with different musicians, every record and every tour feels like a completely different adventure for us.
Amy and Emily first met as fifth and sixth-graders inDecatur,Georgiaand began singing together during high school. Originally billed as Saliers & Ray, the pair adopted the name Indigo Girls during their undergraduate days atAtlanta’sEmoryUniversity. The Indigos were attending classes by day and performing as an acoustic duo in local clubs by night when they made their first stab at recording in 1985 with the single Crazy Game / Everybody’s Waiting (for Someone To Come Home) which they issued on their own label, followed by an EP and in 1987, their first full length LP, Strange Fire, produced by John Keane.
In 1988, the big-time beckoned Indigo Girls. Signed to Epic Records and EMI Music, they recorded Indigo Girls with producer Scott Litt at Ocean Way Studios inL.A.With Amy and Emily on vocals and acoustic guitars, Indigo Girls featured contributions from REM, Hothouse Flowers and Luka Bloom. The record was released in 1989 (the Boston Globe stated “The Indigo Girls have simply made the best debut album so far this year”) and the Indigo Girls began criss-crossing the country on tour (a process that has continued without pause throughout their career) headlining or supporting the likes of REM, Neil Young and the Violent Femmes.
Decades into their career, the Indigo Girls still amaze conventional pundits with their ability to grow and thrive no matter what the state of the music industry is at any given point. The duo’s constant touring, as well as staunch dedication to a number of social and environmental causes, has earned them a fervidly devoted following over the years. So many artists who launched their careers in the late 1980s have slipped from our collective memory. In contrast, the Indigo Girls stand tall, having earned the lasting respect and devotion of a multi-generational audience which continues to experience their creative evolution in the studio and on stage. The adventure may take the form of an adrenaline-fueled live CD or a warm reflective holiday album or a collection of songs that can veer from the raucous to intimate in the blink of an eye. No matter where their creative journey takes them, they hold out a hand to their listeners and we get to feel it all.

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Wednesday, July 8

Russell Howard

El Rey Theatre

5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 95928

8:00pm

Russell Howard is one of the UK's most successful comedians. His 2011 sell-out arena tour Right Here, Right Now played to more than 300,000 fans including three sold out dates at the 15,000 seater O2 Arena. He returned to the stage in 2014 with his latest arena tour, Wonderbox, including four shows at the Royal Albert Hall and a string of international dates.

Russell is the writer and star of BBC Three's most successful entertainment show Russell Howard's Good News. The 8th series began in Spring 2013; since its debut in 2009 cumulative ratings have grown from 1.7 million a week to a peak of over 5 million. The success of the show saw it move to BBC Two in 2014.

Russell has released four bestselling live stand-up DVDs: Russell Howard Live (2008), Russell Howard Live: Dingledodies (2009), Right Here, Right Now (2011) and Wonderbox (2014). He has now sold over 700,000 DVDs and has been in the top 5 DVD comedy chart across all his stand-up titles. 

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Thursday, July 9

Son Lux

El Rey Theatre

5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 95928

9:00pm

Founded by producer-composer Ryan Lott in 2007, Son Lux “works at the nexus of several rarely-overlapping Venn Diagrams” (Pitchfork). With the recent additions to the band of guitarist-composer Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang, Son Lux is now a ferocious trio both live and on record. Bones (June 23, 2015) is the first album documenting this new formation, and it draws from the three members' unique and omnivorous musical vernaculars. Few bands have built a more impressive and varied array of collaborators: Lorde, Beyoncé producer Boots, Sufjan Stevens, Matthew Dear, Busdriver, Vijay Iyer, Nico Muhly and Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw.

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Saturday, July 11

Veruca Salt

El Rey Theatre

5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 95928

9:00pm

One summer day in 2012, Veruca Salt’s vocalist-guitarists Nina Gordon and Louise Post sat downstairs in Gordon’s basement in Los Angeles and sang together for the first time since the two ended their friendship and musical partnership 14 years prior. “It was sublime. Our voices hadn’t changed. We just locked right in and it was heaven,” Gordon says. Gordon and Post’s reunion eventually led to the pair reforming Veruca Salt with their original bandmates: Gordon’s brother, drummer Jim Shapiro, and bassist Steve Lack. This year, the quartet have been in the studio with Brad Wood (who produced their gold-selling debut album, American Thighs) recording new music.

Veruca Salt formed in Chicago in 1991, when Post and Gordon were introduced by a mutual friend. In 1993 Veruca Salt played its first gig and soon released the “Seether” single on local label Minty Fresh. A major-label bidding war erupted and the band signed to Geffen Records. They toured with alt-rock royalty Hole and released an album, American Thighs, which eventually sold a million copies worldwide. They scored features in Spin and Rolling Stone, recorded an EP, Blow It Out Your Ass It’s Veruca Salt, performed at the UK’s prestigious Glastonbury Festival and appeared on Saturday Night Live.

Veruca Salt broke up in early 1998 when Gordon suddenly left the band. Though she and Post aren’t eager to give exact details about what led to the breakup, they will say that ultimately a lack of coping skills led to their implosion. “We understand that people want to know the gory details,” Gordon says. “It was drugs and cheating and all that junk, and the two of us not talking about what was really going on. If it were Mick and Keith or something, Louise and I would have just had an old-fashioned fistfight and gotten back to work.”

In 2012, Gordon read that Mazzy Star had reunited. “I emailed Louise and said, ‘Hey, Mazzy Star are playing Coachella, shouldn’t we?’ And she said, ‘Maybe we should start with coffee.’” Post had been in touch with Lack over the years and broached the subject with him. Shapiro, too, was on board, and in August, the four original members sat down together for the first time. Meanwhile, Veruca Salt had been contacted by Minty Fresh about releasing a 20th-anniversary edition of American Thighs, which first appeared in September 1994. “It was very timely,” Post says. “And we thought, ‘What if we were to release something new, too?’

The new songs pick up where Veruca Salt left off 14 years ago, with their sing-along hooks, melodic pop smarts, thundering sonic aggression, reference-packed wordplay, and angelic harmonies still intact. “It’s miraculous to have this brand-new, beautiful chapter,” Post says. “We never saw it coming, and yet, here we are. To be able to reconnect and play with these dear friends of mine who are like my family . . . it’s such a gift. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Everything is where it’s supposed to be.”

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Monday, July 13

Ryn Weaver

El Rey Theatre

5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 95928

9:00pm

On the day Ryn Weaver was born, NASA and CNES, the French national space agency, conjointly launched the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite. It was an oceanographic marvel, providing unprecedented measurements of sea levels, tides and the ocean floor.

To the cynic, this factoid may seem wholly coincidental. But in talking with Ryn, or listening to her music, one begins to believe in things like destiny, the uncanny, the stars. She has French blood. She has a reoccurring dream of orcas. “I was a little mermaid,” she says of her childhood. When she moved to New York City, she missed the Pacific so much she would fill her bathtub with chilly water and submerge.

Some musicians have a fascinating backstory. She was raised on a kibbutz in rural Oregon. Her father formed that LeBron James Cult. Ryn is not one of those musicians. She was born in Encinitas, California, a surfer town with a mosaic of the Virgin Mary hanging ten under a bridge, and raised in perpetually pleasant San Diego. Her dad is an architect. Her momma is, as she says, “just a momma.” This does not diminishes her fascinating character.

In conversation, Ryn leaps from topic to topic. She talks of lunar cycles, ascendent zodialogical signs, the effect of soy consumption on vegetarians’ nipples, the differing eroticism in the art of Gustav Klimt and his protege Egon Schiele, Kate Bush’The Dreaming, love, the symbolism of stone fruit in a Joanna Newsom song, the fantasy MMORPG RuneScape, pre-zipper fashion design, death, the empathetic powers of domesticated rats, gender politics, David Bowie’s groin in Labyrinth, and the ominous allure of the sea in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

The day that Ryn was born is also the Day of the Velvet Voice, according to the numerologists at the Secret Language. Her voice is her instrument, and it is indeed as fleecy and voluptuous as brushed burgundy velvet. Her voice is also chiffon, devoré and nacré. It is cotton and silk. It can be crushed or hammered. When Ryn first began composing songs, she would deeply pile her vocals in a computer, building ethereal swirls, posting them to Soundcloud.

Ryn meets Benny Blanco on Halloween in New York, her first time in the city. She is dressed at Bambi. He is dressed as himself, an impossibly young multiplatinum producer. They hang out in a burlesque club, part ways. Two years later, Ryn is crashing up and down the California coast. “It is the most irresponsible time of my life. I’m trying to wash everything out of my system.” She bumps into Blanco again in L.A. on his birthday. He invites her to a party. She plays him her songs on Soundcloud, like the fingersnap slow-jam “You,” which she has appropriately hashtagged #Fairy Pop. “I show Benny but he was wasted,” Ryn remembers. He listens again sober and reaches out to her.

“Ryn’s music sounds like butterflies in your brain,” Blanco says, “Like if you took dope beats, mixed them with Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush and then attached it to a bungee cord.” After cowriting and coproducing hits for Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa, Blanco has partnered with Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit. It’s an inspired pairing. Both are precocious, twentysomething talents playing left field in pop music, lobbing hooks to the radio that bounce and unexpectedly curve. Working with Ryn is their debut collaboration. “The project didn’t make sense until an hour of us working together for the first time,” Angelakos says. “What makes Ryn so fascinating is this odd straddling between reality and surreality. Someone so innocent, fresh and excited is something so rare that it almost seemed like a facade, but none of it is.”

In Ryn’s songs you can hear the euphoric pulse and summer breeze of Blanco, and the giddy rush and dust-devil synth swirls of Angelakos. Drums pound like fists against the door on “OctaHate,” a slow-jam swing turned earthquake, as Ryn’s voice rises in an anxious trill, building, building, hitting a peakin squeak as she belts, “You shot me down!” When you listen, bear in mind you’re hearing her first take in a studio, ever. Listen more closely and you can hear what sound like drops of water in a tub.

“OctaHate” equals hate times eight, Ryn explains. The day that Ryn was born is the 222nd day of the year. Two times two times two is eight. Her debut EP is being released on August 8. Are you starting to see?

There is something mystical about this Fairy Pop. So, no, there is no grand, juicy backstory. Ryn is a young woman who busted her ass waiting tables and sleeping in her car. That’s cool. Once you tell an interesting origin tale, what is left to say? Ryn may not be a story, but she is filled with them. Stop chasing the white whale and observe the ocean before you.

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