#30DaysInLA: An Exhausting, Red Bull-Fueled Musical Feast

Categories: On the Road

Photos by Marco Torres (except indicated)
An awesome show each night for 30 days, Red Bull Sound Select showcases its magic.
During the month of November, Red Bull Sound Select presented an innovative music showcase in Los Angeles called #30DaysInLA. A different show or event, at a different venue, each night, for 30 nights. The shows include big names such as Juicy J, Chance the Rapper, Cut Copy, and A$AP Mob, but also present the program's rising stars such as Houston's Wrestlers and the Tontons, as well as Los Colognes, Thurz and more. Rocks Off's Marco Torres was on hand for a week of the thirty shows and captured these highlights.

First things first: what is Red Bull Sound Select? According to a poster I found hanging on the wall of the Red Bull's North American headquarters in Santa Monica, the program is defined as:

...an artist development program and music discovery platform to help break emerging artists hand-selected by the most influential curators in the industry.

That sounds really cool, but what does it have to do with Houston?

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The Best Things Overheard at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014 (NSFW)

Photo by Cory Garcia
From a chalkboard that asked, "What does Texas mean to you?"
"Hey do you want a Red Bull?"
"No thanks."
"It has vodka in it."

"Let me know if you're gonna do something stupid so I can record it and post it online for karma"

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The Best & Worst of Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014

Photo by Cory Garcia
Boyfriend can work any stage, even when the stage is a wrestling ring.

New Orleans rapper Boyfriend knows how to command a space, even when that space is a wrestling ring. As she danced, stomped and rolled her way around the space, tossing gifts out in to the audience, occasionally borrowing hats and sunglasses and getting up close to sing to different members of the crowd, I couldn't pull my eyes away from her set.

Her songs are good, though, the good type of repetitive-catchy, but actually seeing her perform -- and the chaos that comes with it -- makes them shine. After the set, I was told it was only a taste of what her shows are like. If you'll excuse me, I'll be kicking myself for missing her set at Fitz last week. CORY GARCIA

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10 Reasons to Look Forward to Fun Fun Fun Fest Every Year

Photo by Marco Torres
Welcome back, 2012
The Weather
Sure it makes me sound like a curmudgeon, but I hate summer festivals. Oh sure, the music is great, but the heat, good lord the heat. It's just exhausting. Even ACL runs the risk of getting mighty uncomfortable if October decides not to play nice.

By the time November rolls around, though, even the warmest days are pleasant and the cooler days are just an excuse to wear those awesome hoodies you've been keeping in storage.

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The 10 Best Acts of Voodoo Music Experience 2014

Photos by Jim Bricker
Legends of the Game: OutKast
The 16th annual Voodoo Music + Arts Experience has come and gone, leaving the rich taste of Hurricanes and filé gumbo in our mouth and the sweet sounds of Foo Fighters, OutKast, Arctic Monkeys and the rest of the festival's stacked lineup.

Taking over New Orleans's City Park every Halloween weekend, Voodoo has become a festival unlike any other. Featuring a diverse set of bands and DJs playing across four unique stages and allowing its patrons the adult playground of the Big Easy during off hours, it has shaped itself into one of today's top-tier music events.

There was no end to quality music over the three days, and only a few minor mishaps (looking at you, Ms. Lauryn Hill...), but some acts were just a little bit better than the rest. There was no shortage of contenders, making this list rather tough to whittle down, but these are the ten best acts of this past weekend's Voodoo Experience.

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¡Viva Monterrey! Exploring Mexico's Pa'l Norte Music Fest

The 2014 Pa'l Norte Music Festival took place in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico over Halloween weekend, with headliners such as Los Tigres Del Norte, Snoop Dogg, Juanes, Foster the People, Molotov and more. Rocks Off's Marco Torres was on hand to capture the highlights.

Photos by Marco Torres
¡Vamos Pa'l Norte!

Natasha and Omar of Vinil Magazine take a selfie with me in the Pa'l Norte media area.

One of the joys of working as a music journalist is befriending people from all over the globe while working music festivals. A few years ago, I met Omar "Mexico" Pasillas (above, center) in Austin during PachangaFest. He is the editor of Vinil Magazine and host of VinilTV, a public access television show in Monterrey.

During ACL 2014, he suggested that I visit his hometown to cover the Pa'l Norte Music Festival, which in its third year of existence is quickly becoming one of the best music festivals in Latin America. Their success can be attributed to the Apodaca Music Group, a booking and management firm whose more than 30 years of history in the Mexican and international music scene serves as a firm base for the festival.

So I packed my camera bag and traveled south for the weekend. This is what I saw:

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Meet Three Bands Who Love Playing Houston

Photo courtesy of Marla Strange
Marla Strange
Houston's music scene is arguably experiencing one of its most sumptuous moments ever. Local acts showing great promise are as voluminous and interesting as our town's food trucks and, similarly, have whet Houstonians' growing appetites for live music. We're out there sampling more morsels of good stuff than a famished shopper at Central Market.

That thrilling hunger isn't just good for local musicians. It's attractive to out-of-towners, too. An informed music community makes Houston a destination for bands out there grinding it out to make a name for themselves. But don't take our word for it: this trio of acts who frequently visit the city will tell you why you rock, Houston music fans.

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The 10 Best Reasons to Visit Voodoo Fest This Weekend

Photos by Jim Bricker (except noted)
This weekend you could be carving pumpkins and handing out candy, or doing something much cooler by jumping in the car and heading to New Orleans for the 16th annual Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. Costumed freaks and music fans alike will be descending on the historic City Park for three days of music and entertainment from the likes of Foo Fighters, Outkast, Skrillex, Arctic Monkeys, Pretty Lights, Slayer, Gogol Bordello, Death From Above 1979 and a whole bunch of other great acts.

If you've never been to New Orleans during Halloween time, you're missing out. The addition of a great festival to take your days away before taking to the city at night is even more reason to head to the Big Easy for a few days of good music, delicious grub and a bit of debauchery thrown in for good measure.

If that isn't enough, here are ten more reasons that should give you that final push out of the door come Halloween morning.

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Hitching a Ride With Screaming Females

Photo by Christopher Patrick Ernst
Screaming Females
Screaming Females' drummer Jarrett Dougherty said the band has played Houston a few times before, but is still looking for that one knockout performance here as headliners.

Those who know one of rock's most exciting groups may find that hard to believe. Dougherty and bassist King Mike are a solid one-two combination, setting up the haymaker that is guitarist and front woman Marissa Paternoster. It's difficult to fathom they haven't rope-a-doped locals with their punishing live act, but they'll get another chance by stepping into the ring as the main event tonight at Walters.

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Local Acts Besiege CMJ for Texas Takeover

All this week, aspiring rock stars, rappers, DJs and even a folksinger or two have fanned out across Manhattan and Brooklyn for the 33rd annual CMJ Music Marathon. But today New York City's week-long festival will have a pronounced Texas twang.

Lone Star acts, almost two dozen of them, will overrun one venue in particular, a three-level nightclub on the Lower East Side called The Delancey. Dubbed the "Texas Takeover," it's an official showcase and everything, open to all CMJ badgeholders. Representing Houston are a number of acts our readers ought to recognize, among them BLSHS, Featherface, Catch Fever, Ravin' Symone (aka DJ Dave Wrangler), -Us, iPod Ammo, Wrestlers and the Suffers, who close out the whole mess at 10:30 p.m.

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