Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

Posts Tagged ‘concerts’

4 February 2008: The Mars Volta

Posted by Christina on March 18, 2009

mv1The Bren Events Center at UCI is a very strange thing. One minute, they’re setting up bleachers and making good use of their stadium seating for a basketball game. Next minute they’re donning the trees outside its box office with peace flags to welcome the Dalai Lama. Then they’re ushering the young and old through the masses for the graduation ceremonies and every so often – which is quite often – they’re doling out wristbands and cuing up the sound system for a bona fide rock concert. I was lucky enough to be able to cover it when The Mars Volta graced our eclectic stage.

New University Newspaper: The Mars Volta

The Mars Volta
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 41, Issue 16 | Feb 04 2008

For one night the Bren Events Center was home to a colorful crowd of individuals. Each person brought in a new form and character; an image different from what we’re used to seeing mulling around campus. The venue is typically an area with space paved through stadium seating for our celebrated and varied sports teams to show their stuff. That night it was littered with mohawks, scruffy beards and unisex tight jeans, clear celebrators of the music the audience would hear that night.

It is definitely a noticeable event when UC Irvine hosts a band with as much clout in the music industry as The Mars Volta has. Echoes of their last huge show in California rang through the crowd.

There was a delay in the grand entrance of the band and mixing mastermind Wes the Mes kept the hungry Volta wolf-fan hybrids at bay. Wes the Mes is looking into going to Europe with the band during their upcoming tour dates. You might even find his remix styles on the band’s new release.

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3 December 2007: Bored in Irvine? Go See a Concert

Posted by Christina on March 12, 2009

troubadour1I compiled this list of places to go have fun mainly because I, too, felt as though Irvine just might have hidden diamonds in the ultimately beige and track-housing rough of land.

New University Newspaper: Bored in Irvine? Go See a Concert

Bored In Irvine? Go See a Concert
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 41, Issue 11 | Dec 03 2007

The environment surrounding UC Irvine has little to offer other than being a sprawling wasteland of corporate headquarters, vast shopping centers and unnecessarily extravagant apartment complexes. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re all owned by the same company that every aspect of Irvine’s greater community is the same bland beige we have come to know and love throughout our years at school.

We have learned to ignore the uninteresting and unsightly lack of character of Irvine. Now with the quarter over, our eyes are pained with those torn-down orange groves and the perennial scaffolding for new construction. At least you know the vibrantly alive Los Angeles is just up the 405 freeway.

The greatest thing about L.A. is the nightlife, and as our faithful Orange County is still in the throes of becoming a people-friendly city, it has followed in its footsteps. The nightlife of both L.A. and the O.C. provide ample amounts of music venues, which have somehow managed to maintain their underground qualities while still being prime spots to see some great bands.

Celebrating half a century of providing breakthrough bands with a cozy spot, the Troubadour in West Hollywood allows bands to connect with their fans and shake hands at their merchandise table at the end of the lobby bar.

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7 May 2007: Coachella ’07 – Part I

Posted by Christina on March 5, 2009

6a00d8341d682a53ef00e55069df678833-800wiI was so thrilled to be able to offer my input on this year’s Coachella to the newspaper. Unfortunately, covering Coachella didn’t give any of us backstage passes or super-awesome-access wristbands but it was a really great spread and very well organized. There were a couple of us who covered the festival and so they split the covered between a couple parts. I was given the first part and the introduction.

New University Newspaper: Coachella ’07: Part I

Coachella ’07: Part 1
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 40, Issue 27 | May 07 2007

The buzz around Coachella escalates with each year’s lineup. This year’s unprecedented three-day program brought some history-making acts to the stage and sent concertgoers into fandom frenzy. It had been nearly seven years since Rage Against the Machine last threw their lyrical tirade and face-smacking riffs into a crowd, and four years since Bjork had graced the desert stage. Jesus and Mary Chain performed with a surprise guest, and Red Hot Chili Peppers heated up the cooling night sky. All in all, it was a star-studded weekend of musical revelries and some great artistic endeavors. We’ve captured the best and the worst performances on these pages.


Having been away from the limelight for several years, performing shows in her native Iceland and abroad, Bjork was received with an unprecedented but well-deserved welcome. Raving fans, ecstatic to see her perform, stood electrified. With her brass and string instrumentalists and vocalists in tow, she leapt across the stage in a hula skirt of colorful mesh strips and a corset decorated with images of bones outlining her figure. With a voice and stage presence as eccentric and singular as usual, she sang to an audience mouthing nearly every single word. Her appreciative ‘Thank you’ after every few songs, her broken English and heavy accent were nothing but adorable. Some made the trek just for this moment and any fear of disappointment dissipated after her opening song. It was history in the making, and not for the first (or last) time that weekend.

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16 April 2007: The Troubadour Hosts The Gossip

Posted by Christina on March 5, 2009

84_thegossip_l270606This is, by far, one of my absolute favorites. I was able to totally professionally finagle my way into interviewing The Gossip after a show they did at the Troubadour in LA. I coordinated with their tour manager, their publicist and record label to get a hold of them and that rush from succeeding in doing all that was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. They’re one of my absolute favorite bands and this was one of my favorite interview experiences next to interviewing Exene Cervenka.

New University Newspaper: The Troubadour Hosts the Gossip

The Troubadour Hosts The Gossip
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 40, Issue 24 | Apr 16 2007

It was the night of the ‘femme puissant’ at The Troubadour. The Gossip, a three-part ensemble vocal about their beliefs, played the headlining act; preceding them was the equally powerful Yo Majesty.

A powerhouse trio of MC vixens, they drove the crowd wild. Their excellent onstage chemistry and seamless melding into each others’ rhymes made for a flawless performance.

Beth Ditto, lead vocalist and band frontwoman, is a powerful stage presence and a true siren of her time. Like a torch singer on crazy fire, she sings syllables elongated with meandering notes coupling with the band’s melodies to drive their messages home. Her outfit was a bright turquoise tunic, electric pink tights and sunny yellow flats topped with jet black beehive and opalescent pearls holding an encapsulated white razor blade in the middle.

‘You know what sucks about tights?’ she confesses to the screaming crowd. ‘They make them too fucking small.’

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5 February 2007: Of Montreal Begins Tour at the El Rey

Posted by Christina on March 3, 2009

2666633896_f4dafa8044Most of the time I just happened to be going to the shows and asked to cover them for the newspaper. This was one such case and having a crossover happen between the newspaper and KUCI was amazing. I had been playing Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destoryer? since forever on The Motley Music Show and to see them live and be able to write about it was all kinds of awesome.

New University Newspaper: Of Montreal Begins Tour at the El Rey

Of Montreal Begins Tour at the El Rey
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 40, Issue 16 | Feb 05 2007

In the mid-1990s, a group of musicians came together under a mantra of creative expression and a style that would become specific to these bands alone. Through their similarly-themed music, this group formed The Elephant Six Collective from which several beloved sons and daughters of indie rock were born.

Starting as seedlings of this newly evolved and highly explosive scene, bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Apples in Stereo, Beulah, Elf Power, Of Montreal and others became underground rock stars as this revolutionary decade in music crept along.

These bands distinguished themselves by creating unconventional sounds and textures using otherwise normal instruments like guitar and bass. They also incorporate other eccentric instruments like the flugelhorn, singing saw, wandering genie, sitar and the magnus organ, to name a few. Their vocals are harmonically and melodically mature and precise.

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18 April 2005: The Killers Killed Two Nights at L.A.’s Wiltern

Posted by Christina on March 1, 2009

p4160008Concert reviews are one of my favorite things because seeing live bands is something I not only seek out for my own sake of having a good time, but they’re excellent ways to really getting to know a particular music act. Regardless of what people think of The Killers because of their latest efforts, their first album, Hot Fuss, was ridiculously amazing. It’s probably why their latter releases were so heavily criticized. Really, though, that’s a discussion far more lengthy than I’m allotted here and for some other venue.

New University Newspaper: The Killers Killed Two Nights at L.A.’s Wiltern

The Killers Killed Two Nights at L.A.’s Wiltern
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 38, Issue 24 | Apr 18 2005

The anticipation in the crowd is unimaginable. The opening band, Tegan and Sara, has just gotten off the stage and the crowd has been left wanting more. The Killers are to come on next. At the Wiltern LG in Los Angeles, The Killers are playing their first of three shows within two days. Now at their first show, everyone’s dying to hear them play.

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3 May 2004: Benefit Concert Souls 2004 Raises Awareness

Posted by Christina on February 28, 2009

systemThis piece was clearly very close to my heart and I think I wouldn’t have been able to have it come out the way it did (or even have it come out at all) had it not been an issue I identified with. I was able to gain direct access to System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian and conduct a personal interview that shed some light on this very important event. For the first time, a world-renown group of Armenians were taking it upon themselves to let their fans and the entire world know exactly what made them who they are. By focusing on the Armenian Genocide and holding a benefit concert for the cause of awareness, they let a lot of people know exactly what it meant to be an Armenian living in today’s world.

New University Newspaper: Benefit Concert Souls 2004 Raises Awareness

Benefit Concert Souls 2004 Raises Awareness
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 37, Issue 26 | May 03 2004

System of a Down took the legendary Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on April 24, and made the entire place like their own home. It was as if the band threw this huge event and each band member invited all of their friends, cousins and their friends, parents’ friends and pretty much the entire society living in the diasporas of Southern California.

The members of System of a Down – vocalist and front man Serj Tankian, guitarist Daron Malakian, bassist Shavo Odadjian and drummer John Dolmayan, all of Armenian descent – lost family during the Armenian Genocide. The band’s Souls 2004 Benefit Concert was set for April 24, Genocide Commemoration Day, for a reason.

‘The purpose of Souls 2004 is to further raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey) in 1915, and help facilitate its formal recognition as a genocide by the federal government,’ Tankian said.

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