(The Hollywood Bowl on July 23, 2006 before a Flaming Lips concert, with Os Mutantes on stage.)

Anybody who has class in Los Angeles these days (possibly an endangered population) knows that history, style, and performance all come together at the Hollywood Bowl better than at any other location in the southland, or California, for that matter. Or possibly the entire world. The nearly 18,000-seat Bowl has sat on prime real estate in the Hollywood Hills since flappers and Prohibition agents ruled the streets of old Hollywood. Since then, the esteemed venue has hosted concerts from the likes of The Beatles, James Brown, Simon & Garfunkel, Monty Python, countless legendary tenors and conductors, and a myriad of jazz masters.

During this FYM writer's three-year stint working as an usher at the Bowl, I witnessed performances (all the while busily working, of course) by artists such as Radiohead, The Rolling Stones, the aforementioned Simon & Garfunkel and James Brown (the latter was introduced to the stage by Thom Yorke), Arcade Fire (opening for David Byrne), Wilco (opening for R.E.M.), Björk, and many others. Clearly, the Hollywood Bowl is known for booking the most legendary, world-class, and headline-stealing musicians, but at the end of its 2010 season the venue is hosting a series of concerts featuring some of the absolute brightest names in indie rock, which is a surprising and refreshing change. The people down Los Feliz Blvd. at The Greek must be fuming with jealousy.


(Funny how a 4:22 music video can be better than the two Transformers movies combined.)

On August 29, as part of KCRW's World Festival, the Chemical Brothers turn the Bowl into the world's classiest rave venue as the British electronic duo are touring behind their new album, Further. Opening for them are the self-proclaimed only successful Jewish-Arab collaboration in history, Chromeo (whose video for new single "Don't Turn the Lights On" can be found by clicking HERE), and DFA Records one-man dance party YACHT. This show will guarantee to fill up the aisles with dancers, much to the disdain of ushers trying to put everyone in their rightful seat, but they'll get over it. I did.


A few weeks later, on September 18, French synth-pop rockers Phoenix continue their world domination with a show with the brilliantly chosen opening duo of Grizzly Bear and Girls. Phoenix first dominated car commercials, then mastered film trailer placement, and now they headline at the Hollywood Bowl. Maybe rock stars aren't dead quite yet? And what more can be said about Grizzly Bear that hasn't been said already? Perhaps the fact that people take for granted how the band can absolutely nail the complicated vocal 'solo' during "While You Wait For the Others" while performing live? Yeah, that'll work. And speaking of rock stars not being dead, Girls put out one of the best, most honest, and old fashioned yet still cutting-edge rock & roll albums in many years in 2009 with Album. You'd be foolish to not show up early for Girls.


(An excellent remix by So Shifty.)

For a band that might be in sudden need of $2,000,000, a headlining slot at the Hollywood Bowl is a great way for Vampire Weekend to not only make some well-deserved cash, but also establish themselves as one of the premiere bands in all of music today. Vampire Weekend started the promotional run for the chart-topping Contra by doing shows in tiny California towns like Pioneertown, Visalia, and Lafayette, so this Bowl concert is a perfect coda to a year-long tour. The Very Best, a collaboration between Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and British production team Radioclit, and whose album Warm Heart of Africa features contributions from Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig and M.I.A., add support. As do Baltimore duo Beach House, who are touring behind the best album of their blossoming career, Teen Dream.


Upon the release of bona-fide cult classic Slanted & Enchanted in 1992, if you were to have told Pavement leader Stephen Malkmus that in eighteen years his band would be headlining a show at the Hollywood Bowl, he probably would have slapped you in the face and recommended that you hand over the lo-fi drugs you were on. This concert will be, in all likelihood, the most indie and most lo-fi concert to ever grace the Bowl's stage. Pavement (gloriously reunited) are the indie rock band and were the band of the 1990's. Everything that was good and innovative and fun about the 90's can be found amongst Pavement's discography. One of the few other bands that make also make such a claim would be Sonic Youth, and luckily for everybody here they are opening for Pavement. Pavement has more bragging rights regarding the 90's because a few of Sonic Youth's masterpieces were released in the 1980's. On September 30, two of indie rock's most legendary and greatest bands share a stage. This is history! Los Angeles locals No Age, a.k.a. Sons of Sonic Youth, a.k.a. Sons of Pavement, a.k.a. today's young lo-fi masters complete this epic night.


(Heaviest guitars ever?)

If this truly is LCD Soundsystem's final tour, than that's just one of the countless number of reasons why this is a can't-miss show. LCD just released their third consecutive modern masterpiece, This Is Happening, and despite retirement rumors, the group seems to be nothing but full steam ahead. LCD shared the Bowl stage with Arcade Fire a few years ago, but on October 15 they will be front and center. Hot Chip will get everybody's dancing headbands warmed up, as they tour behind their new album, One Life Stand. Rounding out this world-class lineup is Brooklyn's contagiously danceable Sleigh Bells, featuring newfound indie heartthrob Alexis Krauss and guitarist/songwriter Derek E. Miller, whose decision to dump generic metal band Poison the Well and form Sleigh Bells would be an understatement to call "wise." The guitars on their excellent debut, Treats, are heavier than most metal bands' around today combined.

As a bonus, here's a picture of me in uniform at the Hollywood Bowl from several years ago (I'm on the right; not pictured are the classy maroon sweaters and unfortunately pictured is a poor choice of facial hair).

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