Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day’s Made In LA Fest 2019 happened at Golden Road Brewing in the very tippy top of Atwater Village, or what most people call Glendale.
An eclectic group of acts, from younger artists breaking through, to a few veteran all stars, put on a great show for what looked like several thousand attendees at the third-annual event. While this weekend was packed with festivals all over town, most notably The Cure curated Pasadena Daydream fest, and the Big Daddy Kane headlined West Adams Block Party put on by Delicious Vinyl/Pizza, the laid-back nature of Made In LA 2019, combined with the excellent site of the brewery, made this a fun alternative, without the three-to-four hour lines at the Rose Bowl.
Saturday we saw a smooth and refined set from Jasper Bones, a fiery and energetic set from New Orleans rapper Pell (Complete with “Fuck ICE” t-shirt), and an epic performance by local indie rock favorites Cold War Kids. CWK’s 18-ish song set’s highlights included new songs like “Fine Fine Fine” and “Calm Your Nerves”, “Dirt In My Eyes” “Love Is Mystical”, and a cover of George Michael’s “Freedom” which sort of got mixed in with “Something Is Not Right With Me” to finish off the show. It was the biggest crowd of the weekend and one of the best CWK shows we’ve seen.
Sunday started with the smooth pop stylings of Key LeBlanc, followed by the fiery explosion that is Lauren Ruth Ward. From her residency at the Echo and Echoplex to LA Pride to Made In LA Fest, Ward has been making a habit of blowing people’s minds with her incredibly powerful vocals, stellar bands, and her hippie/soul/classic vibe. A quick poll of the crowd showed a lot of new listeners and between sets the crowd murmur included a whole lot of “I can’t believe what I’m hearing, it’s amazing” type talk. So chalk up another victory for LRW.
Next up was Donavon Frankenreiter and his sunset set was another revelation, with incendiary guitar playing, insanely sick bass grooves, and some of the greatest harmonica solos ever, with a stunning orange sky in the background. A sing along at the end of the set even got a member of the audience on stage to sing and the woman was very excited and I think we were all a little worried how this was going to go but it all worked out great! A little drama, a little on edge there for a minute, but then success!
Phantom Planet! Aside from Cold War Kids and Donavon this was the other big draw for the fest and wow they did not disappoint. Playing a dozen or so song set with a few guests along the way, including former Panic At The Disco-er Ryan Ross, they banged out hit after hit with some crowd surfing and some newer songs and hilarity when somehow the intro to “California” got messed up. After dealing with the crowd yelling “California” at them between every song it was the icing on a fun nostalgia cake. Mmmmmmmm… nostalgia.
The fest wrapped up with country artists Rob Leines and while the crowd had thinned significantly after Phantom Planet he and his trio still put on a fun country music romp. You could see people who had headed for the exit turning around and coming back to listen and it was an impressive size crowd there by the end. The 10-minute turn around between sets really helped out there. Good job everyone involved.
So all in all it was a great weekend, fun games were all around, food trucks and wood fire pizzas were aplenty, and so much beer. With a weekend full of music fest/party options all over town this one was a big win for Golden Road.
COLD WAR KIDS:
LAUREN RUTH WARD: