Making Music Matter

Making Music Matter

Grouplove, HoneyHoney, Elaine Faye, Dengue Fever and Dustbowl Revival are just some of the don’t-miss acts performing at the Make Music Pasadena festival Saturday

By Bliss 06/14/2012

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Need proof that summer’s here? Look no farther than Pasadena Saturday, when the town will be alive with music courtesy of the 5th Annual Make Music Pasadena festival. Free to the public and open to all ages, it has become one of greater LA’s splashier musical happenings.
There will be well over 100 acts performing throughout the day at more than 30 venues and stages across the Crown City. Dam Funk, Grouplove, Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno, KCRW DJ Jason Bentley, helium-voiced Canadian electro-popper Grimes, Pasadena rockers Ozma and Americana duo HoneyHoney are among the headliners marking the diversity of this year’s fest.
The lineup boasts more local flavor this year, from returning crowd-pleasers Dengue Fever, Dustbowl Revival, La Santa Cecilia, Robotanists and Jessica Fichot to LA indie-rock stalwarts Kind Hearts & Coronets, Correatown, Torches and One Trick Pony to deejay spins from Kevin Bronson and Dr. Rif Raff.
There will also be jazzy workouts by the Snake Charmer Ensemble, Elliott Caine Quintet and Roger Espinoza & Café Fuego and beat-heavy sets from Tribal Theory, dysFUNKtional, Jedi Beatz and Kwency Jones, plus family-friendly fare from the Johnny Mercer Children’s Choir and Los Angeles Children’s Chorus.
All of that adds up to an event that not only makes music accessible to anyone who takes the time to listen, it also makes it matter by involving community artists and venues.
Grouplove, who will close out the day on the Old Pasadena Indie Rock stage, represent a greater emphasis this year on up-and-coming bands. Still riding the buzz from their addictive “Tongue Tied” single being featured in a recent iPod commercial, the charmingly bohemian ensemble is high on Saturday’s list of don’t-miss bands.
And if you like your pop flavored with gothic symbolism and dark humor, then be sure to check out HoneyHoney’s set at the Levitt Pavilion. Guitarist Ben Jaffe unobtrusively shadows violinist/banjoist Suzanne Santo’s sweetly gritty vocals, and their “LA River” is as alluring as it is disquieting: “Thought I saw a body in the weeds/ Oh, but I love my new home/ Listen to the big city sound/ Watching that LA River roll down by the trains past Chinatown.”
Also not to be missed: guitar-strumming songstress Elaine Faye, whose single “Mama’s Lessons” makes good on the promise hinted at on her self-titled 2011 EP. A Musicians Institute graduate, Faye will be sponsored by the school on the Mercantile Alley stage. Her expressive voice is equally reminiscent of Amy Winehouse and India.Arie, but there is nothing derivative about her sound or style. Whether she’s covering Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” or confessing her woes with her self-empowerment anthem “Get Back Up,” the folky twist she puts on soul-pop is refreshing. n

Make Music Pasadena kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday with performances continuing throughout the day and evening. Admission is free. For a detailed schedule of performers and more festival info, visit makemusicpasadena.org.

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