Sunday, May 10, 2015

AIR + STYLE 2015: Day 1

Written By Jessica Klausing

For the first time, AIR + STYLE brought big air, snow and music to Pasadena's Rose Bowl. Hosted by Shaun White, This two day festival featured world elite snowboarders and skiers qualified from the Innsbruck and Beijing events. This was also the first time skiing was added the lineup where 16 professional skiers competed on the Big Air Jump.

Despite the cold weather and rain showers, the competitions were completed with more than 40,000 spectators in attendance!

Because this is a music blog, I am not going to cover the athletics.

 For the results and additional information check out the AIR+STYLE main page.

In addition to the competition, AIR + STYLE brought 18 incredible bands performing over two stages. I only attended Day 1 so that's all I will cover. The Saturday lineup consisted of: Bad Things, Phantogram, Diplo, Kendrick Lamar, Teenage Wrist, In the Valley Below, Metz, The Black Lips, and Portugal The Man.

Below are my favorite songs from each of these bands. Enjoy!

Bad Things

 These guys were the first act of the day. This is an American Synthrock band that features professional snowboarder and skateboarder Shaun White on lead guitar. I didn't think at first I was gonna dig it. Despite White's athletic celebrity status, this band has some songs worth checking out. "Caught Inside" stands out among their predominant garage band sound. This song is smooth with a nice steady drum beat. The group also includes lead vocalist Davis LeDuke, bassist and former Augustana member Jared Palomar, guitarist Anthony Sanudo and the lovely Lena Zawaideh on drums and vocals.


This band was my favorite of the day! Their music is catchy, chill and motivating. What's not to love? Sarah Barthel can belt out the pop vocals like nobody's business! It's hard to find a bad song out of their catalog, but "Fall in Love" is their ultimate best in my opinion. Barthel's voice just pulls you into a deep hypnotic spell with no chance of ever coming back. Seriously, I can't stop playing this song on repeat.


Electronic music lovers unite! This American DJ is usually seen with his associated act, Skrillex, or as the duo are better known as Jack U. This electronic dance music (EDM) sound can be described as Dubstep. Honestly, I am not much of a fan to Dubstep. I personally prefer the more traditional House or relaxing Trance. "Revolution" is one of the exceptions to the rule for me. It's upbeat and fun, which is the whole point to EDM, right?


                                         Teenage Wrist

When it comes to music I'm genuinely a sucker for 90's garage and indie sounds. So, I was quite pleased to discover Teenage Wrist. In a world full of autotune it's pleasant to get back to the simpler sound of sweet nostalgia. Not a whole lot of information can be found other than their Facebook and Twitter accounts. What we do know is the band is a collaborative side project that consists of Kamtin Mohager (The Chain Gang of 1974), Marshall Gallagher (Swing Hero) and Anthony Salazar. "Slide Away" is the second single off the band's forthcoming EP. According to the band, this song is a sample of what we can expect for future releases. If that is true, then I don't think music lovers will be disappointed.

 In The Valley Below

Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob blend the beautiful harmony that is Americana, blues and synth pop. Their sound is almost a dead ringer in the style of Peter Bjohn and Jon Jon. This dynamic duo has already gained attention by European alternative radio. "Peaches" is the opening song on the their debut album The Belt. It's a fitting pick to give listeners an introduction into Gail and Jacob's synchronized chemistry.  


This Canadian post punk trio are a real punch to the gut. If you are not too much into the heavy metal scene then you might have a hard time listening to their new stuff. It is heavier, darker and much more sloppier. Those that love heavy distortion, screeching vocals with growling guitar riffs may appreciate "Wet Blanket" or "The Swimmer." My pick is the somewhat tamer "Spit You Out." This song has the right amount of feedback in which can almost resemble Nirvana.

The Black Lips

The Black Lips are a self described "flower punk" garage band. Basically, it's another term for psychedelic rock. Despite their provocative stage antics, their sound has a 60's British rock vibe. Granted a demented 60's sound but the lyrics are quite catchy. "Bad Kids" is one of those dark songs that you can't help but sing along.

Portugal The Man

Portugal The Man is an American rock band that hails from Wasilla, Alaska. Most of their songs have a quirky synth sound to them while under toning symbolism for the darkness of human nature. I like "Sleep Forever." That song has a beautiful "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis like eloquence to it. However, "Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue" receives the honorable mention for its deliciously dark combination of bells and falsetto vocals.

Kendrick Lamar

Hip Hop artist Kendrick Lamar closed the AIR + STYLE Day 1 as the last performance of the night. And what a fun way to close the festivities indeed.  Lamar brings a fresh sense of swag to west coast hip hop. His arty self expressions give hip hop a much needed positive look on life. "I" is perhaps the best example of that point. The song is a reminder to keep happy and be blessed in things that you have despite the bad times.

Plus the line "These days of frustration keep ya'll in tucking rotation" is a real doozy. It gets stuck in your head for days!

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