Pop & Hiss
The L.A. Times music blog
Jimi Jamison, former lead singer of Survivor, dead at 63

Jimi Jamison, the former lead singer for the rock bands Cobra and Survivor, died Sunday, his booking agent Sally Irwin confirmed to the Los Angeles Times. 

Jamison died of a heart attack at his home in Memphis, Tenn., Irwin said. He was 63.

Jamison was the lead singer for Survivor from the mid-to-late 1980s, creating such hits as "Burning Heart" from "Rocky IV" and "The Moment of Truth" from "The Karate Kid."

Jamison joined the group at the height of its popularity -- the band having just released "Eye of the Tiger" from "Rocky III" -- after former lead singer David Bickler left the group because of voice issues.

In a 1985 interview with The Times, Jamison said that following such a monster hit wasn't easy.

"After 'Eye of the Tiger,' the fans wanted an album full of songs like 'Eye of the Tiger,' " said Jamison, who was not with the band when its second album, "Caught in the Game," was released in 1983 to little success. "An average or a good album wouldn't be enough. The band needed a...

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Kanye West goes overtime at Made in America

Kanye West wore several intimidating, face-obscuring masks during his headlining set at the Budweiser Made in America festival on Sunday, but underneath each of them, he told fans, was a good guy.

“People say that I’m a bad person,” West said through a red patterned mask that covered his entire face, soon adding: "I’m up here trying to be creative. I’m not trying to hurt anyone, and I’m not going to let anyone hurt me.”

West proved he's not only famous enough to lead about 34,000 fans through a hit parade of singles, but also bold enough to do so in jewel-studded facial gear while thrashing around alone onstage -- and to go beyond the 11 p.m. time limit set for Made in America's debut in increasingly densely populated downtown L.A. (A representative for Mayor Eric Garcetti's office confirmed Monday that Live Nation would pick up the tab for extra costs such as police overtime but would not be fined for the closing set, which ran until about 11:30 p.m.)

West was practically on the steps...

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Made in America: Kanye West declares intentions, executes perfectly

Kanye West played the foot of City Hall in downtown Los Angeles -- there's something you don't see every day. Especially while wearing a high-art chain mail mask that covered his entire head, making him look like Daft Punk's arch-nemesis.

Closing out the first Los Angeles installment of the Made in America festival on Sunday night with a full set of his increasingly formidable stack of classics, West was precise, focused and solid. The Chicago-raised producer, rapper and iconoclast didn't ramble, didn't go on any tirades. 

Aside from a direct, serious explanation on his artistic intentions in the shadow of obsessive tabloid attention, he let his work do the explaining with a set that doubled the number of tracks he did the night before in Philadelphia.

"For 10 years now I've had a clique," said West, introducing his "Clique" while a helicopter buzzed overhead. "Everybody that ever supported me, everybody that ever defended me, everybody in the audience right now. [Huge cheers.] And I...

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Made in America live in L.A.: Kanye West, Imagine Dragons, more
Made in America Philadelphia: Festival temporarily stalled by rain

As festival-goers at the Los Angeles edition of the Budweiser Made in America fest sought relief from the heat Sunday, the Philadelphia edition of the two-day concert had to be temporarily halted due to severe weather.

Two songs into Spoon’s 6 p.m. set,  organizers were forced to clear the festival at the city’s historic Benjamin Franklin Parkway due to continued rain.

But the delay was brief. An hour after evacuating festival grounds, gates were reopened and guests were ushered back in.

“The City of Philadelphia, Roc Nation, Live Nation along with Budweiser have been notified that the weather is moving out of the area and doors are reopening.  People should return calmly to the nearest entrance.  Programming will resume shortly,” Live Nation said in a statement.

Bands that were halted were scheduled to resume, according to Live Nation.

“We're working hard to make up for Mother Nature and get the Budweiser Made in America party started again,” the festival’s official Twitter account...

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Made in America festival: 5 things we learned from Day 1

The first day of the Made in America festival featured a diverse slate of acts (Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, Capital Cities), pounding heat, snarled lines aplenty, busy porta johns, shirtless bros, girls in floppy hats and everything else that comes with a daylong music festival.

But the concert -- the brainchild of rap mogul Shawn “Jay Z” Carter -- is a risky experiment that’s undoubtedly being closely monitored during its Labor Day weekend run.

It’s the first paid event at the 2-year-old Grand Park, which stretches between City Hall and the Music Center, and Day One put all those festival logistics -- parking, traffic flow amid street closures, crowd control, etc. -- to the test.

Here are five things we learned from the first day of Made in America.

1. Where is everything? Grand Park is a lush yet narrow space that’s spread across several blocks. The multitiered park is easy to navigate when it's just the local farmer’s market. But with three stages, a skate park, 40 food trucks...

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Made in America L.A.: Day 1 sizzles, Top Dawg claims throne

During the first day of the Made in America festival, which had its Los Angeles debut in Grand Park this weekend, a hot and cloudless Saturday sunburned a lot of music fans before the Cali breeze drifted in at dusk to cool the crowd and relax the vibe. 

The inaugural L.A. festival, which runs through Sunday night, drew an ocean of fans that stretched the event's infrastructure. Happy-go-lucky troopers had to be willing to endure long lines, poorly situated facilities and little shelter from the sun.

Building on the success of the East Coast version born in Philadelphia in 2012, the L.A. Made in America's first day featured a batch of hitmakers including Afrojack, Imagine Dragons, L.A.'s thriving Top Dawg Entertainment roster (Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and others) and Australian "Fancy" rapper Iggy Azalea.

Featuring 20-plus acts on three stages, two of which sat side by side along Spring Street beneath City Hall and the other a slog up through chaotic clusters of revelers,...

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Made in America Festival makes debut at downtown L.A.'s Grand Park

"Hello, Los Angeles," said Metric lead singer Emily Haines near the end of the band's second song on the city's first day of the Budweiser Made in America Festival. Her next words were far more ominous: "They're going to eat me alive, if I stumble."

She wasn't singing about the two-day music festival that transformed the Civic Center area, but city planners are keeping a watchful eye on the event, which was fast-tracked by Mayor Eric Garcetti since its announcement in April. Made in America is the biggest close-up yet on the downtown location, a recreational space with a just-opened area nearby, still partly covered in construction dirt.

Minutes before the festival gates opened, workers were hurrying to ready the grounds surrounding downtown L.A.'s Grand Park. The festival is the first-ever paid event at the 2-year-old park, which stretches between City Hall and the Music Center.

All of the last-minute prep was to ensure that Grand Park was ready for an expected crowd of 35,000 or more...

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Budweiser Made in America fest: A scorching day, a barrage of branding

Let's all raise a glass to the guy with a giant "It's Miller Time" tattoo at the first L.A. edition of Budweiser's Made in America music festival. 

That fan's lonely back piece was a riposte against the branding onslaught of Grand Park's largest private for-profit music festival yet. Over the first half of Saturday afternoon, artists such as Iggy Azalea, YG and Capital Cities did their best to rile the crowd despite a shadeless heat that hit nearly 90 degrees.

But fans were left in a funny predicament: They were at a concert venue on public land at the seat of government and the common interest, yet without a single sight line that led away from a beer logo. 

Suspicions that catastrophe would somehow strike - via under-attendance, gate crashers or drunkenness - were overblown. On Saturday afternoon, the mood was as peaceful as a mainstream beer-branded music festival could be.

Fans seemed respectful of the pristine Grand Park venue, save for the one guy climbing the rafters of a shaded...

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Made in America festival looks to go beyond music

In the next few hours, tens of thousands of fans will descend on Grand Park for the first day of the Made in America festival.

The two-day event that could attract up to 50,000 fans during the Labor Day weekend isn’t just an experiment for downtown, which has never hosted an event of this scale. It's also a test for the logistics of the Jay Z-curated festival itself.

With acts playing at the inaugural L.A. edition and in Philly, which is hosting its third Made in America this weekend, this event marks the first music festival to be anchored in two cities at the same time.

“We were very happy with what we accomplished in 2012, and [last year] we saw some tremendous increases in the popularity of the festival from those who had attended and the livestream numbers,” said Mike Thompson, brand manager for main festival sponsor Budweiser. “What we wanted to do was bring a similar kind of experience to the West Coast.”

While fans pack Grand Park to see acts like Imagine Dragons, Iggy Azalea,...

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Music community starts challenge campaign benefiting MusiCares

Done your ice-bucket challenge? Well, grab a favorite album and try the just-launched MusiCares Challenge.

Music publisher Tom DeSavia got the idea for a charitable challenge targeted to the music community and benefiting the Grammy Foundation’s MusiCares program, which helps musicians in need.

The idea is that rather than be deluge in near-freezing water, musicians and music fans should take a photo of themselves holding a favorite LP ("one that has made or makes your life better," DeSavia says), donate $5 or more to MusiCares and post the photo to social media using the hashtag #MusiCaresChallenge. Then challenge three friends, or any of the musicians involved in the chosen album, to do the same.

So far, participants include singer-songwriter Sam Phillips, who is photographed with a copy of “The Best of Slim Harpo,” Joe Henry (Thelonious Monk's "Criss-Cross"), Rhett Miller (David Bowie's "ChangesTwo"), Kevin Griffin (Neil Young’s “Harvest”), Richard Edwards of Margot & the Nuclear So...

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Skrillex, Diplo and Kiesza release new Jack U track 'Take U There'

With their new project Jack U, producers Skrillex and Diplo set out to purposefully make "the most annoying sounds ever." Now fans can judge for themselves if they met those lofty aspirations.

The DJ duo debuted a new track "Take U There" at Diplo's Mad Decent Block Party in Brooklyn on Aug. 9. The singer Kiesza joined them live to perform the new tune.

Now the group has released a live recording of the new track on its official Soundcloud. For those who didn't catch the tune's debut in New York, it certainly makes good on those early promises to be party music that's as dumb as a sack of rocks.

The song's rhythms veer from a woodblock clatter that sounds not-unlike "Teach Me How to Dougie," interspersed with more traditional house diva vocals and big EDM drum buildups. Listen to it here

The duo just performed in the L.A. area at Hard Summer, where they headlined alongside a slate of EDM and hip-hop acts like Tiesto, Disclosure and A$AP Mob. If this track is any indication, their...

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