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KjEE Summer Round Up Fills Santa Barbara Bowl

Matthew Blankenship Jr. and Michela Francesca Fossati-Bellani |
June 6, 2011 | 5:43 p.m. PDT


Santa Barbara modern rock radio station 92.9 KjEE packed in droves of faithful fans into the Santa Barbara Bowl to witness five raucous performances by some

Björn Yttling (Photo by Michela Francesca Fossati-Bellani)
Björn Yttling (Photo by Michela Francesca Fossati-Bellani)
of today’s finest bands at their annual Summer Round-Up on Friday.

The sun was out and the first notes of summer rang through the air as young up-and-comers Sleeper Agent took the stage for the opening set at 4pm.

The crowd for the most part was either still in the plaza hydrating or gradually trickling in to their seats and the pit area, but the fresh-faced band exploded with energy as if to a sold-out stadium.
Singer Alex Kandel bristled with a compelling introverted energy, bolstered by her powerful voice performing songs such as the creepy “Get It Daddy” about a child abuser.

Sleeper Agent is a band replete with potential, one to keep on the radar as they continue to grow their talents and fan base.

Next up at the Summer Round-Up were indie pop favorites Foster the People, best known for their much-blogged-about hit “Pumped Up Kicks”. The Los Angeles natives have developed quite a reputation for themselves for an impressive and engaging live show, garnered from buzzworthy appearances at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

Lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mark Foster led the charge with his affected voice as he and his band mates scurried from synth to drum pad to guitar and otherwise, with Mark Pontius’ floor tom getting knocked over mid-set in the midst of the fray.The crowd sang-along at times, but despite the effort being exerted onstage the performance was lacking, perhaps owing to exhaustion from the nearly non-stop touring the band has undergone thus far.

A recent fixture in the Los Angeles area of late, Swedish trio Peter Bjorn & John took the Bowl by storm with a whirlwind of energy and impeccable showmanship. Their chemistry and organic onstage interactions were easy to attach to, and the crowd responded to it—even attempting to whistle along to PB&J hit “Young Folks”, which is no easy task—as the band exhibited their signature Scandinavian politeness and gratitude, ever-appreciative of their level of success.

The sun began to wane as sleepily and lizard-like Atlanta, Georgia natives Manchester Orchestra stepped up in front of the blossoming crowd; front man Andy Hull opening with the sounds of a lullaby that abruptly and violently careened off of a tall cliff to the delight of the Santa Barbara faithful.

Playing many new tracks fresh off their month-old epic concept album “Simple Math”, Manchester Orchestra stood as a highlight of the entire event, showcasing a maturity and purpose taking the concertgoers for a well-engineered rollercoaster ride as night fell over the Bowl.

To the disappointment of many, Lykke Li cancelled her 7pm show due to sickness. Saving the day was Cage the Elephant. Known for their live presence, the Bowling Green natives lived up to their reputation and whipped the crowd into frenzy.

Featuring material off their new album “Thank You, Happy Birthday” as well as hits like “Shake Me Down” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”, they sent the crowd home satisfied from a long day of fantastic performances in the Santa Barbara sun.

Reach Michela Francesca Fossati-Bellani here



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