Category Archives: Levitt Artists

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Hailing from their hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, members of electronic rock band Kinky have consistently pushed the boundaries of the Mexican pop music scene, earning worldwide acclaim and a devoted fan base. Emerging from the underground Monterrey scene of the 1990s, Kinky members Gilberto Cerezo, Ulises Lozano, and Carlos Chairez brought their diverse musical backgrounds together to create their own eclectic sound, distinguishing themselves from mainstream pop, which at the time was dominated mostly by Mexican folk music. Drummer Omar Gongora and bassist Cesar Pliego later joined the band, turning the trio into a five-piece group. Kinky gained international recognition after performing at Latin Alternative Music Conference’s (LAMC) Battle of Bands in New York City in 2000. The musicians’ vibrant energy caught the attention of British producer Chris Allison (Coldplay, the Beta Band, Fila Brazilia), who went on to release the band’s self-titled debut album, Kinky (2002), on his Sonic360 label. The album received rave reviews and a Nissan Altima commercial spot, breaking them out of their underground desert music scene to reach international success.

Today, Kinky has continued to build its global following, and its music has been featured widely from commercials to the FIFA 2006 video game to TV shows such as Nip/Tuck, Gossip Girl and Dexter, to name a few. True to their experimental spirit, Kinky’s follow up albums reveal a thoughtful progression in the band’s style, as its members sought out fresh surroundings to nurture their ideas. For the production of its second release, Atlas (2003), Kinky traveled to an isolated ranch in Quitana Roo, Mexico, surrounded by nothing but wildlife and nature. The band finished up the rest of the album in the more urban environment of Los Angeles, cutting back on electronics and focusing on a more raw rock sound. Kinky recorded their third album, Reina (2006) in a Southern Californian mountain cabin. Their fourth and most recent album, Barracuda, was released in 2008 – lead singer Gil Cerezos describes it as “the dark side of Kinky.”

In almost 20 years since Kinky’s conception, the once underground group has infiltrated and challenged mainstream pop music; they’ve appeared on NPR’s Studio 4A, earned several MTV Music Award nominations and have worked with music greats such as producers Howie Weinberg (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, U2), Dust Brother John King (Beck, Rolling Stones, Beastie Boys) and Money Mark (Beastie Boys). Kinky’s palpable dynamism and drive attract fans to festivals and shows worldwide. Kinky’s innovative and evolving sound is difficult to label, and it’s clear the band intends to keep it that way.

 

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Powerhouse vocalist Dana Fuchs brings her raspy blues-rock vocals to Levitt AMP Ocala tomorrow night. The edgy singer/songwriter is known and beloved for her electric stage presence and heartfelt, compelling albums, many of which are dedicated to late loved ones. Born in New Jersey and raised in Wildwood, Fla.—where she performed as a child in a Baptist Choir—Fuchs always knew she wanted to broaden her horizons and make the leap to The Big Apple. She made her dream a reality when she packed her bags and moved to New York City at 19 to pursue a singing career. It was there that she formed and fronted the soulful, rocking Dana Fuchs Band, which gained a reputation as one of the best blues acts in the city’s music scene.

Today, audiences might recognize this multitalented artist’s strong and distinctive voice from her leading roles in the off-Broadway tribute musical, Love, Janis, and the Golden Globe-nominated film, Across the Universe (2007). Continue reading

We’re thrilled to announce that The Suffers, an 8-member band hailing from Houston who blend musical influences as diverse as rock, R&B, country and reggae into a dynamic sound they’ve coined “Gulf Coast Soul,” will headline the 2017 Levitt National Tour. Now in its third year and created to celebrate the collective impact of the Levitt network of music venues in communities across the country, the 2017 Levitt National Tour will stop in six Levitt cities this July and August—Los Angeles; Memphis; Arlington, Texas; Denver; Bethlehem, Pa.; and Dayton, Ohio (home to a future Levitt Pavilion). This summer’s tour will invite Levitt audiences to experience these rising stars and critical darlings, hailed for their infectious rhythm and horns section mixing seamlessly with the sultry vocals of singer Kam Franklin. Continue reading

Jimmy Webb performing at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles in 2013

After five decades of writing some of pop’s most iconic songs, Jimmy Webb is not showing signs of slowing down. The songwriter has become a book author, currently touring America to promote his just-released memoir, The Cake and The Rain, a title inspired by lyrics from the hit 1968 song he penned (and was first recorded by Richard Harris), “MacArthur Park.” We at Levitt know the song well—Webb has performed it twice (in 2013 and 2016) at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles, which sits in the very park that inspired the ballad!

Webb’s prolific career writing storytelling lyrics about the American experience has earned him the apt nickname of “America’s Songwriter,” with songs including the hits “Galveston” (1969) and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (1967). You’ve likely heard one of the thousands of records that feature his songs, from some of the country’s biggest acts of the 20th century like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Nina Simone, Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer.

To celebrate Webb’s legacy as he tours the country, here are five fun facts you might not have known about the living legend. Continue reading

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Barbara Morrison performing at Levitt Pavilion Pasadena in 2014

This month, we’re listening to wailing saxophones, mesmerizing piano arpeggios and groovy drum rhythms. That’s right—we’ve got jazz on our minds and in our ears as Jazz Appreciation Month kicks off! Influenced by blues music and other musical styles originating in African American communities, the jazz genre started permeating dance clubs and bars in the early 20th century, and with the venues’ increased popularity during the prohibition era, the Jazz Age of the 1920s was born. Since then, the original swinging form of jazz has expanded into numerous subgenres, from bebop to Latin Jazz, tapping into the improvisational talents of musicians of all kinds.

Levitt venues have seen many a jazz artist grace their stages, each with a unique take on this rich genre. Some of these acts have even performed alongside jazz’s most influential musicians and are major players in their own right, having made significant contributions to the genre. While it’s impossible to choose our favorite jazz acts, here are four to start with—all of whom played Levitt stages over the years! Continue reading


Last week, we watched Vanessa Ferguson impress judges on NBC’s “The Voice” with her powerful rendition of “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers. The singing competition show is all about discovering new talent in America, but some Levitteers from Ferguson’s hometown of Greensboro, N.C., may recognize her voice from last year’s Levitt AMP Greensboro Music Series, where she performed with the Larry Draughn Music Group.

Ferguson—who is now on R&B singer-songwriter Alicia Keys’ team—reminds us of the many Levitt performers who have previously competed on widely popular reality talent shows. In past blog posts, we’ve featured “America’s Got Talent” contestants Benton Blount (Levitt AMP Jacksonville 2016) and Jimmy Rose (Levitt AMP Middlesboro 2015), as well as “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks (Levitt AMP Midvale 2016) as part of our Spotlight Series on artists playing upcoming Levitt concerts. Today, we look back on a few of the countless televised performances by other artists who have performed on Levitt stages and dared to sing in front of millions of viewers across America. Continue reading


Last week we celebrated International Women’s Day by spotlighting a few of our favorite female artists, including several who’ve performed on Levitt stages. With Women’s History Month still in full swing, today we’re turning our attention to four more talented ladies. Blame Sally—an all-female collaboration of San Francisco-based singer-songwriters—is no stranger to Levitt stages. Since forming in 2000, the group has moved audiences across the globe with their rich harmonies, eclectic folk/pop/Americana instrumentation (from stompboxes to fiddles) and heartfelt performances—including at Levitt pavilions in Arlington, Texas (2011, 2009) and Pasadena Calif. (2014, 2010). Continue reading

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Over the past eight years, Chicano Batman has gained a loyal following of Los Angeles fans through performing across their home region of Southern California—including at Levitt Pavilion Pasadena (2013). With the their latest album Freedom Is Free released just last Friday, however, music critics anticipate that the band and their SoCal-born-and-bred sound are ready to break out on a national scale. Continue reading

International Women's Day Playlist Artists

Artists pictured above (from left to right, top to bottom): Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, La Santa Cecilia, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Carla Bruni, Abigail Washburn, Sierra Full, Helen Reddy and Chaka Khan.

Today is International Women’s Day—a day created in the early 1900s that calls upon us to honor the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe. It is a day of reflection and celebration of past, present and future progress in the area of women’s rights.
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