Before Capital Cities topped the U.S. alternative rock charts and hit No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the trumpet blasts of their ubiquitous KROQ hit “Safe and Sound,” they played the Abbot Kinney Festival.

“The Abbot Kinney Festival is special to us, because that’s where I discovered a skinny 20-year old trumpet prodigy named Spencer Ludwig,” singer-songwriter-keyboardist Sebu Simonian, a cofounder of the band, wrote The Argonaut earlier this year.

“Capital Cities played on a tiny side stage at the Abbot Kinney Festival in 2011, our first ever festival gig. Our time slot was 11:30 a.m., super early, and yet we weren’t even the first band of the day,” Simonian continued. “There was an act on the same stage that went on just before us, and I was lucky enough to catch their set. They were an experimental loungey indie-jazz outfit. Their trumpeter arrived late and halfway through the show jumped on stage and brought his band’s set to life. I found and approached Spencer later and asked him to join Capital Cities.”

If you can’t say you saw them when, see them now. Rounding third on a world tour, Capital Cities performs at 8:30 p.m. tonight and Friday at The Fonda Theatre, 6126 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Call (323) 464-6269 or visit
— Joe Piasecki