This Seattle trio created a storm at The Satellite Thursday night. As a fan of their album, Shiver + Shake, I was expecting a good rock show, but I was not quite expecting the machine that plowed through song after song with such intense ferocity and impressive display of musicianship. Barely any talking was done throughout the set. The band let the music speak for itself. Singer/guitarist, Joel Schneider, standing off to the side, evoked a bit of a Cold War Kids vibe, taking the mood from quiet to banging with the perfect punctuation of howls and growls. Bassist, Cody Votolato, epitomized the rocker vibe. At one point during the set, he accidently knocked over a cymbal from the drum set, but instead of backing away he embraced the momentum, disrupting the kit further adding emphasis to an already hard hitting song. Holding it all down center stage was drummer, Andy Lum, a beast in human form driving the beats with a precision and strength that made it hard to look away. I must say, it is always a treat when a drummer is more visible on the stage.
What is most impressive to me about this band is their ability to create “moments”. Tonal shifts mid-song, mini-instrumental solos, and catchy rifts are trademarks of any My Goodness song, giving them movement and making them memorable. It is impossible to get bored at a My Goodness show. See them live and suddenly the band’s name makes perfect sense. My Goodness indeed!
Here’s the first My Goodness song I heard and still one of my favorites:
I’m happy to say that one of my first sets of the New Year belonged to rocker’s 8MM. 8MM is primarily husband and wife due of Sean and Juliette Beavan. Sean brings the rock pedigree and versatile guitar and Juliette brings the voice, the sparkle, and the charm. They were joined by a full band that included guest guitarist Johnny Radtke (Filter, Kill Hannah). All together, they produced sexy, dance-inducing beats, seducing the room towards the stage for a night not soon forgotten.
They began their show with my favorite 8MM tune, the gutsy “Kin”. They had a seven song set which also included the country tinged, “Between The Devil and Two Black Hearts”, the hip moving “Around the Sun”, and ended with the more progressive “Give It Up” featuring Sean on vocals. The band, per usual, felt very comfortable on the stage, interacting with each other and the audience. Juliette kept the crowd invested as Sean took his “tuning breaks” and took the time to wish everyone a Happy New Year. The good times were felt all around. 8MM fills this seeming void these days of straight up rock music. They prove that rock can still feel relevant, be versatile, and is, at least in my opinion, the go-to genre for a fun time.
For more on 8MM, check out their website. For musical recommendations, their EP, Between The Devil and Two Black Hearts is my favorite, but they also have some pretty nifty remixes available for those more included to that sort of thing. No shows on the horizon, but we’ll be sure to keep tabs on the band for our concert calendars.
I only knew Allison Iraheta as the young red haired belter from one of my favorite seasons of American Idol. These days she’s rocking out with her band, Halo Circus who are doing an October Residency at The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. Last Friday night she ignited the stage with her now electric pink hair, fun songs, and fiery attitude.
Halo Circus is a rock band, but they know how to bring it down before going full tilt. Allison can belt, but her voice has a jazzy quality to it, giving it a texture in its quieter moments that really gives the band its distinct mark. This was evident from their first tune, “Nothing At All” with its dramatic instrumental opening and seductive off-tempo vocal rhythms.
photo by Peter Figen
The thing that stands out most about Halo Circus is the passion that permeates every note of every song. Allison, in particular, is feeling it down to her fingertips and it’s always a pleasure to see a song just envelope its singer. I’m not overly familiar with Spanish, but thanks to the expressive Iraheta, I had no trouble understanding what the Spanish song, “Verdad”, was supposed to be about.
Perhaps my favorite song of the night was the ballad, “Guns in Our Hands”. I love how Allison’s voice can show so much power and so much restraint all at the same time. Other highlights were the explosive Duran Duran cover of “Do You Believe In Shame” and powerful closer “Band Aid”.
Allison mentioned that she wanted the night to be fun and that reflected not only in the band onstage, but in the audience that seemed full of fans who knew many of the words to the songs. They will certainly be back for more. You have two more chances to join them tonight and next Friday (the 17th) at 9pm. Hotel Café. Be there!
Here’s a Halo Circus music video for their song, “Out of Love”
Austin duo, Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke (AKA Penny & Sparrow) played their first show in Los Angeles Sunday night at The Hotel Cafe. As it was their first LA show, they were unaware of the Angeleno propensity to arrive “fashionably late” to any event and somewhat nervously joked that they were preparing to play a show for four people; their wives, the bartender, and the sound guy. The concern proved unnecessary as by the time they finished their first song, the rousing “Bread and Bleeding”, the room was filling out with fans and music lovers eager to get their fix.
For the uninitiated, Penny & Sparrow craft slow and beautiful folk tunes, proving that sometimes less is definitely more. Andy takes lead with a compelling voice that becomes haunting especially in its lower registers on songs like “Honest Wage”. Kyle supports with guitar and vocals, threading harmonies in and out of songs adding that elevating emotional punch.
The pleasant surprise of the night was not the beauty of the songs (that’s evident by listening to the record), but the humor and the warmth that filled the room as the duo played. From the heart-stopping a capella “Fantine” to their “one foot-stomping tune”, “Brothers”, the two singers transformed the energy of the bar to something more akin to a living room hang out. You knew they had the room when they prefaced their song “Stoic” with a comment about how the song contained everything you don’t want to say in an argument with your wife and as they sang the melancholy tune, the audience chuckled as they soaked up the lyrics in that context.
They closed the night with a captivating cover of “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing”, a hymn perfect for a reflective Sunday evening.
It’s no easy task being a local supporting act for a sold out show where the majority of the audience consists of screaming and barely legally able to drink females. This was night #2 for Imagine Dragons at the Hollywood Palladium and the kind of show where the audience is so passionate about the headliner that they would just as soon skip the openers and dive
straight into the main dish. So the Venice Beach, CA five-piece Terraplane Sun had their work cut out for them when they took the stage at 7:30pm to an already packed room. That said, Ben Rothbard, Johnny Zambetti, Cecil Campanaro, Lyle Riddle, and Gabe Feenberg had no problem making the room and the people in it their new BFFs with their Delta blues swagger and California sun. It’s as if the Doors, Johnny Cash and CSN decided to shack up, musically of course. What’s obvious is that these guys are accomplished musicians: everything from guitars to lap steel to keys to a mandolin to a trombone made an appearance during their set. What’s not so obvious is how they manage to seamlessly fuse what have to be many various tastes and influences, making vintage tones sound fresh and lively: somehow they do. Collectively they looked as comfortable on the large Palladium
stage as they do in club settings (even if you don’t know who they are, they’re hardly new to the game) and performing with a natural ease and showmanship to where, if you looked around the audience you were sure to spot a girl or two falling a little in love with at least one band member. Their set was short, but sweet and effective as they served up “Funnel of Love” and “Ya Never Know” highlighted by the lively steppers “Tell Me I’m Wrong” (folks just loved Feenberg’s trombone solo) and their ode to going after what you want, their single “Get Me Golden.” Rothbard’s lead vocals were fortified by quality harmonies, Zambetti showed off his solid lead guitar skills, as rhythm sections go, Campanaro and Riddle were joined at the hip and Feenberg is probably that secret weapon that every band needs. When it was over, the applause and yells of approval spoke for themselves. As did the scramble for the EP’s that Rothbard tossed into the crowd.
Last night I was completely re-inspired by long time LMN Band Love Nico Vega. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen them and I recall my last NV experience to be somewhat underwhelming, but last night I was reminded why I fell for this band. The energy and pure love this quartet of musicians put forth is enough to get anyone to pay attention and last night was a prime example as the band dominated a large stage in the middle of Universal City Walk. I watched passersby go from double takes to that slow walk towards the stage, evidence of the gravitational pull Nico Vega and its electric frontwoman, Aja Volkman, has on its listeners.
The band just got off of a major nation-wide tour opening for Imagine Dragons and I think the experience of performing every night brought the group together to a level of cohesion that was impressive to watch. They mostly played newer songs, several of which can be found on their new Fury Oh Fury EP, but they also delved into their past for a couple of my personal favorites like “Gravity” and the powerful “Beast” which Aja joyfully (and somewhat tearfully) announced is currently charting on iTunes (a first for the band).
The event was for the release of a new video game, Bioshock Infinite, so gamers and music lovers alike were dazzled by the fierce love, fine craftsmanship, and rockin’ music on display.
Be sure to go to iTunes and buy the version of “Beast” from the new EP to help the group continue to rise on the charts. And keep track of Nico Vega as they will be coming back to your town soon I’m sure…
There’s this wonderful thing called life that sometimes gets in the way of other endeavors. I apologize that this took so long to post. I blame life. But let’s flash back to February 20th, 2013 when this post began….
Last Wednesday I took a jaunt up to LA to see the debut of Dear Boy. In case you somehow missed the new band alert Kristen posted about them, they are a reincarnation of Scarlet Grey. I was very much a fan of Scarlet Grey and was sad to hear when they broke up but happy to hear when singer Ben Grey and drummer Keith Cooper got together with some new guys to form Dear Boy.
I had inconveniently caught a cold the day before the show, but I wasn’t going to let that keep me from attending. Traffic was a breeze and I made it to LA relatively quickly for a Wednesday afternoon but the drive left me tired (thank you cold). So, Kristen and I spent our pre-show time hanging out at her place and ordering in because… well, because we could. And I love ordering in. You can’t do that where I am in San Diego. But I digress…
It was obvious when we got there that this was a show with a band people were here to see. Thankfully luck was on our side and after scoring a sweet parking spot, we found a prime spot up on the balcony to observe the show. The first two bands were ok but as soon as the second one finished, people started pouring in for Dear Boy. The Grey family is a loyal one.
Ben came out with a shiny new hairdo but minus his awesome stickered guitar from the days of Scarlet Grey. I guess I can let that slide. Dear Boy had only released a somewhat cryptic music video as a hint of what the sound was like and it wasn’t enough. The show was great and it’s clear Ben is excited to be moving in a different direction. The sound has more depth than Scarlet Grey did and I think it gives the band an opportunity to expand, experiment, and create. There was even a song specifically for the Grey family about his change of direction but how he is still the same person. I thought that was a very sweet sentiment. Their set seemed all to short but for us who were sick, it was actually just right I’m sad to say. We hung around for a little bit after, hoping to say some hellos but it seemed like everyone was hanging out to say hellos. We said goodbye to our friends after waiting for about 20 minutes when I saw Jade Puget standing around. I wanted to say hello but nerves and tiredness got the better of me and we retired to Kristen’s place. All in all, it was a fun night out, and I’m glad I was there to witness it. It gives me some indie cred 😉
Here are some pictures Kristen shot of the show. I hope you enjoy. And don’t forget to check out Dear Boy if you haven’t already.