The Bard Chronicles: Dear Boy Redux @ The Bootleg Theater- 4/25/2013

Sometimes you just have to travel to see a band play. Thus began another trip up to LA to catch the second ever Dear Boy show. Call me a sucker but the opportunity to see a band from the very beginning is something that I couldn’t pass up. After a lovely meal of ramen (one my my favorite things to get in LA) it was time to head to the show. I have to say, The Bootleg has gotten a bit swanky since I was last there. With wonderful couches for lounging on and a ping pong table to play with (which we took full advantage of), it wasn’t difficult to wait around for the show to get started.

Shortly after 10pm, Dear Boy took the stage for the second time in their musical career. All sharply dressed in black (except the bass player who opted for black and white), the gents of Dear Boy gave off an air of intrigue and mystery. The charismatic frontman from ex Scarlet Grey was unusually serious and tight lipped as only a few words were given between songs such as thanks to the other bands and the venue. The set itself gave off a sense of controlled chaos and release with a fury of distorted guitar and fast paced drumming to accompany Ben’s vocals. Audience dancing could not be helped as Dear Boy continued on and started to let loose themselves, which further fueled said dancers. The set ended on a high note after the last two songs in the set Sister Golden Hair (an excellent cover) and Funeral Waves took it “up another notch,” as Emeril Lagasse would say. Let’s not forget their single Come Along which fans have already memorized and singing along.

I only see good things for the future of this band. Be sure to catch them at their next show, June 6th supporting Meg Myers at The Troubadour.

The night was topped off with a set from LA rockers The Active Set who provided the perfect cap to the end of the evening. It was especially entertaining when frontman Matt Stolarz was having sound issues and stand in drummer Steve Coy came out from behind the drumset, still playing. The other members gathered around Steve and did a booty shake for our entertainment.

On a more personal note: It was wonderful to catch Ben Grey for some “Hellos” after their set. It was obvious he was thrilled to be there and the fan support was overwhelming I’m sure. I’d also like to say that he gives some of the best hugs. Ever.


The Bard Chronicles: William Beckett @ House of Blues Side Stage- 4/6/2013

Once upon a time in years long ago there lived a band called The Academy Is… who existed in harmony with other Fueled By Ramen bands such as Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, and Cobra Starship. Sadly, those are times of old and The Academy Is… has since broken up leaving frontman and lyricist William Beckett on his own.

After flying to Chicago to watch William Beckett play a holiday show two years ago, I was due for another William Beckett show. After having gone out to support Hellogoodbye and Relient K in July of last year, William finally made it back as a headlining artist this year on his What Will Be Tour and brought Jillette Johnson along for the ride.

I wasn’t aware that the House of Blues in San Diego had a side stage. I’d been to the one in LA but never the one in San Diego until I came to see William Beckett. I hung outside in the patio area while the opener played and I waited. The front of the tiny stage was already packed with fans staking their claim for when Mr. Beckett came to the stage. I actually caught William who had come outside to watch the show and said hello. I was super excited to see that he brought back the bandana in his outfit that night. If you ever watch old The Academy Is.. videos, you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

After the amazing Jillette Johnson finished her set, he took the stage. It was a great mix of new songs, old songs, and stories. William is an excellent storyteller and had the audience laughing after regaling us with a story from his youth in which he was the new kid who came to school fully dressed in his favorite athletic team’s sports apparel and was challenged to a basketball game by the resident school big shot. I’m sad to say the story ends with him losing after scoring a three point shot. However, it’s the wonderful blend of stories, humor, nerdyness, and songs that make him such a great entertainer. While I do miss him having a band and free to do his mic stand antics, I suppose this will do for now. As Kristen said of his show at The Hotel Cafe, he’s “the next Butch Walker” and I couldn’t agree more. No more compromises. What you see, is what you get.

Check out some of his tunes below!