Tuesday, May 11, 2010

FYH Anniversary Show

How do you write a review of your own show without sounding like a self-congratulatory ass? Just state the objective facts. The bands were great, the venue was great and the audience was great. I'm not going to go on about this, but want to say something about all the bands that played.

Walking in, I saw Andrew and Kate Spitzer of Radar To the Sky. When I confided to Kate that I had never seen Radars... acoustic, she said I would be surprised and she was right. They started the evening off with a beautiful set, perfectly played by a line up comprised of equal parts Radars To the Sky and Death To Anders. Alternating between songs by each band, I was particularly floored by Andrew's (photo by Pan) heartfelt and expressive singing which is often just another element in their sound, but here, his voice was a subtle and moving instrument. To hear Rob Danson and ensemble sing "Camera Lens" was a real treat, as it's been a long time since I heard that live. In the spirit of the evening, band members bounced from one band to the other, as Nick Ceglio was in this line up as a member of both Death To Anders and, tonight, Radars To the Sky, while later he was George Glass.

When Harley Prechtel-Cortez (at right, courtesy of Timothy Norris of LA Weekly) asked to join the line up I was honored, and when he and an assortment of band members, mostly Red Cortez, showed up, they performed a typical, high-powered set of electrifying rock. I sat there in awe. To have gone from "Radars To the Anders" to Red Cortez within an hour bode well for the night. With a very simplified percussion arrangement, a nice variety of songs became more vocally oriented, ending with a superb arrangement of my favorite, "In The Fall". I was especially pleased because I don't think a lot of the crowd had seen them before, but Red Cortez always stuns their audience and can drive me into a positive frenzy. And the sound at Pehrspace was just perfect, like listening to a band in your living room.

The crowd was whipped into a frenzy by George Glass, who performed a near perfect set. It's obvious word is spreading, because they already have a loyal following...and deserve it. The quirky blend of indie, punk and tin pan alley is fruitful territory and they play it to the hilt. (The shot of Nick, at right, is by Mouse from the Death To Anders Echo residency back in '08) Watching this band get better and better is a lot of fun, as they morph through the birth pangs of a new band. Nick's vocals were always an element in Death To Anders that I particularly liked, and to hear him take the lead in George Glass is to see him grow and mature as a singer. They are definitely one of L.A.'s hottest new bands.

I have probably seen Seasons more than any other band, and I am always impressed, to the point that they always surprise me, and this was no exception. Starting with my newest favorite Seasons song, "Of Our Discontent", they played a handy set including songs they know are favorites of mine. No matter the circumstances, they always deliver. I've gotten to know this band as friends and have gotten to watch them play a lot, but tonight I was standing over Ray as he played keyboard, and got to witness what a remarkable pianist he is. Always note perfect. The first three bands deal in a kind of melancholy, thoughtful vein (I love sad) so the rambling, shaggy rock of Seasons was just what we needed. I was beginning to reel from four great sets of music, and knew another one was coming up.

The energy level never flagged as Downtown/Union took the stage and tore through a riveting set of party/garage rock and roll. I was getting a little worse for wear by this time and they were the perfect jump start I needed to survive to the end. It came to a smashing conclusion as Downtown/Union gifted me with their own rendition of "White Rabbit" which I found both moving and well done. Thanks, Bo.

This was a big night for me and I thought we got five great sets of music. Extra special thanks to Nicholas Ceglio for putting this thing together and to Pauline Lay for the hospitality of Pehrspace.

By the way, my friend Greg posted a story on the night at The 704. It's a great read.


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