Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Recent Shows and Thoughts

Radio Free Silver Lake's third free February Tuesday (Feb. 15) with The Western States Motel was a feast of good music. The last band was going to be Jack Gibson's latest music project, Disaster Speaks. Jack, who splits his time between Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, California is in town for (at least) three shows and has surrounded himself with some fine L.A. musicians, including John Seasons on bass, Bo Bory of Downtown/Union plays guitar and the band just rocks!

I had a nice catch-up with Jack when I got to the venue and he told me how he had just thrown together this band and written a bunch of songs for them to it's no big deal. First up though, was Judson of Judson and Mary with a band assembled to cover parts Mary plays while she's back east. Singing a solo on guitar and harmonica, Judson opened the set with a simple folk song before inviting the band onto the stage where they proceeded to play interesting arrangements of familiar songs. The band was great and Mary's parts were taken by two musicians and the overall effect was pleasing.

The Western States Motel played a mixed set of new and older songs for a nice set, especially considering the sound problem of a faulty keyboard which the band dealt with admirably and professionally, still delivering a fine set of music, after which Disaster Speaks took over.

Jack Gibson has a golden touch as this new band, Disaster Speaks, was like another new, fully-formed east side band. Jesus, how many are there! Delivering a blistering and active program of newly minted songs that all sounded like classics, I was major pleased. Although not a huge crowd, I still think everyone left impressed.

Although tired, I still set out the next night to attend The Ross Sea Party show they invited me to at Silver Lake Lounge. The Californain were also on the bill, so acceptance was a no-brainer. I got there in time to hear most of the set by The Lexingtons, whose dynamic stage show is highlighted by another diminutive powerhouse of a lead performer. Like Samuel Bing of Fol Chen or Avi Buffalo of Avi Buffalo, small stature in no indicator of talent.

>div>The Ross Sea Party performed a strong set of power pop rock that kept me intrigued and wanting more, and The Californian were their usual electrifying selves. The crowd at Silver Lake Lounge was large and festive for a Wednesday night and I couldn't help but notice that if even a mid-week low key show could attract such a crowd, this music scene is certainly showing no signs of flagging.

I'd planned on going to the Friday show at Pehrspace with The Monolators and Disaster Speaks on February 18, but the rain was so intense and only got worse as the night went on that I was glad I stayed home.

I went out Sunday to Lot 1 Cafe instead and that was a night! For many it was a holiday on Monday (Feb. 21), so spirits were high and the place was pretty full for openers, Count Fleet and their attractive brand of indie/blues/rock. Was even given a copy of their CD by Caitlin Dryer and notice that it was produced by Raymond Richards and features such guest musicians as Jordan Hudock of Marvelous Toy/The Henry Clay People and is a nicely polished production.

The version of Disaster Speaks that appeared Sunday night was supplemented by the astonishing Avi Buffalo on guitar, and along with the two other guitars they created a wall of wailing guitars that was even more impressive than their performance on Tuesday. The audience was wowed. It was great to hang out with these guy and as Jack Gibson wends his way back to Texas, I have to admit, I will miss him.

I'd been given the AV Club's CD a week earlier and was mighty impressed so I was looking forward to their set. I have to admit, I was so dazed by Disaster Speaks, that I'm not sure I gave AV Club their due, but I remember enjoying their set

But for me, the night belonged to Torches in Trees, who, once again floored me with their set. Energetic, precise, filled with a variety of songwriting and beautifully performed. Once the vocals were mixed to their proper level the set soared and the audience felt it. One great song followed another great song for a set like a greatest hits sampler. The fullness of sound this three piece manages to put out is incredibly impressive.


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