California Blues

A needle in a steel wool haystack.

3D Vision and the California Blues

Apologies, it’s been awhile. I did move. I also got lazy. And it didn’t have to do with Avatar. I’ve seen more than a few shows in the past two months, so I can push a quick summary.

I didn’t post a review of the IO Echo/Florence + the Machine show I got to see at the end of October, mostly because the immense crowd relegated me to the back during Florence, and I didn’t get a proper experience of it. Io Echo still rocked the house, even if they had to navigate around the Machine’s numerous instruments. Io even took to climbing up the rafters at the Troubadour, which isn’t a small feat as those pylons do not look all that stable. Florence + the Machine made the crowd swoon and sway, gave it her all, but when your songs are made for an orchestra, it’s hard to match with four or five musicians and a harp–especially with Troubadour’s notoriously bad mix. Not to mention the poor woman looked beat, I think she’d flown across the pond and then across the country making different stops, no way she wasn’t exhausted. Here’s to hoping I find the green for Coachella this year, lots of groups I’ve written about will be playing.

Moving on to December, I started the month with a surprisingly fun show of Holly Conlon and Lady Danville at the Dakota Live Music Lounge. Danville’s album doesn’t really hit my ear with the right resonance, but they bring a joy and energy to the live show which helps, especially with the UCLA crowd. Conlon was the surprise of the night, bringing both poise and talent to her keys. Her songs tell tales of rebellious aches, but thankfully without the earnest angst. Holly Conlon has a very mellow singer-songwriter dynamic, but with just the right amount of alternation to make the music more palatable to the likes of me. Check out her “New Song” for what I mean.

I’ll try a Band of Skulls write up after I finish out this summary–definitely the best show of the bunch.

I crashed Hotel Café’s Christmas Party on the 18th and saw a few great acts: Laura Jansen, Austin Hartley Leonard, Buddy, and Holly Conlon. And seeing as they’re all friends a few times they gathered onstage to belt out Christmas songs. The highlight of the night, however, was Austin Hartley Leonard’s rendition of ‘Christmas in Hollis’ originally by Run DMC.

Next came the Bootleg Theatre with Kristen Toedtman headlining and Brendan Hines opening. I’m a sucker for Hines’s saloon-bred warbles, but the drive of his verse is reminiscent of Frank Turner, though without the punk rock afterburners. Slow acoustic music tends not to prick my ears, but Hines’s humour and obliviously witty lyrics keep me interested, and wanting more. Toedtman, on the other hand, hits the stage with all cylinders firing: a full band, piano, and chorus to give her show a great production value. Course, the Bootleg Theatre prides its unfinished exposed plywood look, but the sound system is great, and Toedtman’s songs come through clean, crisp, and effervescently. (Note: those are metaphorical fizzy bubbles, not any actual fizzy sound particles.)

January shall get its own review as this is just a bit too long already.

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21 February 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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