Photos by Aileen Bird
It was a tough call on which Neon Reverb show to check-out on Thursday night, but I followed a hunch and ended up at Beauty Bar. I was glad that the show was outdoors, but as usual, I showed up on-time in a city where shows routinely run an hour late. I kicked around the bar and caught the opening act.
Pet Tigers aren’t new on the local scene, but this was my first time seeing them. I’ve always liked the sound of a bass guitar running through a RAT pedal, and Ryan Arcoraci does it pretty well. The three piece is guitarless, which makes for an interesting approach. Their sound is both lo-fi and 80′s, like a Factory Records band on coke. Singer Liz Ofte is likely the only person I’ve ever seen play a keytar seriously. She played it with dexterity while howling out lyrics like “shake baby like you did last night.”
I’ve seen The Lazystars no less than six times in the past two years, and they’ve changed their sound (and lineup) much since that debacle at Diablo’s. While I was a big fan of their more atmospheric sound, the newer material is still cohesive and tight. Trevor Mayfield has picked up the rhythm section from where former killer Brian Havens left off. They’re also looking increasingly toward keyboard player Adam Swanson as a crucial element to their songs instead of just another layer on top. My only request would be to give singer Dave Hawkins an on/off footswitch or separate mic for the banter in-between songs. I love reverby echo, but I couldn’t really hear what he was saying. The ‘stars have been playing a ton locally in recent months. I’m not sure if they have any road trips planned, but they’re certainly tight enough for such an idea.
What do you get when you combine equal parts Maroon 5, Rilo Kiley, The Like, and Phantom Planet, besides a terrible name? I was about to find out as LA supergroup JJAMZ started casually setting-up at 11:30. I’ve been wanting to see them for some time, and have a personal connection in a weird way. In the early aughts, the band I spent most of my twenties in played around the Lower East Side of Manhattan pretty frequently. A lot of this was centered around a club called Piano’s, where we opened for The Like one night circa 2005. The show sold out—Albert Hammond Jr. was actually standing next to me at one point. After they played, the entire crowd proceeded to file out of the club and we ended up playing to 10 drunks. These memories flashed back to me as I eyeballed singer Z Berg, who now fronts JJAMZ. I guess it was fitting that the attendance here seemed lackluster, but their songs sounded good enough to keep the crowd moving well past midnight. The band’s sound is hard to pin-down, but it’s definitely summer friendly and radio ready.
I couldn’t hold it together late enough to see Superhumanoids, but I’m sure the latecomers stayed long enough to chase the tunes well into the night. I’ll attempt to get a nap before Night 4 at The Bunkhouse tonight.
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