This time out we focused on three stand-out acts that caught our attention in a way that made them stand out above the rest of the acts around town.
It is important to note here that the LA Music Scene is not into throwing a spotlight on bands that aren’t serious about their craft and who are not willing to put in the work it takes to be more than a local act. The following acts are better than most and deserve a bit of a spotlight.
Boardner's at La Belle in Hollywood recently hosted the record company launch party for Dark Spark Music which is founded by author and industry maven Vicky Hamilton. “I founded Dark Spark Music because I wanted to start a label to help new bands develop to give them a fighting chance,” Hamilton explained. During the opening of the show Hamilton had said “I’m getting tired of there only being “baby” bands and “established” bands and there is no middle-class bands. This is my way to springboard bands and get them to the next level.”
Hamilton does know a thing or two about springboarding bands as she used her music savvy to bring such major acts as Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, Poison and Faster Pussycat to the music industry forefront. Hamilton has an ear for music and the two acts that caught LA Music Scene’s attention at her launch party were Tender Beats and Damian Sage Music.
Tender Beats were introduced by Hamilton as a cross between Radiohead, Nirvana and Jack White, which is totally correct, but I also heard in the background acid rock psychedelia of 60's San Francisco rock band Fever Tree. Combine these elements and you have a cool act that delivers songs such as “Bugs In Your Walls” and “Shapes In The Sky,” which are catchy. Tender Beats are originally from Brazil via New York to Los Angeles and have a very polished look. This trio is currently on tour around the USA.
Damian Sage Music struck a chord with LA Music Scene with the song “Cold Blooded,” which coupled with electric guitars, presents a hard-hitting story about a strong woman. Hamilton may love loud guitars, but LA Music Scene loves songs about strong women and Alice Cooper’s “Poison” ranks at the top of that list. This song is iPod worthy at a stunning five stars. If you look up “Cold Blooded” on YouTube you will find the acoustic version which is a bit less in your face than the electric guitar driven version.
Outside of great composition, Sage has learned how to move and reach out to his audience and draw them in. This song got me up and dancing which doesn’t happen that often with new acts. Another song that demanded attention is “The Hardest Goodbye” that is a country inspired ballad with a soulful electric violin playing alongside which gives it a depth that penetrates one’s defenses.
Of particular interest was Logan Sheppard who is Sage’s 17-year-old drummer. This isn’t his first trip to the stage and he has played with Love Past Blue, Sofya Wang and plays at the annual Autism Rocks LA that has provided him with the opportunity to share the stage with music luminaries from Kiss and Quiet Riot, to name a few.
In addition, Sheppard has had a feature story write up by guitarinternational.com where they cite his percussion style as “eclectic and electric,” which is quite a lot of kudos for such a young man. Sheppard is a talent on the rise and will be a great asset to Damian Sage Music. Sheppard has been spotted sporting a t-shirt that has “Ego Kills Talent” on it; let's hope that sentiment is kept in perspective.
Had to leave and missed Elvis Suissa which I am told is very good and put on quite a show. The event can be viewed on YouTube at Daze With Jordan The Lion/#826 Vicky Hamilton’s Showcase For Dark spark Music and all acts mentioned have a Facebook account with more contact info.
Made it over to The Federal in North Hollywood at the upstairs venue to catch a band that is arena venue ready - City Of Sound. Big sound coming from this very different band in that it is heavy on the composition and lays on a heavy dose of an electric violin. This aspect reminded me of violinist David Garrett who mixes classical music with the excitement of rock music which explodes onstage. Violinist Lacey Nova makes the transition from classical music to a more rock-oriented genre flawlessly and adds another dimension to City Of Sound’s repertoire.
City Of Sound are a NoHo-based outfit that is set to release “Silent Empire,” their new album in Spring 2019. Songs from this alt-rock act included “Animus,” “Silent Empire,” “Wake Up,” “After Glow” and “Odyssey,” which strung together take one on an etherial journey. Jordon Wright (vocals/piano/lyricist) strives to compose music that gets in your head and hits you with a one two punch. City Of Sound’s bio states that Wright wants to take his audience “on a journey of reflection” with their album “Silent Empire,” and their song “Odyssey” begins that journey. Available now is “The Madhouse” at cityofsoundmusic.com.
City of Sound have curated a loyal audience of fans that “get" them and the music and will enhance any City Of Sound show that they play. Watching the fans move about and have fun was great and enhanced the listening experience. If you want to hear songs that have been compared to Bono of U2 and actor Jared Leto’s band Thirty Seconds To Mars with their rich and layered music that makes you stop and think about what you are listening to as well as feel inspired to such a degree as "Pride (In the Name of Love)" will provoke or any song from “Rattle and Hum” or “Joshua Tree.”