New Approach To The House Concert Circuit

BRILL is an indie-alt-acoustic duet featuring singer/songwriters Brooke Trout and Dave Strauss.

Dave Strauss was a founding member of 1980’s experimental band X-Ceptions, a member of the Jeannie Willets Band from 2000-2002 and a member of Brooke Trout and The Anchormen from 2008-2010. He was a music promoter in Hollywood from 2001-2005 and hosted a weekly internet radio show called Flat Cat Radio from 2007-2010.

Brooke Trout is a singer/songwriter known for her polyphonic blend of rock, blues and surf tones. Her sophmore album Networth features mixing engineer Chuck Wilson (Andre 3000, Dr. Dre) and mastering by Grammy Award winner Nancy Matter (The Who, Ray Charles). Trout was compared to alternative artists like Souixsie Souix, Exene Cervenka and Sinéad O’Connor.


I was excited to receive an invitation to one of the coolest events of the summer.

The band BRILL had set a date for a release party for their debut album Fish Out Of Water!

Soon after arriving at the house on the Hill, I made my way to the back patio. The first thing I noticed was a beautiful, inviting swimming pool. To my far right, the stage area was under a canopy. The ensemble included a full drum kit, bass, acoustic guitars, keyboard, xylophone and percussion instruments. The canopy was decorated with beautiful strings of lights.

A few feet away from the stage were a buffet of delicious food. Across the patio a built in brick barbeque was doing its job. I was also pleasantly surprised to see familiar faces from the local music scene as people arrived throughout the evening.

BRILL announced there would be a music circle after the show, for anyone who wanted to join in! I can honestly say this was the most peaceful, relaxing, entertaining and unique day of my summer. I can’t wait to attend the next House Concert!

When Brill was planning the album release party, they asked friend and fellow singer/songwriter Jeannie Willets to open for them. BRILL searched for a suitable venue for the event, but encountered obstacles such as attendance requirements, excessive cover charges and parking problems.

They considered doing a house concert, but found that established hosts in the house concert circuit were charging more excessive cover charges than the conventional venues, and were not open to booking new and emerging acts.
Frustrated, they decided to make their own house concert at the home of their friend Jeannie Willets who shared their frustration.

The idea was to have a BYO BBQ with no cover charge. The artists would have their CD’s and other merchandise available for the guests to purchase and a tip jar for donations.

The party was a success! A fun time was had by all, and the artists made some profit from merchandise sales and donations.

They talked to friends and fellow artists who share the vision of wanting a place to perform their music without having to ‘pay-to-play’, and are willing to open their homes to guests in order to achieve this.

They decided to create their own house concert circuit which will allow artists to play and their friends to listen, in a casual, party atmosphere with no financial obligations on the guests or the artists.

The group is in the process of scheduling a series of these house concerts throughout the greater Southern California area.

“That’s it in a nutshell, Tammy; we’re thumbing our noses at the establishment and literally marching to the beat of our own drummer!” said Dave Strauss, of BRILL.

Contact BRILL for information on upcoming house concerts.

The group has just released their debut album Fish Out Of Water on CDBaby as well as on iTunes. The album’s first single “O Song” was featured on several programs including JVonD Radio in Boulder, CO, MuseBoat Radio in Las Vegas, NV, The Soupy Gato Show in The Netherlands with syndication in the UK and The Daily Dose on The Insomnia RadioNetwork. Fish Out Of Water has also been featured bySlacker Radio and You can check out music videos for Brill’s O Song and Shine on Youtube.

The muse struck at a young age and began with Ernie’s Record Shop on Lankershim Blvd. In North Hollywood where I purchased my first Beatle record “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and a record by Major Lance titled “Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um”. From there I saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and I was hooked…on Rock N’ Roll. At the age of 13 it seems as if the magical world of Rock N’ Roll opened up and welcomed me. A trip to Indio with Frank Zappa and possee, and subsequent gigs as a dancer at The Teen Fairs at the Hollywood Palladium sealed the deal. As a trained journalist, I’ve written for magazines, newsletters,newspapers and blogs. In addition, I have run a nightclub by the name of The Cave. Music is the thread that weaves a patchwork quilt of genres, venues and experience out of my life and in the process have introduced many fine acts to my followers. For the rest of my story dear readers, read my articles and it will unfold like the petals of a lotus flower. Sometimes you’ve gotta wear the hat to remind people who they are dealing with. LOL