Post #899… Wow… If I do say so myself… and I just did!
Downtown LA… or DTLA as the hip cats call it… Main Street between 4th and 5th Streets… The Regent Theatre.
Part of a nice collection, including Spaceland Presents, The Federal Bar, Echoplex and Knitting Factory. Well done!
A hip area with some fantastic restaurants like Ledlow (who recently had their burger written up as one of the best in LA) and Baco Mercat, a true and worthy destination restaurant. BOTH are from famed and super creative chef Josef Centeno!
Also Prufrock Pizzeria, which is attached to the venue and looked and smelled insanely good! There are some great theaters around here, like the newly discovered and first-time visited Regent… well, new for me… and a whole other universe. There are so many worlds out there, folks… worlds within our worlds… and sometimes when those worlds collide it is a beautiful thing. We need to make a point of exploring as much of this planet as we can… and that should start with our own backyard!
Other times it reminds us of the haves and have-nots, and just how lucky we are.
As we drove around Los Angeles Street through parts of Skid Row on our way to The Regent Theatre, we saw both worlds. The depressing rows of tents on the streets on one block, and the fancy, hipster restaurants almost literally around the corner. Gentrification is alive and well, so the key is to enjoy life, but never forget.
That is what music does. We enjoy it immensely, can easily take it on face value… but quite often the lyrics or message make us recall or remember different times… troubling times… knock us around a bit. hell, that’s what the blues are based on… Taking something broken, something down and lifting it up… or maybe just telling it like it is… a lesson for the weary.
Last night’s show had some of that for sure… but mostly it kicked ass in the best possible way.
The Record Company opened the evening, and may be one of the best examples of why you should get your ass to a venue early and show the opening act some love and respect. This three-piece bluesy, roots rock trio were remarkable… joyous and talented performers from LA who had the crowd in the palm of their hands. I guess I am late to the party, for in two short years they have already had their music featured in commercials, film and TV, played with the late and legendary B.B. King… One two of my all time faves, Robert Randolph and Blues guitar icon Buddy Guy.
Chris Vos on vocals, guitars, lap steel, pedal steel, and a mean harmonica, and I know my harp players… Alex Stiff on bass, guitars, and vocals… and Marc Cazorla on drums, piano, and vocals. He also clearly knows how to spell his name correctly… and you KNOW I know Marcs!
Time Out LA described them as the love-child between John Lee Hooker and The Stooges. I will tell you these guys are the real deal, and their raw, swampy Southern sound will get you out of your seat. Hmm, can I get to the fantastic Bottlerock Music Festival??? Go check out that killer lineup.
The room was now officially “warmed up” and at 9:25 out came JJ Grey and the six-piece Mofro. I have been listening to these guys for a while… since their Alligator Records debut… but had shockingly never seen them live…
Well… That… has… been… RECTIFIED!
They hit the stage and hit the gas and did not let up off the pedal for over two hours! I have said this before and I will say it again… When bands are having fun, it is infectious and makes all the difference in the world. Both bands tonight were loving the moment… loving where they were… and it transforms a room.
JJ even sings about it in “Every Minute”… just one of the highlights for me last night. I also absolutely love the philosophy and story he told behind the beautiful track “Everything Is A Song”, the opening tune from the brand new album ‘Ol Glory. It has such a classic R&B feel to it. Fantastic!
The whole set rocked, but I was particularly taken with “A Woman” from the great Country Ghetto album… “Brighter Days”, “Everything Good Is Bad” (probably my favorite tune of theirs… and from the Orange Blossoms record) and the slow, sweet smoker, “Lochloosa.”
Great rhythm section… great horn section… great keyboards and guitar work… This band is just tight. JJ shreds on guitar and on his vocal chords, and that smoky, soulful, bluesy drawl cuts through the night.
Music is alive and well in Los Angeles… all of Los Angeles… and tonight brought me something old and something new… the perfect concert wedding.