The English Beat Rocksteady At The Coach House

Dave Wakeling, The English Beat

Dave Wakeling, The English Beat; photo Jackie Butler

“There’s a new dance called the tolerance,” Dave Wakeling sings in the English Beat classic “Sole Salvation,” which he played toward the end of their set at the sold-out Coach House last Saturday night. The relevance of his words were not lost on the audience who responded with a roar of approval. After an election so venomous and so polarizing, and probably more than a few Thanksgivings spent arguing, an evening full of feel-good hits like “Save It For Later,” “Hands Off She’s Mine,” and “Too Nice To Talk To” provided a much-needed escape.

Whether you call it, Ska, Rocksteady, or just plain Reggae, there’s something about its syncopated rhythms and breezy vamping that melts everything else away. Add an invigorating jolt of punk energy and attitude like the Beat did, and you’ve got music made for dancing. Wakeling and the rest of the band put on such a good show, that the Coach House clears out some of its signature tables for a designated dancing area. It was put to good use during favorites like “Twist & Crawl,” “I’ll Take You There,” and the one-two punch of “Ranking Full Stop” and “Mirror In The Bathroom.”

Though Wakeling is the only original member, his beautifully diverse band reflects the message of unity and love that the Beat and the reggae genre have come to represent. Besides that, these guys can play. In their matching Ska polos, they proved a formidable force, from the raging sax solos on “Hands Off,” and “Wine And Grine/Stand Down Margaret,” to the unstoppable groove provided by the dual keyboardists, to the off-the-charts energy of Wakeling’s young toaster. Obviously Ranking Roger can’t be replaced, but this new guy’s a charmer, pulling a less-than-amused little girl on stage during “Hands Off,” and a much more amused middle-aged man after he wouldn’t stop requesting “Ackee 1-2-3.”

As for Mr. Wakeling, he sounds exactly the same, his honeyed, crooner vocals surprisingly intact. He cuts quite the figure with his signature teardrop guitar and his goofy mugging, clearly having a great time on stage. The crowd was even treated to a couple of new tracks off an album set to be released next year, as well as the rest of their favorites like “Tears Of A Clown,” before which Wakeling joked, “It’s not a party until you’ve ruined a perfectly good Motown song…Sorry Smokey!”

The highlight of the night proved to be “Tenderness” which Wakeling actually recorded with General Public, not the Beat—not that anyone cared. An adorable little girl and her mother were pulled up on stage, and everyone was on their feet. No one in that whole room was thinking about anything other than the good time they were having, and everyone left feeling a whole lot lighter.

Where is the tenderness? Go and see The English Beat and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find it.

Fruit Bats Are Anything But ‘Absolute Losers’ At LA Show

Fruit Bats

Fruit Bats played Bootleg Theater Sep. 29, 2016; press photo

Over the course of five albums, Fruit Bats have perfected rootsy, feel-good, country-tinged pop, taking up the flame lit by the “cosmic American music” of Gram Parsons and his buddies. After a five-year hiatus, Eric Johnson and Co. came roaring back with Absolute Loser, which served as the anchor of their lengthy setlist at the Bootleg Theater.

“I hope you’re enjoying this assemblage of, uh, mid-tempo, uh, toe-tappers,” Johnson self-deprecatingly said to the packed crowd, after running through standouts off the new album, “Good Will Come To You,” “From A Soon-To-Be Ghost Town” and “My Sweet Midwest”.

Johnson, whose nasally voice perfectly crowns the sense of humor and authenticity that permeate his songs, hasn’t lost a step. His voice along with the accompanying harmonies, were locked in all night, over the length of a 21-song, two-hour+ set.

Though dressed in a wrinkly linen jacket, Johnson could probably get away with wearing a rhinestone Nudie suit, thanks to the Americana spirit and big-blue-sky guitar breaks that permeate Fruit Bats’ music.

“None of Us” was a highlight of the show’s first half. A gently-driving, warm breeze of song, that had Johnson singing to the spellbound patrons of his hope that all their “wishes come true,” was perfect for the intimate setting. Johnson, picking up on the good vibes explained, “I love playing at the Bootleg. I feel like we’re all at a cool party in some guy’s weird house.”

The rest of the set was a discography-jumping mix of old favorites and deeper cuts. The waltzing “Primitive Man” was one of the most graceful romps of the night, while the irresistible “Dolly” saw Johnson putting his guitar down so he could groove around with a tambourine. The band left the stage for a chill-inducing, bare-bones version of “Baby Bluebird,” that blew away the version on record, then returned for fan favorite, “You’re Too Weird.”

For the encore, Johnson was having such a good time he asked for some requests. He did a solo version of “Singing Joy To The World,” then brought the band back for “Born In The 70’s.” Closing out the night was the one-two punch of the thumping “Humbug Mountain Song” and their classic, “When U Love Somebody”. Fruit Bats left the crowd with more than they expected, and everything they wanted.

Sloan Entertains Long Time Fans

Sloan-Patrick Pentland

Patrick Pentland of Sloan; photo James Christopher

Dedicated followers of Sloan’s music came out to The Constellation Room on a sweltering Sunday night to enjoy a 20th anniversary celebration of the group’s well-known album One Chord To Another and so much more!

Local Los Angeles group, Gateway Drugs jump-started the evening with their blend of psych rock, jangly guitars, and escalating melodic noise. The four-piece accompanied Sloan on several West Coast tour dates.

Following a quick change over, Sloan hit the stage to play the first of two sets, kicking off with “The Good In Everyone”, the opening track from One Chord To Another, followed by “Nothing Left to Make Me Want to Stay,” “Autobiography” then working their way through the rest of the album.

Andrew Scott of Sloan

Andrew Scott of Sloan; photo James Christopher

Songs such as the fiery rocker “G Turns to D” had the band pushing the energy up a notch with lead guitarist Patrick Pentland driving the crowd into a comfortable frenzy.

The band was masterful and seemed to have fun swapping instruments and lead vocal duties while the audience smiled and sang along in places, creating an atmosphere of give and take.

The Canadian band often makes a tour stop in Los Angeles but this time they visited venues in and around SoCal much to the appreciation of their pockets of fans that are often skipped.

If the other shows in the area were anything like The Constellation Room, there were many happy long-time fans.

 

Nick Valensi Wows With New Band CRX

CRX

CRX played The Troubadour Sep. 17; photo Amanda de Cadenet

The Strokes are one of the last veritable institutions in rock music (You can fight me on this, I know I’m right). As such, people actually know the names of the dudes in the band, not just the guy up front, which means that no matter what successful side project or solo record they do, they will always be referred to as a member of said band.

As I watched The Strokes guitarist Nick Valensi’s new band, CRX, at the sold-out Troubadour on Saturday night, I couldn’t help but make comparisons to his other group; a submission to human nature and our hunt for familiarity, which Valensi and CRX alternately played around with, and discarded, over the course of the show.

Valensi is the last member of the The Strokes to dip his toe in the side-project water, launching the band with a website and social media accounts at the beginning of August. Always appearing the most content to just stick with his main gig, it was the lack of touring behind 2013’s Comedown Machine that made Valensi antsy to get back on stage. Piecing together talented musicians from other bands (Darian Zahedi and Jon Safely from the Reflections, Richie Follin from Guards, and Ralph Alexander from The Dose), Valensi formed CRX.

“Ways To Fake It,” the lead single from New Skin (out Oct. 28), was all I had to go off of prior to the show. It’s pop-y, it’s Strokes-y, it’s got one of Valensi’s classic, angular, eighth-note riffs, and that interlocking guitar sound that will make you question if Albert Hammond Jr. is on the track.

But before CRX took the stage, opening act, The Gloomies’ lead singer warned, “It’s gonna get a lot louder,” and he was right. The opening heft of “Broken Bones” rattled the wall I was leaning on, while “Unnatural” rode in on a locomotive lick that reminded me of a sinister, mutant version of the “Peter Gunn Theme” ostinato. As if it wasn’t clear enough already that CRX goes heavier than anything the Strokes have done, “Monkey Man” actually started a mosh pit.

CRX is a tight band, and Valensi proved himself a capable singer and convincing frontman. Whether hitting falsetto notes and crooning “Let it go baby, let it go,” on the muscular “Give It Up,” or letting his voice passionately fray just enough at the edges as he sang “I don’t know what to make of it/When everyone is faking it,” during the closer, “Walls,” he showed he’s doing his own thing. Even the power-pop songs, like the mainstream, radio-friendly “Anything,” or the jittery groove of “One Track Mind,” are kept out of Strokes territory by Valensi’s avoidance of Julian Casablancas’ detached, answering-machine bit. The bottom line is, every song has Valensi’s familiar, Epiphany Riviera sound that the crowd of fans in Strokes t-shirts was greatly appreciative of, but other than that, CRX is it’s own animal.

Perhaps most important to me, as a longtime Strokes fan who, full disclosure, has referred to Room on Fire as life-changing on several occasions, is that Valensi is having a damn good time. “Well shit that was fun,” he yelled before closing out the set, and you knew he meant it after the electrifying, jammed-out display that came prior. Valensi showed more enthusiasm at the Troubadour than he has at a Strokes gig in years, willingly playing the guitar hero by thrusting his axe into the crowd as he soloed, seeming to enjoy the shouts of “We love you Nick,” that came after nearly every song, and even letting a head-banging kid that snuck on stage jam out with him for a little bit.

That’s the thing about these bands we hold so dear. We love that they make music for us, and if side projects and solo careers are what they need to still love it too, so be it. We just want to see those familiar faces, and when the music is this good, it’s even sweeter. “We’ll see you next time, right?” Valensi asked before leaving the stage. Judging by the way fans were frantically fighting over the setlist, I would say that’s a safe bet.

The Zombies Breathe New Life Into 50 Year Career At The Coach House

The Zombies

The Zombies

Before launching into their 1965 single “I Want You Back Again,” a jazzy cut that’s still so fresh the band re-recorded it for their 2015 album Still Got That Hunger, lead singer Colin Blunstone explained, “Not only had the public forgotten it, we did too.”

Contrary to that statement, the sold-out crowd at The Coach House last Saturday night didn’t seem to have forgotten at all, belting right along with Blunstone and giving the band a standing ovation after almost every song. Never mind that 50 years have passed since The Zombies were regularly on the radio.

One of the oddest stories in rock, The Zombies rose to fame on the backs of hit singles like “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No,” slipping in the British Invasion door propped open by The Beatles. However, as it was for many groups, the hits quickly dried up and The Zombies disbanded, but not before recording the chamber-pop masterpiece Odessey and Oracle. Released in 1968 after the group had already gone their separate ways, it flopped upon arrival, but by some magical mystery has become one of the most beloved albums of the 60’s, continuing to sell more copies every year than it did back then.

As Blunstone and other original member Rod Argent played a medley from that album, “Care Of Cell 44,” “I Want Her She Wants Me,” the aforementioned “Time Of The Season,” and the
sweetly, touching, fan favorite, “This Will Be Our Year”, it drove home just how baffling it is that the album didn’t sell upon initial release, but also how lucky and grateful Blunstone and Argent feel to still be able to play their music.

Argent, who wrote most of The Zombies’ songs, was as spry as ever, effortlessly firing off transcendent keyboard solos on “Time Of The Season,” and “Hold Your Head Up,” a huge hit from his post-Zombies band, the appropriately named, “Argent”.

Blunstone, who had a successful solo career in England with songs like “Caroline Goodbye,” miraculously sings The Zombies songs in the same key as when he was 19 years old, hitting the dizzying high notes on “I Love You” and “Going Out Of My Head” with complete ease. If anything, his voice has actually gotten stronger and more capable, while the breathy, velvet voice that cooed, “What’s your name/Who’s your daddy” all those years ago, still remains.

The night wasn’t all nostalgia, with cuts like the blues piano-inflected “Edge Of The Rainbow,” and the upbeat, “Lady Madonna”-esque “Maybe Tomorrow” being particularly well received. After all, everyone loves a good comeback story, and the enthusiastic crowd loves this one so much, they actually seemed to be enjoying the new songs.

Other highlights included a “You Really Got A Hold On Me” and “Bring It On Home To Me” mashup in a nod to the group’s blue-eyed soul roots. The hit singles “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No,” and a rousing rendition of Argent’s “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” closed out the show.

“I won’t cry for the past,” Blunstone sang during new track “Moving On.” With shows as good as this 50 years on, The Zombies definitely don’t have to.

We Are Scientists Play Passionately In Constellation Room Jul 14

WE ARE SCIENTISTS, Constellation Room Jul 14; photo Reuben Martinez

WE ARE SCIENTISTS, Constellation Room Jul 14; photo Reuben Martinez

When We Are Scientists walked onstage wearing various combinations of blazers and skinny jeans, I wondered if they knew the two basic reactions to which they had just committed themselves. In my experience, this particular fashion statement is eventually either met with, “Dang, I had no idea these guys were such hipster trash,” or, “Okay, yeah, I’m probably already best friends with these guys and none of us have realized it yet.” Naturally, I was eager to see which camp their stage presence and banter would land them in.

After being mentally sucker punched by a delightfully, aggressively performed first song (“This Scene is Dead”), and smiling stupidly at their podcast worthy, belly-laugh-inducing witty repartee, well, you and I know exactly where they landed. What followed was a lot more of the same, the different, and then some.

In a venue as intimate as The Constellation Room, it’s easy to feel like the band is playing a private show in your own living room, and in your honor. The sound is enveloping and the air is shared between the walls of that special room. You can imagine, then, how stimulating it must be to witness the uncontainable energy that is We Are Scientists.

WE ARE SCIENTISTS

WE ARE SCIENTISTS, Constellation Room Jul 14; photo Reuben Martinez

Guitarist/lead vocalist Keith Murray performed his songs with vigorous passion, often combining his fuzzed out guitar solos while slashing his guitar through the air with reckless abandon. It was as though he were angry with himself for hitting all the right notes in all the right ways; a true rockstar. With his eyes closed and lungs blaring, his fingers moved like they had minds of their own. Here’s a man who has played music every day for years and years and years because he loves it.

Alongside this one-man show, was bassist/vocalist/fellow original band member/resident mustache champion, Chris Cain. He was prone to holding the rhythm section down with taut musicianship and a keen ear for phat, punkish, dance-worthy bass lines. His relatively calm demeanor provided a nice contrast to the musical thrashings of his counterpart, digging deep into his various grooving with a focused swagger.

His partner in time and tempo, drummer Keith Carne, was the percussive peanut butter to Cain’s rhythmic jelly. Filling in every seeming sonic gap that might have been left between a less capable trio of musicians, Carne made sure to keep the beat pulsing, the feet moving, and the minds blowing as he ripped his toms to metaphorical shreds. How he didn’t overheat and pass out in that blazer is yet to be scientifically understood.

At any given point, there was at least one person in the crowd dancing much harder than any recommended amount, as if locked in an epic dance-off with themselves and eager for new challengers. That’s because much of the music by We Are Scientists is tailor-made for bodily movement.
With a setlist that spanned equally across their five studio albums, the songs ranged from their earlier post-punk, dancing days of “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt,” to songs borne out of their current status as an 80’s pop-rock duo.

Melodic, sonically ethereal jams like “Buckle” and “Too Late” now pepper the landscape of their shows, infusing their set with a welcome variance in sound. While these songs may not have the same pulsing beat of the early 2000’s, they were performed with the same emotional honesty and intensity.

The live translations of their newest songs took on a raw, more tangible feel as compared to the results of any possible studio production. This edge brought the songs to life with the energy and gravitas of a band who is still eager to share the contents of their mind.

When you combine this with their between-songs stand-up comedy routines, you get a show full of priceless sound and vision. And considering it was for the price of just a normal ticket, I’d say we all got a pretty sweet deal.

Sunflower Bean Delivers At Constellation Room Jun 26

sunflower bean

Sunflower Bean at Constellation Room Jun 26; photo Lauren Ratkowski

Any time I’m slotted to see a buzzy band I experience a jolt of anticipation mixed with a sour tinge of dread. Call it my bullshit meter whirring to life, or maybe it’s just my overgrown curiosity. Either way, there’s a new element in play and it’s a smutty, four-letter word called “hype”.

Rolling Stone called Sunflower Bean “NYC’s Coolest Young Band,” NME named them One To Watch for 2016, and their debut album, Human Ceremony, is on more “Best of 2016” lists then you can shake a drum stick at. But what really gripped me was the accolade from Oh My Rockness declaring them the “Hardest Working Band in NYC,” for sheer number of shows played.

As they took the stage at The Constellation Room (which was packed to capacity), I clutched my little notepad, took a deep breath, and said a little prayer to the rock gods, hoping that practice does indeed still make perfect.

All that gigging around NYC payed off just like I thought it would. They. Are. Tight. So tight, they’re like a pair of Bon Scott’s jeans. No, even tighter. I’ll say it: full Robert Plant.

The extended prog-lite jams (we’re talking two economical minutes instead of 15) of “Tame Impala” and “I Was Home” were performed with laser-like focus. Over drummer Jacob Faber’s behemoth beats, singer/bassist Julia Cumming and guitarist Nick Kivlen locked into each other with so much intensity it’s like they’re using one brain, staring each other down from across the stage.

sunflower bean

Sunflower Bean Constellation Room Jun 26; photo Lauren Ratkowski

The hours upon hours they’ve slogged plus a lean set added up to the actual music being so clean, so down-pat, that the band was free to absolutely smash. Songs like “Come On” and “Wall Watcher” erupted the room into one giant pit, causing me, the photographers, and those of a slightly milder manner, to scramble for the corners of the room.

Most reactive to the energy was Cumming, bobbing her head so hard it looked like her neck might snap, dousing the crowd with water, and even jumping down into the pit.

“We just did a show in LA that was our favorite show ever, but this is our favorite show, too,” Cumming said.

The crowd seemed to agree, begging for one more song, which they obliged with “The Stalker,” the absolute earth-rocker of a B-side to their debut single. “What’s this song called?” I heard a guy behind me yell to his buddy, “This is some heavy shit!”

Globelamp Bears Soul At Bootleg Jun 15

GLOBELAMP

Elizabeth Le Fey aka Globelamp; photo Andy Ortega

“I’m really excited about everything, even if I don’t sound like I am,” Elizabeth Le Fey, aka Globelamp, explained to the crowd at the Bootleg Theater Wednesday night.

Le Fey’s stage presence was decidedly tame for being at her own album release show, due perhaps less to the jet lag she credited than to the stripped-down and deeply personal nature of the songs she was performing.

The Orange Glow, a beautiful psych-folk album, was born out of an ugly year for Le Fey. In addition to dealing with the death of one of her dearest friends, her breakup with Foxygen’s Sam France turned nasty, as everything from a lawsuit to rabid internet hate derailed her personal life and career (she was a touring member of Foxygen and working on another project with France). The resulting album is filled with references to both occurrences, giving it a raw emotionality and intimacy, that’s only emphasized by Le Fey’s dynamic voice.

What is layered and ornamented on record was presented on Wednesday in its purest form: Le Fey and a guitar. The effect was like home demos being played live, which worked well for songs like the melodic “Master of Lonely”. She grew slightly more timid after moving to the keyboard (borrowed last-minute from her 11 year old brother) for a few songs, then thundered back with fan favorite “Gypsie’s Lost.”

What always work across the 10 song set was Le Fey’s haunting delivery. Songs like “The Negative” and “Controversial/Confrontational,” had Le Fey throwing her voice from a child-like whisper to full-blown range, often in the same line. While “Daddy’s Gone,” a blues-stomper and show highlight off of 2014’s Star Dust, threatened to blow the roof off the place.

Despite her cotton candy hair, knee socks, and glittery makeup, there’s an undeniable seriousness and wise-beyond-her-years wisdom to Le Fey, an impressive self-assuredness that allows her to get up on stage alone, and bare her soul and pain.

Watching her perform the wistful “Washington Moon,” to a crowd of 50, one gets the feeling that she would have played the same exact way to five people. She’s a poet and songwriter at heart, taking more stock in the creative process than the limelight of performing. Her philosophy is beautifully spelled out in the excellent “Artist/Traveler,” singing, “You’ll know the real point of art and poetry is to somehow connect with the mystery.”

Fuel Kick Off 2016 Tour At The Coach House

FUEL

FUEL play The Coach House May 27; photo Abby Gennet

Looking to fill up on some new music? The band Fuel is back and ready to fill any tanks with a new ensemble of band mates and a closet full of new tunes. The platinum-selling band is hitting North America, stopping May 27 at The Coach House.

1998’s debut album Sunburn went double platinum, featuring songs such as “Shimmer” and “Bittersweet” while 2000’s Something Like Human also went double platinum and featured “Hemorrhage (In My Hands). 2003’s Natural Selection went gold, was nominated for a Grammy Award and included the hit “Falls On Me”.

Concert Guide Live caught up with front man Brett Scallions for a little insight on what’s going on with the new Fuel.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: How did the band form?

BRETT SCALLIONS: Fuel began back in the mid-90’s. We were just a group of guys playing at every bar we could, trying to be fulltime musicians. Five or six years ago I started Fuel again and put a new outfit together. They’re all friends of mine that I’ve met over the years.

CGL: How often do you tour now as opposed to before?

Scallions: I haven’t done any tours this year, just getting started for the summer. Last year we were on the road 75% of the year. This year I’m pulling the reigns back a little bit, just doing enough shows to have fun getting my rocks off and giving the fans a good time.

CGL: Do you play old stuff or new?

Scallions: We do clusters from different records. We try to put a little of something from each album in there.

CGL: How is the rock star life different from then and now, for you?

Scallions: The industry is different now. It used to be that you would invest around $250,000 on a record and now you try to keep it under $50,000. These days the artists have to split the bill on making the record for the most part. You’re not sending in demos anymore, you’re sending in albums.

CGL: What do you think makes a band good?

Scallions: Persistence. You can’t just sit in a room and write five songs and then stop and rely on those five songs. You have to continue to hone your craft. Practice your instrument. Just keep practicing, performing and writing with the band.

CGL: What’s your favorite tour memory?

Scallions: I’ve toured around the world, and with Rob Krieger of The Doors for a number of years. I was with them at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France on Jim Morrison’s birthday lighting candles with those guys, then doing a show at Olympic Theatre that night. There’s too many amazing memories to pinpoint just one.

CGL: What do you do in your spare time?

Scallions: I’m a father with two boys, 5 and 8. I do father stuff like coach their sports teams from time to time. I love being a dad and just having fun with that. I do voiceover work for commercials and things like that. I try to keep myself busy doing fun things.

CGL: What’s the hardest part of being a parent?

Scallions: There are so many different little things about being a parent. I have to raise a couple of men. Teaching them respect. Teaching them manners, right from wrong. It can be challenging at times because us boys like to get into trouble. It’s a good time being a parent, though. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

CGL: Does global warming exist?

Scallions: I do believe in global warming. I think we all need to take care of the earth and preserve this land so our children’s children’s children’s children can enjoy it too.

CGL: What do you do for your part?

Scallions: I try to reduce our carbon footprint as much as I can. I don’t use plastic bottles that much anymore. I have a water bottle we refill on a daily basis.

CGL: How often do you shampoo?

Scallions: (Laughs) Two to three times a week.

CGL: What inspires you to write?

Scallions: Life inspires me. I like to reflect on how things make me feel and write about it and hope that it does the same for the listener. I can’t write about something that I don’t know about.

CGL: How are the shows different now?

Scallions: I’m 44 now so I don’t run around as much as I used to. At the same time, I am more focused on the actual performance and playing. I’m not banging on guitar like I used to as much. I focus more on a quality show.

Fat White Family and Gateway Drugs Double Punch Constellation Room

FAT WHITE FAMILY

FAT WHITE FAMILY at The Constellation Room Apr. 14 photo: Andy Ortega

The best shows, I believe, always start the same way: lead singer with a beer in their hand and fringe on their shirt. Well, maybe not all the best shows, but Fat White Family began their Apr. 14 show at The Constellation room just that way.

The six-piece group of English-born punks (in attitude and in musical style) covered the tiny room in what can only be described as the rebirthing of the UK punk sound we’ve all been missing. Although having only put out two albums, Champagne Holocaust (2013) and Songs for our Mothers (2016), the band holds their presence on the stage like any musical veteran.

Even if the band’s lead singer, Lias Saoudi, hadn’t been adorned in fringe, he definitely owned the stage, fluctuating his voice from a siren-type screech and immediately transitioning back to a deep, sultry growl. Both guitarists were not only perfectly in sync with each subtle lyrical change, but were also able to make an echo effect with singer Saul Adamczewski’s voice, creating a beauty of singing notes from each strum.

While already connecting intimately with the audience, the singer pulled down the mic stand and got on his knees to be eye level with the dancing crowd.

FAT WHITE FAMILY

FAT WHITE FAMILY at The Constellation Room photo: Andy Ortega

Members Saul Adamczewski (Guitar, vocals), Severin Black (Drums), Adam J Harmer (Guitar), Taishi Nagasaka (Bass), Lias Saoudi (Lead vocals) and Nathan Saoudi (Organ) are bringing back the post punk culture one gig at a time.

Fat White Family definitely didn’t do all of the fame stealing that night, though. The opening band, Gateway Drugs, was the perfect beginning, starting off with an almost surf-rock meets indie-punk style.

The female-fronted band began with soft, breathy vocals, which silenced the enraptured audience, followed by an explosive lead guitar that brought the vibe of punk to the stage.

The band consists of siblings Gabe, Noa, and Liv Niles, along with Blues Williams. If you’re looking for a band that captures all of your surf rock, punk-filled rage and Morrison-esque sex appeal, this is the band for you.

Each member, aside from the bassist, took their chance at vocals, one-by-one proving their multitalented abilities. Gateway Drugs are definitely addicting and, once you’ve seen them, expect to find their songs lingering on your “recently played” list.