Still Corners (and the not-so-still Night) at the Roxy

Last night Still Corners performed to a (not-so-still) audience at the Roxy. The first day of fall in Los Angeles was warm, yet gusty, with winds like no other blowing about Sunset Blvd. all through the night. I hadn’t been to the Roxy in over a year, and looked forward to making the trip to this iconic Hollywood institution on a Thursday evening. Many people of all ages from moms to middle schoolers came out to catch this London-based synth-pop group.

I arrived in time for opening act, Kid Bloom. This valley-grown group got the crowd grooving to their psych-pop tunes. Although the singer was stretching a little in his vocal abilities, he did his best to make up for it by running his hands through his beachy shoulder-length hair and lifting his shirt in singing agony multiple times. The crowd didn’t seem to mind.

Tour-mate Foxes in Fiction took the stage next and changed up the atmosphere with dreamy visual soundscapes. He appeared to play one continuous piece of music that were three individual tracks and was cut off slightly abruptly by the punk stage manager.

Still Corners opened with Strange Pleasures, and the audience responded almost immediately. Overall, their tracks are largely mellow, danceable at times, but something I’d intuitively sway to. Those who pre-gamed had very different instincts. A small group of people in the middle of the audience made it their mission to take the spotlight from the performers by being loud, shouting requests, bumping into people, and even attempting to stage dive at one point. Another young man slurred comments into my ear for a part of the show, and wouldn’t stop talking until I moved, and even after that onto his next victim. And I know  most of this is my own judgment and even projection. Maybe there’s a part of me that would like to uninhibitedly let loose and feel the music THAT much. But where’s the line between sharing enthusiasm with a performer and being downright obnoxious? I’d love to hear your thoughts! (Yes, YOU!)

Still Corner’s show was absolutely breathtaking, even with the audience distractions. I particularly enjoyed the closing performance of The Trip. They came out for a soft encore and just like that the night was over, and the Roxy spat us out into the breeze-filled night.

Watch Still Corners play The Trip here:

 

 

Small Black

I went to see Small Black at the Roxy in Hollywood on Friday, October 23. IMG_1558This was my first time going to a concert solo, so I was excited to see how the night would unfold. A solo act opened for them, followed by psych-pop threesome, Painted Palms. So far, flying solo appeared to be a good choice. The only awkward times really were between the sets, which I spent just grabbing another drink or on my phone…and then it began to sink in that the only one who thought I was being awkward was myself, and I put the phone away. There was something nice about not having to talk and having a full-on music experience. I hadn’t been to the Roxy in years. In fact, the last band I saw there may very well have been my friend from high school’s punk band, whose name I’m blanking on at the moment. I even struck up a conversation with a young man wearing deer antlers, which I wouldn’t have done had I brought a friend, and went up to an older gentleman whom I recognized from the Craft Spells show at the Echo about a month prior. He was clutching his collection of Small Black records no doubt awaiting for a moment in which he could get them all signed. He did the same thing at Craft Spells and it was adorable. He commented on my good taste in music. In addition, a man just started talking to me who turned out to be a musician as well and was new to the area. To measure my experience in social success, I earned one new Facebook friend and Instagram follower.
I love going to shows where you’re so close to the band you can feel their sweat dripping on you, and this was the case for Small Black’s set, as I made my way to the front of the stage. They played a lot of their new songs off “Best Blues” with a few classics woven in. Singer and keyboardist, Josh Kolenik’s voice was ethereal yet energized, as he displayed much hand and leg movement. He was clearly in his zone and was engaging with the crowd, while the guitarist shoe-gazed most of the night. The energy sustained from the opening act to Despicable Dogs, to the encore in which they played my favorite song of theirs, Photojournalist, as part of their two-song encore. I was elated, and I sensed the crowd was as well. Before leaving, I decided to check out the merch table, and, to my excitement, Josh was there personally handling the transactions. I struck up a brief conversation with him and shared my excitement in seeing them live and in the songs they played. I purchased Best Blues on vinyl, and to my great appreciation, he signed it for me. It’s safe to say I went home feeling anything but the blues.
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