CONCERT REVIEW: Coby Brown Plays with Heart @ Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

Written by Jessica Klausing

 From left to right: David Immerglück, Coby Brown, and Jonny Flaugher. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

From left to right: David Immerglück, Coby Brown, and Jonny Flaugher. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Coby Brown treated fans to a beautiful, laid-back set in the intimate Second Stage Room at Hollywood’s Hotel Café on Thursday.

Brown is no stranger to the Hollywood music scene. He’s a composer and songwriter who’s had his work featured in numerous films and TV shows; most recently he completed the score for the biopic, “The Man Who Knew Infinity.”  Brown himself is a proficient performer. He exudes tremendous ease on guitar while his soft, pure voice delivers humble lyrics. His band for the night – Jonny Flaugher (upright bass) and David Immerglück (guitar, mandolin, and backing vocals) play like they have been performing all their lives with Brown, moderating their instruments to keep the vocals in the forefront while laying down solos when called for.

 Jonny Flaugher photo by Jessica Klausing.

Jonny Flaugher photo by Jessica Klausing.

The opener, “Sunday,” set a mellow tone for the rest of the night. Flaugher’s heavy bass supports Brown’s lyrical narrative as well as his crisp guitar chops. His lyrics are plainspoken but evocative as he sings, “Don’t you talk to me like a dead man/Cause I can do anything you can.”

Brown is an acoustic folk artist, but more importantly, he’s a keen observer able to capture the singer-songwriter genre in the personal stories the lyrics tell, and the sensitive, emotional accompaniment of his band.

 David Immerglück photo by Jessica Klausing.

David Immerglück photo by Jessica Klausing.

After a relatively laid back slew of songs, the energy started to pick up on “Living Proof,” with Immerglück’s rousing solo on his red Jazzmaster. He then traded in guitar for the mandolin on “Call and Answer.”

The highlight of the set was “Hospital,” in which Brown strikes an emotional chord through the anxious feelings of fear, the desperation for comfort, and to find a way out of a bad situation. The band followed with “Cigarettes,” a sweeping, honest ballad that captures the pain of watching someone destroy their life through a substance addiction. Brown laments, “Take something beautiful/ fill it up with hate.”

 Coby Brown photo by Jessica Klausing.

Coby Brown photo by Jessica Klausing.

Brown closed with “Lived To Tell the Story,” a fitting ending to sum up his experiences to learn from past mistakes in order to move on.

When the evening finally came to an end, Coby Brown and his band left to a roar of applause, ample evidence of a show well done. There’s a soothing sensation that hits you when they first start playing and a satisfaction when they end, and the time between those moments is filled with a sense of trying to make sense of all the loss and heartbreak in life. And for an evening, while we still may not be able to make sense of the pain, it’s comforting to know that things will be alright somehow.

SETLIST:
Sunday
Come On, It's Time to Go
Living Proof
2 Way Street
Without You
Call and Answer
Hospital
21st Century
Cigarettes
Tokyo
Lived To Tell the Story