Leon Bridges Bares Soul @ LA's Greek Theatre

By Jessica Klausing

Leon Bridges photo by Jessica Hanley. Credit to  Buzzbands.la

Leon Bridges photo by Jessica Hanley. Credit to Buzzbands.la

The Los Angeles stars shined bright for Leon Bridges on his Good Thing tour stop at the Greek Theatre. Bridges brings to life a carefree nostalgic vibe with his 60’s inspired R&B grooves, soothing soulful voice, elegant ‘classic man’ apparel, and romanticized storytelling. The sold out crowd were in for quite a treat.

Khruangbin photo by Jessica Hanley. Credit to  Buzzbands.la

Khruangbin photo by Jessica Hanley. Credit to Buzzbands.la

Supporting act Khruangbin warmed up the crowd with their infectious Middle Eastern and psychedelic musical blends. Bass player Laura Lee grabbed the audience’s attention from the get go with her seductive vocals and hypnotic stage movements while guitarist Mark Speer and drummer Donald Ray “DJ” Johnson Jr. fueled the rhythm. The band is currently on tour in support of their second album, Con Todo El Mundo.

At approximately 9:25P, Leon Bridges and his band took stage dressed in matching chic white overall jumpsuits. A bright gold ‘LB’ banner lit up against a midnight blue crushed velvet curtain backdrop. The stage setting looked more like the interior to a snazzy Jazz club rather than an outdoor amphitheatre. Bridges was all blazing smiles as he crooned right into to the silky smooth opener, “If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be).”

Leon Bridges performs at LA’s Greek Theatre. Photo by Jessica Hanley. Credit to  Buzzbands.la

Leon Bridges performs at LA’s Greek Theatre. Photo by Jessica Hanley. Credit to Buzzbands.la

“Tonight let’s groove out! Don’t be scared to dance!” Bridges exclaimed as he busted a few smooth moves before serenading right into “Bad Bad News” off his newest release, Good Thing.

The talented retro- soul singer had the adoring crowd within the palm of his hand as he performed beautiful ballads such as “Brown Skin Girl” and his trademark hit, “Coming Home.” Throughout the entire evening fans swayed back and forth bellowing out the lyrics with as much passion as Bridges himself.

During “Beyond” Bridges held out the microphone while the audience cried out, “Space and time in the afterlife/Will she have my kids? Will she be my wife?/She might just be my everything and beyond.”

The biggest highlight of the night was John Mayer joining Bridges onstage for a bluesy rendition of “Mrs.” The crowd went wild as Mayer shredded into an intense guitar solo mid song. After the surprise adrenaline rush, it was time to slow things down with the reflective, “Flowers.”

As Bridges exited the stage, the audience roared for “one more song!” Luckily their wish was granted and then some. Bridges and his band returned for not one, but two more songs! The first encore was a beautiful rendition of “River” featuring Brides on an acoustic guitar with his backup singers. Cell phone flashlights lit up the theatre like a swarm of fireflies in the night.

Bridges had one more surprise left for his fans. John Mayer returned onstage to close out the evening with “Mississippi Kisses.”  Mayer wailed on his guitar as Bridges collapsed on his knees, howling out into the night sky. Mayer’s extended guitar solo carried on even as fans headed out of the theatre.

Leon Bridges’ stage presence and ability to draw in a crowd, through his lyrical and narrative performance is unlike any that I have seen. If you are into a lively show that gets you up on your feet, singing your heart out, and overall leaving you wanting just one more song this is the tour for you.

SETLIST:
If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)
Bad Bad News
Better Man
Shy
Coming Home
Beyond
Ana
Georgia To Texas
Forgive You
Lions
You Don’t Know
Lisa Sawyer
Hold On
Brown Skin Girl
Mrs.
Smooth Sailin’
Flowers
ENCORE:
River
Mississippi Kisses

CONCERT REVIEW: Static and Surrender 'Electrifies' @ Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

Written by Jessica Klausing

Static and Surrender. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Static and Surrender. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Bay area rockers Static and Surrender are on tour throughout California in honor of their debut album release. Their energetic riffs and rhythms are on par with the alternative superstar acts such as Lifehouse and Matchbox Twenty. Jeff Campbell (lead vocals, guitar) backed by John Schuman (drums), Adam Schuman (guitar, vocals), and Lauren Stockner (bass player) – all stars in their own right – delivered a passionate performance at Hollywood’s Hotel Café.

Jeff Campbell puts his heart and soul into each song and it shows. He kept the set running smoothly and without interruption for the majority of the night. Opening up with “Killing The Vibe” Campbell belts a powerful vocal delivery that commands the attention in a room while his bandmates exerted lighting-in-a-bottle energy around the small stage with ease.

Jeff Campbell. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Jeff Campbell. Photo by Jessica Klausing

With such a strong reaction from the crowd, the level of energy and intensity only grew with each song.  The next song, “If Only We Could Sleep” was no exception.  John Schuman pounded the drums as if his very life depended on it! His intensity was so great, that at one point, he had accidentally knocked over his microphone stand.

As the night continued, the crowd was introduced to more memorable tunes including the bluesy rollicking “Not Another Dime,” the ever so catchy “Fall On The Blade,” and the melancholic “Slow Crash.”

The brooding guitar anthem “You Won’t Remember Me” prompted a crowd sing-a-long. Despite the song being new, the crowd jumped right in with the chorus, “I got high! So high!”

“Just Because” followed with a stripped down funky rhythm courtesy of Adam Schuman and Lauren Stockner. Campbell explained that the song is about society’s expectations for us to find love, marry, and procreate.

Static and Surrender perform at Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Static and Surrender perform at Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing

The tempo slowed back down for “Mary Shelley,” a thoughtful and soul searching song just before revving the guitars back up for a spirited rendition of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.”

Ending with “The Very Long Night,” Static and Surrender put on an electrifying performance overall.

Check out Static and Surrender’s debut album. If you get the chance to see them live, do it! Very few artists have that special knack to sound better live than in the studio. Static and Surrender is definitely one of those bands that kick it up a notch in the live shows.

SETLIST:
Killing The Vibe
If Only We Could Sleep
Not Another Dime
Fall On The Blade
Slow Crash
You Won’t Remember Me
Just Because
Mary Shelley
Moonage Daydream (David Bowie cover)
The Very Long Night