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

CONCERT REVIEW: Szlachetka's Heart Of My Hometown @ Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

Written by Jessica Klausing

 Szlachetka and his band perform at Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

 Szlachetka and his band perform at Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Szlachetka (pronounced SLA-HET-KA) is out on tour in support of his new album release, Heart Of My Hometown. Rolling Stone Magazine praised the album citing Szlachetka as a ‘New Country Artist to Know.’ That was evident as many Angelinos packed into the Second Stage venue at Hollywood’s Hotel Café on Wednesday night. The music was Americana roots rock superb, the storytelling honed the heartland spirit, and with the added chemistry of Szlachetka’s full band— it was transcendence into musical nirvana.

The minute Szlachetka crooned into the steel guitar opener “Algebra” the audience knew it was on a heartfelt journey. Bathed in blue stage lights and clad in a button up faded shirt and jeans, Szlachetka exemplified raw emotion and musical prowess. Delicate guitar strums coupled with rich, warm vocals. Electric guitars cranked up for the rock n’ roll road trip anthem, “Ready To Run Again,” forcing everyone up on their feet.

 Szlachetka photo by Jessica Klausing.

 Szlachetka photo by Jessica Klausing.

Szlachetka followed with the titular, “Heart Of My Hometown,” which prompted many cheers from the audience. Szlachetka bids farewell to his home place in route to a new adventure as he sings, “Farewell/ don’t look back just make ‘em proud/ No matter where I go/can’t let go to the heart of my hometown.”

Szlachetka’s talented bandmates had their own time to shine in the set: Dave “Mustang” Lang (organ, keyboards) brought out the funky soul swag in the Ry Cooder cover of “Jesus On the Mainline,” Derek Brown (drums, percussion) and Kurtis Keber (bass) flawlessly held down the rhythm in “Until That Echo,” and Jillinda Palmer (vocals) and Samantha Smith (vocals) harmonized pitch perfectly in “Don’t You Think It’s Time.”

Heartfelt life lessons were shared in the latter half of the set. “Wildflowers On The Highway” teaches us to look for the beautiful things from the uglier parts in life. In light of the untimely death of a close friend, Szlachetka sorrowfully shares the importance to cherish life in “Cheated Time.”

 Szlachetka closes with "Back Into Your Heart." Photo by Jessica Klausing.

 Szlachetka closes with "Back Into Your Heart." Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Closing with the upbeat “Back Into Your Heart” off the Waits For a Storm to Find album, Szlachetka was greeted with blazing smiles and hearty handclaps as the show came to an end.

Szlachetka performs his eclectic twist on the Americana sub genres, bringing together singer-songwriter sentiments, country western, 1970’s California roots rock, and so much more. His songwriting captures plenty of emotional moments on par with legends like Jackson Browne and Jason Isbell. Szlachetka and his band deliver a top notch intimate performance worthy of a big stadium.

SETLIST:
Algebra
Ready To Run Again
Heart Of My Hometown
Jesus On the Mainline (Ry Cooder cover)
Until That Echo
And I See You Now
Don't You Think It's Time
Giving Back The Best Of Me
Wildflowers On The Highway
Ladder To The Stars
Cheated Time
Back Into Your Heart