Walla, 28 North, and The Parlotones @ The Viper Room

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This Saturday’s (07-13-13) four three-band showcase at the Viper Room on Sunset Strip was buzzing with news of the new: a new EP release, new management, new songs on new albums–there was definitely a charge in the air as the bands went on one after the other and played big on the small but historic stage.

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First up was LA-based synth-pop quintet Walla, whose members all hail from somewhere else: Italy, Indonesia, Brazil, Korea, and Mexico/El Salvador. Frontman with a falsetto Jonathan Hoonch Kim sang with soul as bass player Mauricio Carcamo grooved all over the stage and almost out into the audience. This was their new 4-song EP release (Nature) and showcase event. See them next on 7-25-13 at Hotel Cafe, where you can also catch super groovers The Jason Joseph Quartet every Tuesday night.

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Next up were Pittsburgh “rockternative crunchers” 28 North, who were high (on life) and obviously happy that in addition to lots of fans in the pit, some important dudes in suits were sitting in a booth over in the corner, checking out this honestly flawless show. I had been expecting a boring bar band, but got These Guys Instead: “Purveyor of Joy” frontman Mike Lindner never missed a note and hit more than one Daltrey height, especially as he took on The Who’s epic Won’t Get Fooled Again scream. Holy shit! Can’t believe he pulled that off! Bassist Mark Glinka (who, along with Robin-Zanderesque lead guitarist Taylor Netzler, is from one of my favorite cities: Cleveland) was a cool crackup with his macho rock god moves, yet his playing was spot on and he even showed off some 70s funk slap bass chops just to prove he could. Drummer Tyler Bond’s backing vocals were actually more like co-lead vocals (i.e. similar to what Mike Mills of R.E.M. used to do), giving the tunes a super rich sound. The band’s windblown rocktacious 70s icon hair was something to behold; this is the band to see if you’re feeling down in the dumps and need a pick-me-up. 28 North was voted Best Band in Pittsburgh  2010 and has since hooked up with producer Gavin MacKillop and legendary manager Jerry “The Guy Who Gets There First” Heller. They are working on their breakout record World on Fire to be released by Red River Records/SONY Red/Bob Frank Entertainment on a date TBA. Check out the 28 North blog here. More info on these guys at the Pittsburgh Tribune and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and in the We ♥ Music review of the Viper Room show here.

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Finally, headlining band The Parlotones (not The Parlortones – looks like no one spell checked the Viper Room sign, photo above), pulled up on stage in full paint and fresh neck tats to play old faves and new tunes from their upcoming album Stand Like Giants due to be released soon. The band played the very beautiful* song I’ll Be the Candle live for the first time (in America, at least), and it was interesting to note that the song, maybe the band itself, seems not only to be moving toward an American roots rock sound, but stretching into country western music territory, though arguably the songs most likely to fire up the front row are their 80s-new-wave-ish Life Design and Should We Fight Back. The South African band is heading up to “Best Brewpub in America” The Brew Brothers at the Eldorado Hotel in Reno, Nevada, on July 18** and from there, back to SA, with a world tour on the horizon. Here’s a previous blog post with some background on this internationally-popular band.

p.s. Many thanks to Delia R. for the invite to the band’s soundcheck and the cool soundcheck passes.

*Except for the line, “Night time gobbles up the sun, like some all you can eat buffet not satisfied with a meal for one.” Somehow “gobbles up” and “all you can eat buffet” just do not seem right for this haunting song.

**Nelson Mandela’s birthday; send good vibes his way :-)

Carla

About Carla

Carla Pierce is a writer/photographer living in San Diego. Her work has been published in Fiction International, Redivider Journal, Prime Number Magazine, Northwind, Literary Mama, Metazen, Boston Literary Magazine, Eclectic Flash, and other journals. You can check out her photos at behance.net/carlapierce. Currently she's finishing a novel.
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