This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Phonograph, and Ezra Furman and the Harpoons @ Roxy, 11/12
"If you want to choose us as your new favorite band...we allow that," Ezra Furman grinned. By that point last Wednesday night I was seriously considering it. Well, maybe not favorite, but perhaps in the top ten. I walked into the Roxy that evening expecting not much. I had heard that Phonograph was making their first appearance in Los Angeles and wanted to see how they sounded live. I did not expect to be rocked not once, not twice, but thrice in one evening by people I had never heard of. Perhaps, dear readers, you are more hip and with it and you were already are aware of these three bands' excellence, but I was not.
Ezra Furman and the Harpoons took the stage at around 8:30 and I was immediately transported back to high school. Refreshingly, these boys were not styled in any shape or form. Ezra Furman was wearing a t-shirt with Smiths lyrics written on it in marker. These punkish rockers with their honest, introspective lyrics and delightfully harassed melodies reminded me instantly of the Violent Femmes. Two songs in particular, I Wanna Be Ignored and Take Off Your Sunglasses made me wish (for the first time ever) that I was 16 again and living at home. That way I could blast the Harpoons, annoy my parents, and dream about moving out. If you want to get in touch with your inner teen rebel, give them a listen. (Story continued below gallery)
The lead singer of Phonograph, Matthew Welsh, reminded me of a young Andy Garcia (around the time when he was in Godfather III). Well that is if Andy Garcia had grown up in Tennessee, discovered his inner love of folk, and sang like Elvis Costello. But I digress, Phonograph is the kind of music you would want on a lazy Saturday afternoon hiking in the mountains. It's grandiose, but comforting. It's the kind of music that has a sort of "can do" attitude ingrained in its melodies. You listen to it and are convinced that you could climb anything. However, I would like to pay homage to the guitarist, Abe Seiferth. He was magical on that stage. If anything I would change the name of the band from Phonograph to "Give Abe Another Solo!" It's not often that the man in the plaid fedora steals the show, but he sure did.
Concluding the evening was a young lady in a canary dress and fringed calf skin boots, who brought the house down. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals play the kind of blues that gets right down, past your bones, to your marrow and makes it quiver with delight. I have not seen a small blond woman belt out the blues like that since Dusty Springfield. Honestly! Jenny Lewis would kill to sing with that sort of power and authenticity. Grace Potter gave everything that she possessed into that performance. The only thing that competed with her gorgeous voice was the lead guitarist, who looked like he had been possessed with the spirit of Jimi Hendrix (both musically and aesthetically). And they're from Vermont! Blues from Vermont! It's incredible. The next time this woman comes to town, I am putting on my best my-man-done-me-wrong dress and howling the blues with the rest of 'em.
The photos for this article were taken by the lovely and talented Sandra Vahtel.