Review – The Material,Culprit, Barely Blind,Good Morning Orbit & Stanley and The Search @ HOB Sunset Strip – West Hollywood, CA – 12/20/13
Dec 21st, 2013
By Maria Gironas
Category: Barely Blind, Culprit, HOB Sunset Strip, Stanley and The Search, The Material, Written Reviews
Concert Review – Stanley and The Search,
Barely Blind, Culprit, & The Material
@ House of Blues Sunset
There are few things in this world that will stop me from going to a concert, one of which is money. Yeah, I know it’s lame, but you can only take so much ramen on a college budget. So, I always try to scout out for free shows from local musicians, and praise the Lord for Los Angeles natives Culprit, who threw on a great show this past Thursday night, with the help of some new and old friends.
Being born and raised in Southern California, the only House of Blues I have ever been to is the one in Anaheim, and I was so stoked to finally get to see the Sunset blues. Driving through the rain and LA traffic proved to be a struggle as I basically saw my life flash before my eyes during the entire drive over, but once parked in the $20 valet (There were cheaper places to park, I just seriously could not handle another moment in my car after the hot mess that was rain and LA traffic), I walked into the stunning HOB Sunset, greeted by a surprisingly medium sized crowd. Overall, the atmosphere was pretty standoffish, as clearly people came to the show with one or two other people.
Due to the traffic, I walked into Good Morning Orbit’s set as they played their last song, which left me literally heart broke. Especially after I had recently listened to their spectacular album “Shooting Stars and Satellites”, available for free on Noisetrade. It was to late in the song to tell what it was, but I definitely hope to check out one of their shows in the future.
Pop-punk band Stanley and The Search was up next on stage and came in completely hyped and ready to, as the leader singer put eloquently, “Fucking party.” I heard about the band through friends and they actually have a pretty large following in Southern California, but their set didn’t excite me as much as I hoped. Though they had great energy and stage presence, most of their songs blended into each other and there was a weird mix going on with the bass and guitars. The bass especially sounded really, in a word, gross. From what the amp was giving off, the bass was slightly distorted, that sounded like it could be a volume or mechanical issue. As their set progressed, I couldn’t tell when a song began or ended unless they completely stopped playing to transition to the next. On the other hand, you could tell these guys were grateful to play and gave their heart out. I just wish I could appreciate their music more, but with the lack of cohesion between the string instruments it was a little hard.
Texas natives Barely Blind hit the stage and it only took me five maybe seven seconds to know I was going to really like their music. Some of the greatest alternative rock music comes out of Texas and you could see why through these boys. Lead singer Brad Cuccio brought a phenomenal vocal tone to the music and rocked back and forth like Elvis Presley with his guitar hugged against his chest. The band was completely in sync to each other’s movements and had clean cut-offs. It was also nice to see the band members smile as they played, I could appreciate the focus needed for playing, but there simple expression really made their music all the more enjoyable. If you love alternative rock, it is a must to check out a show with them, solely for the fact of how fantastic their music is.
Now the set I was waiting for all night was Culprit, as I fell in love with their recent EP titled “Totem”, released this year. It was my first time seeing them live, and I almost didn’t recognize them until I saw bass guitarist Zach Blumenfeld’s cool mustache, no really it’s pretty awesome. Lead singer Travis Powell put a lot of energy into their songs, with riffs and small vocal runs/harmonies here and there. Not too much in the stage presence department for this band, as I felt they all stayed in the same spot as they started started the show in, but they movements with dynamic breaks in their songs helped with that.
Last band of the night was the much anticipated The Material, and by they end of their set, I was completely blown away as to how talented they are. It was like Jimmy Eat World and Thrice had a baby, making The Material. Lead singer Colleen D’Agnostino kept a strong stage presence the entire set and wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable to the music. She was often seen bending over holding her stomach or raising her non-mic hand in the air. Everyone in the band was on their game and prancing the stage to the length of their instrument cables, they didn’t even let standing still be an option. The mix of the band itself was about equal to Barely Blinds set, which made me happy because nothing over powered the other, and I almost think D’Agnostino’s vocals could stand on their own without a microphone. Another cool things about this set was that they even had a little drum off with a separate bass drum on stage. This was a great, great set and I hope to see The Material again in the near future.
Overall, HOB Sunset was where everyone should have been this past Friday night, as what better way to celebrate the spirit of Christmas than supporting local music? Each band gave their heart to the audience and I couldn’t be more happy to be part of such a great show. By the end of the night, the entire floor of the HOB Sunset was filled with people, some moshing and some with heavy head bobbing skills that reminds us that though each of us celebrate music a little differently.