East Of Eli At The Troubadour, Saturday March 18th 2017
The Troubadour was presenting an all-age showcase of new bands on Saturday night, and if I was invited to see the last performer, East of Eli, I arrived just in time to check out Melted Vinyl a band which seemed decided to revive 70s rock & roll in all its glory. They had a led Zeppelin vibe with big guitars and Wolfgang King’s strong vocals, going sometimes metal-ish with flying hair and an arena rock ambition, and they got Official Motörhead and KISS’ Gene Simmons approvals, so what else can they hope for?
Talking about arena rock, State to State, the next band to play, also had a huge sound with a more 90s oriented ambiance, I would even say I immediately got an there-is-some-Interpol-in-the-guitar strong vibe, then a Radiohead melodic texture during the next song. The rest of the set had the same strong ambitions with ambient guitars and atmospheric rock, so may be you should catch them before they fill up large venues because this is exactly the type to go really big.
The crowd was very young and I guess a lot of them were here to see East of Eli fronted by Nathan West, an actor musician who had multiple roles in famous TV series like Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, That ‘80s Show, 7th heaven… The fact that his wife Chyler Leigh (who has a recurrent role in the TV series Supergirl) joined him on stage for a few songs (as it was announced on social media) brought a lot of ‘awwwww’ and other ‘oh my god’ from the young crowd, totally in awe with the young couple.
The music was very pop oriented with vibrating guitars which were curiously launching a sort of U2 vibe at times, while Nathan West was bouncing on stage, and crouching in front of a crowd of wide-eyed young women. He was charming and very approachable, making eye contact with everyone, while dancing at the sound of a aerial electro pop of ‘Crazy Beautiful’, a very hooky tune that he performed in a restless motion. The songs were light and bouncy, showcasing West’s vocals, and often begging for a sing along. Many of them were building an emotional and climatic chorus that undoubtedly make them radio-ready, and the way he was leaning toward each girl in the front row, singing while looking at their eyes, definitively did add sweet layers to the seductive part of the show.
The crowd couldn’t contain its enthusiasm when his wife Chyler Leigh appeared on stage to sing a few songs, among them a cover of the Police’s ‘Message in a Bottle’, and ‘Nowhere’, a powerful pop song bringing up waving arms and this time, a heartfelt sing-along. The duo released the song just in time for Valentine’s Day, as the second single from ‘Lost Transmission’, East of Eli’s first album. It is a tribute to their 15-year marriage, and West’s love letter to Chyler, a love story/miracle in Hollywood, and obviously, everyone likes a love story. They indulged us with a few classics, such as Eric Clapton’s ‘Wonderful Tonight’, and later on Chris Isaac’s ‘Wicked Game’, but the rest of the show was equally sweet, even acoustic-quiet with the collected ‘Love Lit the Sky’, an original track they released under the WestLeigh trademark, while a few more electro-pop solo numbers installed a bright funky vibe, successively flirting with disco, a hip hop delivery or even a stadium-rock-cascading-drums sound, during the title track, ‘Lost in Transmission’.
East of Eli’s unique blend of electro-acoustic-pop with a modern twist charmed the Troubadour crowd, and the music has already gained success, being recognized with American Songwriter, and performances at House of Blues and Soho House. The date at the Troubadour was their first 2017 show and there’s actually a beautiful story behind the album title, ‘Lost Transmission’: it’s actually a NASA-inspired title, and a message addressed to West’s son, who deals with ADHD and Aspergers, but who gives all his attention to music. With East of Eli, everything seems to be about family, and some if their heartfelt songs could well be the hit of your summer.
Hail The Queen
Message in a Bottle
Love Lit the Sky
Lost in Transmission