Liv Sligerland, Bobby Blunders, YIP YOPS, Lauren Ruth Ward, At Chinatown Summer Nights, Saturday July 1st 2017
Once a month, Chinatown offers a summer night of music hosted by BuzzBands LA and I got to check out a few upcoming bands last Saturday night.
If I missed the first band playing, Lovers&Poets, I arrived almost at the end of Liv Sligerland’s set, a pretty young blonde (who plays in Lauren Ruth Ward’s band) with an energizing guitar and a bright voice, going from aggressive bluesy riffs to more upbeat rock-pop songs… She was quite straightforward in her delivery and sounding very clear and natural, and if I didn’t hear much of her set, she seemed to go for the big and powerhouse rock anthems.
The next band Livingmore was fronted by the elegant Alex Moore, singing charming and catchy pop songs with a sort of folksy vibe and a crystalline voice. Her white suit and silver boots gave them a glamour alt-country style while her big bright vocals was almost a perfect mix of Beth Orton and Jenny Lewis’ voices,… not a bad combination to start with, although I even got a Blondie-like feel during their first song. There were some big harmonies with the help of guitarist Spencer Livingston, and they also could go into some slight distortion or slow down for ethereal Beatles-esque hooky melodies. They say they have drawn their inspiration from Garbage, The Kinks and Belle and Sebastian, which is really vast and open, and they will soon release their debut album ‘ Ok To Land’
Bobby Blunders was much more intriguing and puzzling, a large multi-instrumented and multi-voiced band with echoes of funk, dub, psychedelic bits and slight dissonance with sudden accelerations and vaporous male-female vocals. They had grooves but rarely any hooks but this wasn’t what they were looking for, they were rather looking for the sonic adventure that they call ‘cosmic comfort music’.
The members of YIP YOPS were amazingly young for their retro sound, a mix of 80s dance/dark new wave/punk with tons of synth and guitar, combined with a high-energy frontman. I immediately wanted to call them mini LCD Soundsystem because they had that exact same vibe on certain songs, although I have never seen James Murphy jump this high with a guitar! Their retro dance-punk synth was mixing elements of funk and punk with infectious dance beats, while lead vocalist Ison Van Winkle’s dark croon was extraordinary mature for his young age,… and this can explain the comparisons with INXS’ Michael Hutchence and Jim Morrison. Plus, their songs were complex with unexpected developments borrowing from the past from gothic tones to dance grooves, but still bringing plenty of originality. Born and raised in Indio, the young band has already earned a slot at the Coachella-affiliated Tachevah Block Party in 2014, and they very well could be the next big thing.
I had already the pleasure to see Lauren Ruth Ward once, and since she has played around a few times since, I was sure I would eventually catch her live again. She is truly a great performer, charming and sexy, with an expressive and smoky voice, as she often goes all-stretched arms above the audience. The LA Weekly recently called her a mix of Janis Joplin and Courtney Barnett, and with her 70s hippie style, her long hair flying with each of her moves and her smoking hot good look, it was very easy to be seduced by her emotive and passionate songs, whose titles such as ‘Make Love to Myself’ or ‘Blue Collar Sex Kitten’ were as bold as her sexually-charged moves, while the music could have drawn part of its inspiration to the same decade than her clothes. She was dancing, smiling and flying over the crowd, touching everyone like the dreamy frontgirl she managed to be with grace and ease. Should I also say she is Laura Pergolizzi’s (aka LP) sweetheart? She opened for her recently in Los Angeles and they have to be the most interesting dynamo female duo in town.