March 20, 2014

Brett Dennen @ The Lobero ~ March 20, 2014

photo by paul dunkley

What You Don’t Even Know

I believe everyone has favorites; a favorite color, a favorite food, a favorite sibling. You know what you like, and you gravitate towards it. But what if you may like something and you just don’t know it yet?

This is how I felt seeing Brett Dennen at The Lobero for the first time. “Singer slash Songwriter” isn't my favorite music genre. Not that I have anything against the genre or its musicians, it’s just not my favorite so I don’t gravitate towards it. But I happen to hang out with some musically savvy people who dig Brett Dennen, so I thought I’d give him a gander.  

Brett Dennen is a tall, skinny man with big glasses and red
photo by paul dunkley 
hair. Coming out on stage barefoot, he still stood taller than his bandmates. Upon breaking out in a quirky dance during his first song, the ladies in the audience started screaming. I didn't get it – I thought something must have happened somewhere else in the auditorium. But no, it continued every time Brett did a little wiggle. He really knew how to sell this “I’m just a dork that can sing” thing.  

This leads to the music. The music was quirky and upbeat, like Dennen. The first couple of songs in the set sounded slightly like some other song I had heard – although I couldn't quite place them. I found this to be a bit distracting as I tried to identify the corresponding songs. But as the audience became livelier, I let go of the activity and became more engaged in the performance.

Dennen had a full range of genres covered under his singer slash songwriter umbrella. He started with the mellow guitar melodies, moved into upbeat dancing tunes, crossed over into country, then hit just a patch of rock, before jumping into pop. Then brought it back around once the crowd was up and dancing, taking over the Lobero.

Throughout the 20 plus song set list, Dennen set poetry to music spewing words of wisdom and of lessons learned. Each song seemed to have its owned designated movement to help emphasize its meaning and portray its feeling – which continued to set off the ladies. And although Dennen did not convert me to the singer slash songwriter side, I now know I can appreciate it.    

March 14, 2014

The Blues and Greys @ SOhO ~ March 14, 2014

Bright Lights

photo by paul dunkley

New music isn’t hard to find in Santa Barbara, you just have to look for it. What is hard to find, and not just in SB, is a new refreshing sound. The Blues and Greys are just that.

When Thom Flowers and Jonathon Miller approached Lindsey Ann Waldon to lay down some vocals for them, they thought it would be a brief affair. They realized immediately what a great collaboration they made and decided to commit. Soon after, they enlisted the help of Joey McDermott and Michael Million to fill out the sound and hit the road. Thus you have the Blues and Greys.

photo by paul dunkley
No stranger to Santa Barbara, The Blues and Greys played a headlining show at SOhO to a large audience deeply invested in the music. Waldon’s strong, smooth, feminine voice sounded refreshing against the somewhat new-wave indie rock soundscape. Heavily driven by melodies and keyboards, The Blues and Greys distinguished themselves from the common sound of current indie rock by inducing a somewhat dark, but still upbeat presence. Waldon’s voice remained the constant as they moved through the much too short arrangement off their EP, “Bright Lights.”

The Blues and Greys are a band full of much talent and potential. It has been nice to see the evolution, and see how nicely the band has melded together. They can definitely see the bright lights ahead of them.