By Nate Jackson
After almost three years or wrestling with their debut album Self, the Living Suns finally let their finished product see the light at the House of Blues. When I read the lineup for the band’s record-release party, I had to hand it to the Suns for putting together a great OC/LA indie-rock sampler. Most of the bands on the bill like My Pet Saddle and Cavil at Rest have shared a sweaty stage with them plenty of times on the Fullerton music scene.
By the time I jogged up the stairs of HOB to greet the rowdy bar scene, it was obvious that the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd was liquoring-up to give band a hero’s welcome.
The show opened up with the Union Line and My Pet Saddle as the crowd—draped everything from thigh-high part dresses to Grizzly Adams hipster chic—filed in. If you thought the thick birds-nest beard went out of vogue after the ’70s, then guess again. Though I didn’t make it inside to catch all the action right away, I’m pretty sure the cheers coming from inside meant these groups were doing pretty well.
I did manage to watch the curtains open for south county rockers Cavil at Rest. As the hordes of teenage girls swarmed the front barriers, these guys let loose with a strong set that included “Who’s There,” “Only Son” and “Who Knows, Who Cares.” If you’ve ever watch Cavil play live, then you already know about the clapping, the stomping and the smooth harmonies that are good enough to earn them some doo-wop cred if they ever choose to go down that road. I’m not saying they should; I’m just saying they could. Song after song was charged with infectious, curly-haired spirit.
The band capped things off with a family affair on stage that included some members of the Union Line, My Pet Saddle and the Living Suns in a percussion pow-wow that seems to be becoming all the rage these days. I guess sometimes banging on random shit can really add some spice to a song.
I really can’t stress the greatness of last night’s lineup, especially with the arrival of LA locals the Entrance Band. Having heard a little bit about them, I was eager to see this no-nonsense three piece. Bassist Paz Lenchantin (formerly of A Perfect Circle) along with Guy Blakesley and Derek James threatened to steal the show on more than one occasion. Blakesley led the charge as his wiry frame thrashed to the pounding of bass and drums on the song “Grim Reaper Blues.”
Lenchantin and James took the rhythm section to the forefront of the songs, washing over Blakesley’s politically driven lyrics. “MLK,” a tribute song to civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., had a distinct hint of the Allman Brothers and maybe a dash of CCR. Whatever classic-rock classification you want to use, the Entrance Band gave us the energy of the ’60s with some modern technical tricks.
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Not to be out done, the Living Suns took the stage around 10 o’clock to packed crowd in the pit. As they launched into their set, vocalist Bryan King stirred up a few select badass bros with enough testosterone to churn up a storm in the middle of the floor. Every spot seemed covered in a blur of swirling bodies. Drummer Sean Yakubovsy’s relentlessness pounding matched the bass riffing of Mike Meza on “Man in the Middle.” Though their debut record came out fine, a live show is still the way to see this Fullerton group. The fiery passion they emit on stage shows the promise of a young band that knows how to have fun and put on a good show. New guitarist Joel Bond did a decent job blending into the group, though you could tell he was a bit nervous rocking out for such a large audience.
However, in very anticlimactic fashion, the Living Suns ended their set shortly and promised that yet another band would follow them on stage. Now, maybe it’s just old-fashioned thinking, but shouldn’t the band releasing the CD get the last spot in the show? Nevertheless, Aushua wrapped the night up smoothly with a bouncing basket of hooks and mild stage presence. Even though many people had cleared out, Aushua’s loyal fans stayed to watch.
Personal Bias: Check out my article on the Living Suns in the current OC Weekly. Random Detail: The most badass moment of the night came when a woman who looked like she was in her 50s took a fall while standing near the mosh pit during the Entrance Band. After getting picked up and suit off, she could be seen letting a smile creep up on her face. By The Way: The new Suns album, Self, officially hits the streets as of… July 11.