An Affair to Remember
Streetlight Affair guitarist George Bernal is 31 years old, having played in bands since he was 14. The three other permanent members of the group—singers Doll Knight and Keila Morris and vocalist/guitarist Calvin Pijlman—are all in their first band, having either just started their senior year at Orange County High School of the Arts or graduated this year. Makes for a weird dynamic, right?
“When it comes to music, with these guys, there’s no difference,” Bernal says. “There are bands I never thought that they would know, but they knew: the Dears, Elbow.”
Streetlight Affair came together about a year ago, meeting through mutual friends and immediately clicking as a unit—Bernal says that within their first week together, they wrote about 20 complete songs. They’ve recorded an acoustic EP and self-titled full-length album and set up shop at Santa Ana boutique the Lucky Owl, where they’ve recorded in a makeshift bathroom studio and hosted monthly concerts.
A lot of bands pride themselves on being musically diverse, but Streetlight Affair back that claim up in a very obvious way: It’s hard not to sound diverse with three richly distinctive main vocalists, who share vocal duties equally. On album tracks such as “Ok,” this triumvirate works splendidly on both harmonies and separate verses. “Bite Out of the Sun” (the first song they wrote together) is a sunny, inspirational track that sounds like it would fit right at home around a campfire.
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You can call their music “folk,” but it’s fuller and more layered than the stripped-down aesthetic that genre tag implies. Live, Streetlight Affair often add missing pieces such as a bassist and drummer, swelling up to seven musicians onstage.
“It’s all a learning process for them,” Bernal says. “It gets a little difficult for me, but the fact that they’re so talented makes me want to stick with it.”
Streetlight Affair acoustic set at Alta Coffee, 506 31st St., Newport Beach, (949) 675-0233. Sat., 8 p.m. Free. All ages. Streetlight Affair can be found online at www.myspace.com/streetlightaffair.
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