The Hype: The release of the New Limb's
debut album, Sounds People Can Hear
, has been a long time coming. Especially after a year of surging popularity, packed local gigs and doting write-ups in all sorts of local papers and magazines (including ours).
All of the buzz came to a head at their album release show at the House of Blues, Anaheim on Saturday. The inventive alt-pop four-piece also put together an extremely eclectic supporting bill, featuring the acoustic guitar and harmonies of Canvas, the soulfully textured indie rock of Kiev, maniacal hip-hop trio BLOK, and boot-stomping retro rockers Mississippi Man.
The Show: Surrounded by swirls of psychedelic strobe light, freakishly large balloons, cascading bubbles and streamers, the shadowy figures of the New Limb swayed, strummed and thrashed for a full crowd of fans anxious to see the band at their finest.
Delivering some prime tracks from their ballyhooed debut, the stylish Costa Mesa four-piece was in top form--and was actually a six-piece, with an extra guitar and bass to flesh out their textured, pop mosaic of thundering rhythms and effects-laden intricacies. Predictably, the band started off with "Autumn Leaves," the album's opening track, featuring gentle guitar and soft, sentimental vocals from lead singer/guitarist Joey Chavez. As most of their songs tend to do, it eventually ended with a crescendo of powerful rock dynamics between drummer Adam Chavez (Joey's little brother), guitarist Dan Perez and keyboardist Lauren Salamone.
Throughout the set, the band's execution was spot-on, especially during the icy delivery of their psych-tinged pop song "Ebb and Flow," a highlight of the album. Echoing vocals and guitar flowed from the stage like smoke rings, roping in spectators on the balcony who swayed along in the darkness. But though crowd favorites like "Birds and Stuff" and "Breathe Tenderly" came to life on stage, there were a few points where it seemed the band chose to focus on playing the recorded version impeccably over interacting with the crowd; the latter is typically a hallmark of their live shows.
Of course much of that vibe melted away when they kicked things up towards the end of the set with the rousing, rapid-fire-guitar track, "Fire Song," with Perez intensifying his guitar-flailing antics enough to make him fall on stage in exhaustion (or maybe dizziness).
Though their original songs were great, the covers sizzled with interactive energy that had been missing. Whether it was the quirky, melodica-filled mash-up of New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" or their encore performance of the Band's "The Weight," TNL's creative renditions sparked a sing-a-long chemistry between them and the crowd that definitely made the room feel smaller and more intimate, which is a great way to end any show.
The Crowd: Packed with a colorful array of beer-swilling bar types, scraggly rockers, fashionable women tightly dressed for a night out and lots of leather jackets.
Overheard: Some guy shouting back to his friends on the walk back to the car, "Hey guys I think I actually grew a new limb tonight!"