The Bluffs are used to people calling them a party band. Not just because of their predilection for loud, floor-stomping indie rock a la Dr. Dog. Often times the party just follows them, even in the most unlikely venues. Like the time they accidentally started a mosh pit in a sushi restaurant.
"When we first started out as a band, we played this sushi restaurant in Tustin twice," guitarist/vocalist Nate Bennett says. Clearing out the tables for a their late night show, the owners of the restaurant likely had zero clue and out what they were getting themselves into. "The first time we played, nobody cared, but then somehow the second time a ton of people showed up and started moshing."
"The owners got really pissed and we never did that again," vocalist/guitarist Zach Baldwin.
Three years later, the Costa Mesa/Lake Forest based band are still inviting twentysomethings at their bar shows to jump around, swig some cheap beer and sing a chorus or two. Except for bassist Nick Bennett--he's still 19 and still gets booted by security moment the band's done playing. But when they're all up on stage, the mesh of Baldwin's gritty howl over Sean Murray's smashing drums and smooth harmonies of Bennett and his brother/guitarist Nathan makes them an exciting young band to watch.
The Bennetts and Baldwin started out as friends at Estancia high school, hanging out after the final bell in this little area next to Fairview Park near the school called "the bluffs"--hence the name. Gradually forming into the current lineup, one thing they've all managed to do is grow in harmony--well, harmonies anyway. On newer songs like "Love Yourself," released last May, catchy multi-layered vocals have become a staple of the band's sound. Something singer/guitarist Baldwin doesn't take credit for. "I don't have very much talent in that department but Nick and Nate just have this perfect harmony. I dunno if it's because they're brothers, but they sound so great together," Baldwin says. "Recently the last couple shows have been so dialed in."
Part of the dialing process was enlisting the help of award-winning OC producer Jon O'Brien, who's taken interest in their band, inviting them to record "Love Yourself" in his new Westminster studio. Given O'Brien's cache as a preeminent producer for bands as well known as Irvine's Young the Giant, it was a trip for the guys to get to spend time with him in the studio.
"It just looks like a house in the back of this shopping center." Baldwin says. "And you go in and it's just a beautiful studio. It's really amazing."
Recently, "Love Yourself" even garnered some radio play from Laguna Beach station KX 93.5 FM.
Over the last couple weeks, The Bluffs are exercising their polished sound at the Wayfarer during their February residency. Tonight, you can see them sharing the stage with Purple Mountains Majesties and Town in the City for the low, low price of free. Test these young lads out and see if songs like "Love Yourself" don't inspire you to love them as well.
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The Bluffs residency at the Wayfarer continues tonight at the Wayfarer with Purple Mountains Majesties and Town in the City. 9 p.m., free, 21+. For for info, click here.