*Tricia Freeman: The Blond-Haired Blues Ambassador of South County
Indie pop act Twin Shadow and LA disco revivalists Poolside took control of the Glass House in Pomona on Saturday night, marrying the sounds of overt emotion and glittery dancefloors for the packed venue to enjoy.
Before George Lewis Jr. and his touring team hit the stage, Poolside set out to give the audience a taste of their slower, more relaxed take on shimmery dance music. Judging by what was coming out of the speakers, it sounded like a group of rogue, disco DJ's from somewhere in the '70s had taken over the place, deciding to bring instruments on stage instead of turntables. Not only did they do well in keeping the audience interested before the main event, but Poolside would have fit in perfectly in Tony Montana's 1983 Miami as well. We mean that as a compliment, as Poolside did a fantastic job of representing bygone times of disco balls, loud outfits, and coked-up lounge lizards.
Twin Shadow hit the stage to a detonated explosion of cheers and claps, and broke right away into song. During the initial strums and strokes of instruments, tracks like "Five Seconds," "Golden Light," and "Patient" overflowed with emotion and well-tuned power. The studio versions sounded docile in comparison. During his live act, Lewis seems to make sure the guitars are up close and personal and served as the meat and potatoes of the show. Last night, the axes on stage sounded like they could withstand the efforts of finger-meddling maestros and unmitigated moshing, bouncing back and forth between small breaks showcasing Lewis' ability to craft riffs grand enough for stadiums and festivals. Even the drums sounded heavy enough for the beat to pounce and barrel through your chest. Basically, just take what you hear on a CD or MP3, add some real crunch and balls to it, and you have a Twin Shadow show.
Along with the added roar and rumble of the live instrumentation, the same emotion present on Forget and Confess was alive and effective as Lewis and his band recreated the scenarios and scenes of his music. Whether it was "Slow" or "Run My Heart," the emotional intensity was simply streaming from Lewis and his demeanor. Even the to-the-beat movements of his lower body helped drive the songs' messages and sentiments into reality. The lyrical body of the performance sounded dreary and hungover from times of heartbreak and love-life turbulence, and it was translated superbly to last night's onlookers.
Before wrapping up the show -- and the proceeding encore performance of "Forget" -- Lewis placed his guitar back by the drum-kit and the motorcycle, and launched into a somber, heartfelt performance of "I Don't Care." As the audience stood silent and attentive, Lewis admirably uttered the vocals, and kept control of the crowd until the very last verse. Sure, it's not like people were passing around tissues to soak up their tears, but at the very least it was obvious that people in the crowd cared quite a bit about the magic happening in front of them.
Critic's Bias: Confess must be one of my favorite releases of this year.
Random Notebook Dump: We need more places to play songs like G.O.O.D. Music's "Mercy" and The Dream-Pusha T collaboration "Coke Bitch" in between sets. Seriously, Glass House guys, good choices.
Overheard in the Crowd: People singing along to songs like "Take Care" and "Mercy" during the intermission before Twin Shadow's set. Follow us on Twitter @OCWeeklyMusic and Like us on Facebook Heard Mentality.