Last Night: the New Limb with the Union Line, Gypsy Lounge, Lake Forest

The Hype: The New Limb's genre-bending brand of indie rock earned the Costa Mesa four-piece a Top 5 finish at the OC Music Awards this past March, a growing following and, most recently, a Thursday residency at Gypsy Lounge running through December.

The Show: The New Limb casually took command of the stage in front of a near-full house at Gypsy Lounge Thursday. They were at ease with their music and the audience, playing highly melodic indie rock marked by unexpected twists. Lead singer/rhythm guitarist Joey Chavez has a warm, reedy voice that works as both a whisper and a controlled scream. With keyboardist Lauren Salamone, drummer Adam Chavez and lead guitarist Danilo Perez lending their respective voices, the choruses became rich, endearing swells. On record, the band's songs simmer but never really boil over. Not the case live–at least not last night. Maniacally alternating between striking rock god poses and messing with his effects pedal board like a mad scientist, Perez soloed with assured precision, firing off richly distorted notes that shot through the room like starbursts. For the final number, the crowd held candles and musicians from other acts on the lineup joined the New Limb on stage for a moving sing along of John Lennon's protest song (turned holiday standard) “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” which, alas, still remains just a relevant today as when it first hit the airwaves in 1971. 


The New Limb won over the crowd despite having to follow the Union Line, which performed to an audience of more than 200 that occupied just about every square inch of the room. The San Juan Capistrano ensemble's vocal harmonies were marked by a mellow charm while the the band's bouncy rhythms were driven by heavily pronounced percussion and peppered by a horn section, a rare sight at a club gig. Brother Luke and the Comrades as well as Parade of Lights were also on the roster last night.

The Crowd: Well-heeled hipsters ranging in age from barely 21 to early 40s. Arms mostly folded but heads were bobbing, young women smiled at the men on stage and polite clapping–accompanied, on occasion, by a random cheer–followed each number.
Overheard: “They sound like Vampire Weekend,” attendee after the Union Line performed.