Showgazing: Kyle and Natalie at Detroit Bar

Listen up, dudes: Orange County has new fun-lovin' pop superstars in the form of Kyle and Natalie.

After moving to Orange County a few months ago, the band contacted me, asking me to check out their band. I thought they sounded pretty cool, with fun, dancey tunes like “Potential,” but they never seemed to actually play any shows around town. So Tuesday night's gig at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa was an exciting prospect to be sure, and lived up to whatever vague expectations I may have had. For a band (six people play live, not just Kyle and Natalie) that hasn't played a lot of gigs and don't have a record out, they sounded surprisingly polished and professional in the Detroit Bar setting.

They did a great job of getting the crowd into it–they played fourth out of four bands and didn't take the stage until around 11:45 p.m., but there was still a good handful of peeps in attendance–and seemed to genuinely enjoy themselves up there, which is usually infectious. They even got called on for an encore. I described on our Twitter that their music was kind of (let me stress “kind of”) like Iglu and Hartly with the addition of a female singer, a friend called it “Disney rock.” I believe he meant it derisively, but he clearly had no idea how big of a fan I am of “Disney rock.”

Singer Natalie Distler (the titular “Natalie,” duh) has a strong voice and great on-stage presence–and was wearing sparkly sneakers, which is a plus. She's an actor (she plays Denis Leary's character's daughter on Rescue Me), so that experience probably helps. Some songs even contain what could be described as rapping between Kyle and Natalie. That sounds kind of terrible, I realize, but they actually made it work in their own good-natured way. Also, they ended with a medley that contained unironic covers of “The Sign” and “Semi-Charmed Life.” Only the most rigid of music snobs couldn't love this band.

Also on the all-locals bill: openers Set to Sea, Streetlight Affair and Argyle Smile. I missed Set to Sea because I'm a jerk (but I did write about them here). Santa Ana's Streetlight Affair surprised a lot of people, perhaps simply by virtue of having two female singers (two! and they both do nothing but sing! and a guy in the band sings, too!). Also surprising: one of their guitarists is really, really tall. Like 6'6″, at least that's what my best guess was from the audience (though I was somewhat far away, and I'm not sure how tall the rest of the band is, so it may be an issue of forced perspective). We'll write more about them soon for suresies. Ukulele-fueled Anaheim band Argyle Smile were excellent as always–it was their first Detroit Bar show, and they seemed fairly psyched about it.

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