Friday night, I took another $12.00 cab ride down the Sunset Strip to check out the exciting new rock band Into The Presence. After being blown away by their set two weeks ago, I knew I could not miss the final Friday of their month long residency On The Rox. After saying hello to the venues wonderful door woman Stephanie, I made my way upstairs knowing that the evening was going to be a blast. Off the bat, I was very excited to see that the venue already had double the amount of people who made it out two weeks ago. I walked through the crowd and found a spot up front just in time to catch OC act The Living Suns.
During their 30 minute set, I couldn’t figure out if this six piece band was an indie band or a jam band. Hell, maybe they are both?!?!?!?!. With their unique mix of the previously listed genres, the real joy in seeing this band is not their fan base of females banging very large shoes against the dance floor, but the feeling that this band could combust at any given moment. They quickly ditched the planned set list, with their keyboard player clearly calling the shots. What really stood out to me was the struggle within the music. It seemed as if it wanted to go six different directions, and while that may sound like a train wreck, they somehow make it work. If my gut hunch is correct, if these guys can survive each other, the sky is the limit for them.
While a few of the big shoes cleared out, many stayed behind. I grabbed another round while one band tore down and another set up the stage that can not be higher than six inches off the dance floor. I mingled with some Primus fans within my vicinity and just after 11:30 pm the band took the stage. Opening with “End Game” right off the bat I noticed that the band sounded much tighter than just two weeks prior. Maybe it was my change in location, but the PA sounded much cleaner as well, giving already melodic music that much more feeling.
Two weeks ago, I was more focused on Tim for most of the evening, but this time around, I was really drawn in my the guitar playing of front man Luis Carlos Maldonado. Watching some of his riff work while singing some rather complex melodies was nothing short of impressive. As a power trio, the grooves were tight, especially between Tim Alexander on drums and Jenn Oberle on bass. “The Garden” was really rocking as drinks continued to flow through the crowd. “Sleep” a cover by the band Ardent is a great softLOUDsoft epic that clocks in at around 7 minutes. The way Maldonado plays the main heavy lick, you forget that you are in a tiny room, and feel as if you are inside a large arena with 20,000 people behind you going crazy.
The band played for about an hour, and was once again joined later in the set by Ana Lenchantin on cello. Towards the tail end of their set, a funny moment occurred in the final moments of the softer number “My Only Crime”. Some folks decided they would rather chat then listen, and after a stare down by Maldonado failed he called em out while not missing a beat. It was classic. They closed their set with a real rocking song leaving on a musical high, and winning over the still rather large crowd. I managed to talk with some of the band members after the show, and it only further confirmed my newfound love for this band. In a town with a lot of fakes, they were truly kind to me and other fans fortunate enough to say hello. This week beat me up pretty bad on many levels, but it was all worth it for the rewards of Friday night. I got to have a few drinks, be a little bit of the uber-dork fan that secretly hates having to play it cool in Hollywood and I saw two great up and coming bands. Pretty good way to kick off Super Bowl weekend if I say so myself.