Useless Keys/Into The Presence 07/09/09

The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos/Video by Justin

So there I was Thursday night, standing outside the Roxy Theater chatting with The Maldonado brothers when adult film legend Ron Jeremy strolled by. As scenesters sucked on cancer sticks oblivious to their surroundings, we watched as a homeless man tried to sell the King of Porn roses as he made his way up the strip to the Rainbow Room. Just another Thursday night in Hollywood, I suppose.

The Useless Keys 07/09/09: The Roxy - West Hollywood, CA

A few hours earlier, I had walked into The Roxy as USELESS KEYS wrapped up their opening set. I have to admit, I wish I had showed up a bit earlier to catch this four piece who (judging by one song) meet somewhere between Silversun Pickups and Brand New with a dash of Autolux 83 minutes after popping a Valium. If I know one thing from our five glorious minutes together, it’s that I need to seek them out again. After the curtain dropped on USELESS KEYS, I hit the bar for a very strong drink and smiled, knowing that I was probably the only person in the vacuous club who was in on the secret of the next act. Yet, even I was in for a surprise when the curtain rose and revealed the band I paid $13.50 to see.

Into The Presence 07/09/09 - The Roxy

Into The Presence consists of core members Luis Maldonado and Tim Alexander. Imagine my shock in discovering that both Mr. Alexander as well as bass player Jenn Oberle were MIA from the stage. Before things had even sunk in, the trio (who was later joined on stage by Ana Lenchantin on Cello) went head first into “End Game” while most of the crowd kept a firm grip on their beverages back by the bar.

Hecstacy - Into The Presence 07/09/09:  The Roxy

Over the next 30 minutes, the band managed to win over the jaded Thursday night crowd, one audience member at the time. As Luis Maldonado (who was joined by his brother Hector on Bass, and a drummer whose name I believe is Josh ) led the recent recruits through songs from their recently released self titled record, it was clear that it was his night to shine. Songs like “The Garden” allowed the musical prodigy to race up and down his fret board hypnotizing the crowd. His powerful vocals screaming “We’ve Lost Communication” couldn’t speak louder to me on a personal level these days. I think it was during “Radio” when one young audience member/student at the Cobra Kai dojo out in the San Fernando Valley was won over by the pulsating prog meets 70’s glam rock songs. Wearing a totally tubular headband, he used the wide open dance floor to show his approval with a series of serious martial art moves that not only complimented Hector’s monster bass bombs, but resulted in a rather epic tweet from another member of the crowd.

Ana & Luis of Into The Presence perform My Only Crime:  The Roxy 07/09/09

The musical highlight of the set was when Luis (joined by just Lenchantin) strapped on an acoustic guitar and played the delicate “My Only Crime”. While anyone can shred on an electric guitar, the Spanish influence meets monster Steve Vai shredding by Luis is just part of what makes this song so intense. Lenchantin’s haunting cello complimented Luis the acoustic guitar perfectly. This was the moment in which the audience shifted, and Into The Presence had them eating out of their hands. In fact, watching Into The Presence perform to an unexpecting audience is much like watching a Shepard on the job. The sheep may be lost and spread out, but by the time the band launches into the closer “Dear Father“, the Shepard has gathered the flock and collectively brought them home. I may hold the record at this point for most L.A. ITP shows attended with four. The last two times, I have been in on the secret and been able to watch as the haunting riffs and sonic sounds win over unexpecting crowds. I just hope that in a day and age of a dying music industry, that many more are lucky enough to be exposed to Into The Presence.

Blood Cat Love 07/09/09: The Roxy, Los Angeles CA

I managed to catch a bit of the next band who were called Blood Cat Love. I have nothing nice to say about these unoriginal and painfully bland collective of cliches. Somehow the worst of Silver Lake indie rock managed to regurgitate just past Pioneer Chicken on Sunset Blvd and float down the gutters to the Roxy, and while fatties with Emo-mullets (long in the back, messy on top and dumb shavings into the side) rejoiced as the generic group did their thing on stage. I decided it was enough and called it a night. Good thing I did as well. Otherwise, I would never have met up with the brothers Maldonado and discovered that The Hedgehog Ron Jeremy drives a beat up compact commuter chevy. Oh how I shall miss Thursday nights in Hollyweird.


A direct descendant of the outlaw Jesse James and star of a 1983 Kilpatricks Bread radio commercial, Reverend Justito has taken his gift of ADHD and put it to good use by creating one of a kind concert reviews. A bootlegger at heart, the man lives off Whiskey, Taco Bell and the love of San Francisco sports teams.
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Saturday, July 11th, 2009 at 1:52 pm.
Categories: Reviews.

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