Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fearmia @ The Mint / Francisco The Man @ The Satellite

Thus far, the only criticism of my first post was that it was composed entirely of lower case letters. Honestly, I don't care either way, but if proper grammar is what the people want, then so shall it be.

Monday night...

The Mint at dusk; I grab a close parking spot, pay the cover ($10) - "Here to see Fearmia," I announce to the friendly, spectacled woman at the ticket counter. I love this venue. It's just a quick drive down Pico, a sweet 16 minutes from our apartment at this hour. No fake Hollywood folks, just locals, lovin' the live music. The rich interiors match the heavy dark IPAs and stouts that line the drink menu, and I fumble over a choice. Tecate light? My sister would shake her head at me in shame, but what can I do? I like them light and crisp. Plus those are always cheaper than the fancy darks.

A familiar face or two, conversation flows easily, drinks in hand, and we calmly await the blissful bluegrass that will soon fill the space.

Fearmia (soon to be "Fiddle and Pine") - originally a four piece band, tonight plays as a trio. Jesse is the fierce fiddle man, a true genius on the violin. Abby is front and center, generally the lead voice, guitar, banjo, sometimes she brings out her mandolin - effortlessly sharp and tight with each instrument. And Graham is master of the stand-up bass. All three have amazing voices that harmonize and blend together like a creamy bluegrass milkshake - twangy and delicious. They played some old, some new, some traditional bluegrass jam covers - the crowd hooting, singing, and clapping along. They have the time of their lives up there, with a justified confidence in their sound, making it look so easy and natural.

I'm lucky enough to know these musicians, and have been going to see their shows and hanging out with them intermittently for the last couple years - a great connection made by my roommate Kirsten when I first moved in with her. Abby will play solo shows as well, often in the same night and venue as Kristen plays her solo shows. And sometimes Jesse or Graham or Abby will play with Kristen during her shows. Everyone plays with everyone amongst these friends, a true melting pot of audible talents.

The set is a short 45 minutes, though I could have listened to them all night. I duck out, and the doorman calls to me, "leaving already?" "Gotta go to the Satellite," I shout back, realizing only after it pops out of my mouth that it sounds like I'm somehow above this venue. Never the case though, Mint - you are loved.

Over in hipsterville...

The Satellite is a twinkly-lit hole in the wall that opens to a deceivingly large space, with decor reminiscent of a late 90's prom. Shiny blue drapery and a disco ball; cute bearded hipsters crawling all over the joint. We flash IDs, no cover - gotta love Mondays at the Satellite.

We arrive just as LA Font (El-e-phant...get it?) is finishing their set. I enjoy jammin' out to the last tunes from these guitar-shredding indie rock boys, before the place goes up in conversation and PBR refills. We grab free little cups of ice cold water, muse about old times, our new lives, and then we plant ourselves close to the stage, waiting with bated breath for Francisco The Man.

Lead singer Scotty Cantino maintains stage-right throughout the show, leaving the center spot to his heavily bearded bassist, Nestor Romero. Brock Woolsey plays guitar stage left, and Abdeel Ortego kills it on the drums - blood, sweat, and tears come out of this man as he plays a wild, but tight set. The band has reverb-y, psychedelic, shoegaze qualities that have you swaying back and forth in agreement with their dreamy, somehow nostalgic lyrics. Scotty's voice is unmistakably unique - a little nasal-y, with an almost British quality to it, despite the whole band being from Los Angeles. They certainly deserve residency in this spot - see them every Monday for free at the Satellite!

until next time! xx

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