The Mason Affair @ The Piano Bar
A warm evening, traipsing around the backstreets of Hollywood - avoiding the obvious nightly bustle of Cahuenga, Highland, Hollywood, and Sunset. Tucked away on Selma and Wilcox, an unsuspecting entry leads into The Piano Bar, a dark-red barn of a building - though it's tough to tell at night. We see our friends from The Mason Affair outside, going over last minute details for their set.
Jazzy funk spills out of the doorway; rich wooden interiors and low lighting, resembling the likes of a speak-easy - it's ladies night and the drink specials are abound - $4 for almost any wine or beer you like. But I keep it an entirely free night and slowly sip my way through a couple club sodas with lime, letting the music be the only thing to quicken my pulse (well, and the cute musicians, of course).
The Mason Affair: LA-based funk band; 8 wildly talented members, consisting of the trumpet (James Becaria), trombone (John Bisset), sax (Dan Gonda), bass (Devon Taylor), drums (David Celia), keys (Sam Gendler), guitar (Jay Logan, Mike Mason), and vocals (Mike Mason) - pure energy of brass, beats, and soul.
I've seen these gentlemen play many a time, good friends with a couple of them, but they've recently added some new members. This was their first show playing together, but no one could tell. Effortlessly they glide from one movement-inspiring tune to the next - getting people dancing both in their seats and out of them, boasting seductive lyrics and toe-tapping, head-shaking riffs. Mike's voice, sultry and sly, blends perfectly with the brass, strings, and percussion - each of which is featured briefly in moments of solo. The small area in front of the stage fills to the brim with dancers and drinkers, swaying and bopping to the infectious funk The Mason Affair produces.
A too-short set of only about 40 minutes, but they will return every other Monday night to The Piano Bar - a residency secured for the month of September. The crowd requests just one more, but the house music turns on and the boys begin to pack their things.
A back patio area, twinkle lights, clouds of cigarette smoke. We finish our drinks, schmooze over the show and the brilliant musicians we've come to know and love; summer feeling never-ending in the heat of the night.
until next time! xx