Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Holland Greco Record Release Party at Andaz Hotel, 6-17-14

Holland Greco performing "100 Proof"

Holland Greco held her record release party (and yes, I mean record) for Volume One on the roof of the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood tonight. It was a fantastic show, full of great grooves and a joy that was palpable. Rooftop concerts are certainly the way to go, whenever possible.

When I arrived, there were between a hundred and two hundred girls on the sidewalk outside the hotel, and for just a second I thought they were in line for the show. But apparently a boy band is staying at the hotel and the girls are hoping to catch a glimpse of them. Several of us gathering on the roof were surprised that this sort of thing still happens.

I got there early enough to catch the end of the soundcheck. I could hear Holland when I stopped off the elevator at the floor marked “PH,” and was immediately happy. Her voice has that effect on me, and has for well over a decade now. I first saw her back in the days of The Peak Show (some of my fondest memories, and some of the best nights of music I’ve ever experienced), and have kept up with everything she had done since. She has never steered me wrong. The band was doing “Only Up From Here” in their soundcheck, and they sounded great. Plus, the view was wonderful, and it put me in a perfect, relaxed frame of mind. This hotel is on Sunset Blvd., across the street from the House of Blues. The view off stage left is most of Los Angeles; the view off stage right is the Hollywood hills. So here we are.

There is a swimming pool on the roof, limiting the dance space and making certain spots rather dangerous for dancing. I grabbed the chair closest to the stage, and began getting acquainted with some other good folks. That’s another thing about Holland Greco. She really attracts good people to her shows. I’ve met some wonderful people at these gigs.  Fellow Peak Show members Derock Goodwin, Alex Painter and Megan Jacobs were there tonight to show their support.

Holland Greco and her band (including a horn section!) took the stage at 7:40 p.m. and opened with “What Is Dark.” Holland then picked up her electric ukulele, and the band went into an old favorite, “100 Proof.” In introducing “We Could Still…,” Holland said, “This song is from the future.” She introduced the band during the beginning of “Bedford Stuyvesant,” which is one of my personal favorites.

It’s going to get a little loud and dancy now,” Holland said before the band jumped into “Guilty Pleasure Zone.” And this was a particularly fun version of this song. Holland even kicked off her shoes toward the end of it. I really liked the stuff on keys. And then they went into “Hollywood Babylon,” one of the Misfits covers that Holland does with Murdergram. And Holland totally rocked the ukulele.

They followed that with the best version of “Batman Theme” I’ve ever heard. Seriously, it was fucking incredible. At first the horns were playing what would be the vocal line, and then the keyboards took over, and it was so much fun. And holy moly, the horns then just went totally wild. This was one of the highlights of the show for me.

The horns were also a great addition to “Stuck.” I absolutely love what they brought to that song, a song I’ve always enjoyed. And then Holland did a Frank Zappa cover, “Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance,” and it was totally fun. In addition to ukulele, Holland played kazoo on this one. Holland introduced the song by saying, “Enjoy this one, it’s a good one.” Indeed.

Holland wrapped up the set with two more old favorites – “Flashback” and “Speedway.” This was probably the best concert I’ve seen so far this year. It was a total joy to see this band, and to see them at this location. I hope they do more gigs like this one.

Set List

  1. What Is Dark
  2. 100 Proof
  3. Only Up From Here
  4. We Could Still…
  5. Bedford Stuyvesant
  6. Butterflies
  7. Guilty Pleasure Zone
  8. Hollywood Babylon
  9. Batman Theme
  10. Stuck
  11. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
  12. Flashback
  13. Speedway 

Volume One is available on vinyl. The first side is Tunnel Vision, and the second side is the Murdergram stuff. (But word is there is also a special hidden track – I need to get my turntable fixed before I can listen to it.)

By the way, as I was leaving I talked with a couple of the girls who were still gathered outside the hotel. The band they were hoping to see is called 5 Seconds Of Summer, a band out of Australia. Just for anyone who was wondering.

Here are a few photos from the night:

"What Is Dark"
"What Is Dark"
"100 Proof"
"We Could Still..."
"Guilty Pleasure Zone"
"Guilty Pleasure Zone"
"Hollywood Babylon"
Volume One

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