Sunday, May 1, 2016

Holland & Clark at HM157 in Los Angeles, 4-30-16 Concert Review

Holland & Clark performing "I Found Fun"
In September of 2002, I saw The Peak Show open for The Disco Biscuits at The House Of Blues in West Hollywood. I won the pair of tickets from a local radio program. It was the best thing I ever won in my life. It’s crazy to even imagine the amount of great music I might have missed out on had I not won those tickets. For it’s not just all those amazing Peak Show concerts I attended, but everything those band members have done in the decade or more since that band’s breakup. They continue to create some of the best music I’ve ever heard, and put on some of the best shows. Their music – collectively and individually – has made me happy on countless occasions.

Take last night, for example. Holland Greco (former lead singer of The Peak Show) has a new band with Clark Dark. They’ve played together a lot in the past, of course, but this new configuration is fantastic. Titled simply Holland & Clark, the new band is a six-piece and includes saxophone and a backing vocalist. They played at a venue called HM157 (which stands for Historical Landmark #157), in the Lincoln Heights section of Los Angeles. It’s a cool venue, with a big stage out back. They took the stage just before 10:30 p.m., and opened with “Speedway,” a song that Holland has been playing since the days of Heartkour, and one I’m always happy to hear. “Let’s play a game where you do everything I say.”  Oh yes! Holland then moved to the keyboard and the band went into “I Found Fun.”

Holland recently spent time at the Joshua Tree Highlands Artists Residency, where she wrote some new material, and after “I Found Fun,” she said, “Now we’re going to move into some compositions that were created at Joshua Tree.” She switched to guitar, and the band then went into a really pretty song titled “Solace.” “You are my solace in the night.” This song became an immediate favorite, and it was followed by another mellow gem, “The Flight.” “That’s for those who are departed,” Holland said at the end. Things then got more fun with “Fool Around,” with a great old country rock and roll vibe. They kept things moving with “Freak Flag,” and then slowed things down a bit with “Spirit,” which featured some nice touches on saxophone, and a moving and gorgeous vocal performance by Holland, as well as some really cool stuff on guitar by Clark.

An unusual and totally delightful choice of covers was “Deeper And Deeper,” which is actually a song from Deep Throat Part II. For this song, Holland played keys, and the saxophone player took over on vocals. It’s actually a really good song. Seriously. I think I need to find a copy of the Deep Throat Part II soundtrack. After that, they did another cover – Sia’s “Be Good To Me” (a song from her 2010 CD, We Are Born, and one which Clark actually had a hand in writing). I particularly like what Holland did on keys.

After a good rendition of “What Is Dark” (the song Holland opened her record release party with at Andaz Hotel a couple of years ago), Holland said, “Okay, I’m calling an emergency tango.” And they went into a strange, slow tango version of “Batman Theme.” “Batman Theme” is a song that Holland has covered several times over the years, but never quite like this. After that, they played a couple of old fan favorites: “Guilty Pleasure Zone” and “Only Up From Here.” Both of these were highlights of the set, and Clark took over on drums for “Only Up From Here,” with the drummer moving to keys. And I love the addition of saxophone on that song.

We’re going to close with a classic,” Holland said, before stepping back to let the backing vocalist take over lead vocals. And the band closed out the set with a cover of The Coasters’ “Down In Mexico” (a song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller).

Set List
  1. Speedway
  2. I Found Fun
  3. Solace
  4. The Flight
  5. Fool Around
  6. Freak Flag
  7. Spirit
  8. Deeper And Deeper
  9. Be Good To Me
  10. What Is Dark
  11. Batman Theme
  12. Guilty Pleasure Zone
  13. Only Up From Here
  14. Down In Mexico
Here are a few photos:

"I Found Fun"
"Fool Around"
"Deeper And Deeper"
"Only Up From Here"
"Only Up From Here"
"Down In Mexico"

Tickets were $10. HM157 is located at 3110 N. Broadway in Los Angeles.

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