Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I See Hawks In L.A. at The Hi Hat, 2-14-17 Concert Review

I See Hawks In L.A. performing "The River Knows"
Music continues to be the best way to combat the depression and anger that threaten our existence daily. And I See Hawks In L.A. is one of those bands you can count on to deliver the goods, to lift your spirits, to brighten your day every time. Last night they continued their February residency at The Hi Hat in Highland Park. I think I mentioned this before, but The Hi Hat is a really cool venue. There is plenty of space, the people are friendly, it has a relaxed atmosphere, and the sound is good.

Sarah Kramer opened the show with a good set. I particularly enjoyed the jams toward the end with the horn section. Sarah plays trumpet as well as guitar. And she and a few members of her band would later join I See Hawks In L.A. near the end of their set, which was a total treat.

I See Hawks In L.A. kicked off their set at 10:03 p.m. with “New Kind Of Lonely,” a perfect sort of tune for Valentine’s Day. One thing I love about this band is their vocals, and it wasn’t long before their voices were blending beautifully last night. And toward the end of that song when they sang, “Everything’s all right,” you bet I believed them. And you know what? Everything was suddenly all right. After that song, Rob Waller told the crowd the show was about “Love and loneliness tonight.”

They then went into “Rock N Roll Cymbal From The Seventies,” a fun song from the band’s 2013 release, Mystery Drug. They followed that with “Baby,” a beautiful mellow tune from early in the band’s career. Rob told the crowd, “This next one is one of the first songs I guess we wrote together, one of the first batch, which was about 1999.” Paul Lacques played lap steel on this one. “Baby, do you mind if I call you baby?” They followed that with “Highland Park Serenade,” an appropriate choice for the evening. This song is from New Kind Of Lonely, and its lyrics mention Mr. T’s Bowl, which used to be my favorite music venue in Los Angeles, before they changed the way they ran the place. Back in the day, you could see some fantastic bands for no cover and no drink minimum, and the place boasted probably the best sound man in the city, a guy named Arlo. I have fond memories of that place; I saw some incredible Peak Show concerts there.

“Your Love Is Going To Kill Me” is another great choice for Valentine’s Day, and it’s another song from New Kind Of Lonely. They followed that with “If You Remind Me,” a pretty song from Mystery Drug. A line from this song mentions the corner of Gower and Sunset. This band’s songs are full of Los Angeles locations. Afterward, Rob said, “Every love song is a sad song, I think.” And then Paul Marshall took over lead vocal duties for “Truth Is You Lied,” a delicious country song. “Call me a fool/I really did believe/That would you stay/Here by my side/Truth is you lied.” They followed that with another good one, “Open Door,” from the Hallowed Ground album. “I’m not going to be untrue/For anyone, not even you.” Rob then introduced “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulet” by saying “It’s a love song to New Orleans, I suppose.”

Sarah Kramer and a few members of her band joined I See Hawks In L.A. for the final two songs of their set, the first being “Duty To Our Pod,” which Rob introduced as a “whale love song.” This was probably the best and most beautiful rendition of this song I’ve ever heard. The additions of trumpet, two saxophones and keyboards added a whole lot to it without letting it get messy or too involved. You know? The instrumental section was gorgeous. This was definitely a highlight of the set. They then wrapped up the set with “The River Knows,” the song that closed out the Mystery Drug album. And again, those additions of keys and horns were wonderful, particularly in the jam. A great way to end the set, which wrapped up at 10:59 p.m.

Set List
  1. New King Of Lonely
  2. Rock N Roll Cymbal From The Seventies
  3. Baby
  4. Highland Park Serenade
  5. Your Love Is Going To Kill Me
  6. If You Remind Me
  7. Truth Is You Lied
  8. Open Door
  9. Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulet
  10. Duty To Our Pod
  11. The River Knows 
Here are a few photos from the show:

"Rock N Roll Cymbal From The Seventies"
"Highland Park Serenade"
"If You Remind Me"
"Truth Is You Lied"
"Duty To Our Pod"
"Duty To Our Pod"
"The River Knows"
"The River Knows"
The Hi Hat is located at 5043 York Blvd. in Los Angeles.

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