Sunday, August 25, 2019

I See Hawks In L.A. at The Federal Bar, 8-25-19 Concert Review

I See Hawks In L.A. performing "Hills On Fire"
The Mimosa Music Series continued today with a wonderful show by I See Hawks In L.A. Yup, morning with The Hawks. How can you beat that? Unfortunately, Paul Marshall wasn’t able to make it to this show, as he is recovering from eye surgery. A line-drive shot to the eye a few months ago hasn’t dampened his spirits at all, but the surgeries have kept him from a few shows, including Friday night’s gig at Mr. T’s Bowl (or whatever it’s called now) and today’s at The Federal Bar. So Kip sat in on bass, and Richie Lawrence joined the group on accordion. And everything sounded just exactly right.

The show got off to a really good start with an opening set by The HawtThorns, who took the stage at 11:45 a.m. and focused on tracks from their debut album, Morning Sun. I especially enjoyed that album’s title track and “The 405,” the latter a love song dealing with the highway most dreaded by those of us living in Los Angeles. “We got nothing between us but the 405,” KP sings in that one. You might think that would be enough to doom the relationship. I also really enjoyed “Give Me A Sign,” a fun, energetic number. They closed their set with another highlight, “Lucky Charm,” which is completely adorable.

After a short break, KP returned to the stage to introduce I See Hawks In L.A., saying the Hawks are celebrating their twentieth year as a band. The band then started with “Hope Against Hope,” a nice, easygoing opening number, featuring some excellent work by Paul Lacques on electric guitar, some wonderful stuff on accordion, and a good little jam toward the end. After that song, Rob Waller told the audience it was good to see everybody “on a Sunday morning in the valley before it gets too hot.” (And indeed, it was pretty damn hot walking out after the show.) “Hope Against Hope” is from Grapevine, but the band focused their set mainly on songs from their two most recent releases, 2018’s Live And Never Learn and 2019’s Hawks With Good Intentions. They followed “Hope Against Hope” with “Singing In The Wind,” from Live And Never Learn. And it struck me just how good this music makes me feel. Rob sings, “All that trouble/All that worry,” but whatever troubles and worries I may have seem to melt away when this band plays. Some bands just have that power, and these guys are undoubtedly masters of good, positive vibes. “Singing In The Wind” featured a nice lead on accordion. Rob then mentioned that it was good having Kip sitting in, and that Paul Marshall “got a new lens put in his eye a couple of days ago, so he’s going to be seeing good again soon.” They then played another song from Live And Never Learn, “Planet Earth.”

Victoria Jacobs stepped out from behind her drum kit to sing lead on “Hills On Fire,” a song from Hawks With Good Intentions. This was a beautiful rendition. “There's no shelter from a burning sky.” Following that song, Rob talked a bit about the new album, letting folks know it was available at the “merch” table in the back of the room. He then joked about his own use of the term “merch.” “For many years, we swore off saying ‘merch,’ we refused to say ‘merch.’” They then played a song that is actually on both the new album and Live And Never Learn, “White Cross,” a song I completely love. And they delivered an excellent, totally enjoyable rendition today. After wishing a longtime fan in the audience a happy birthday, they played another song from the new album, “Flying Now.” So sweet, so beautiful, and one I wasn’t expecting to hear, for on the album the lead vocals are done by Peter Davies of The Good Intentions. The album is a collaboration between the two groups.

The Hawks then returned to Live And Never Learn for “Poour Me,” a fun country number. These lyrics made me laugh this morning: “It's been a hard week/I know that ain't unique/My boss is a freak/The ‘80s was his peak.” The line that made my girlfriend laugh was “Wednesday I ate a bad burrito.” They followed that with “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulet,” a song that was included on Shoulda Been Gold. Kip then sang lead on “Andalusia,” a nice mellow number. When introducing it, Kip told the crowd that on the chorus “Just sing ‘Andalusia’ with us and everything will better in the world.” Well, all right then. The Hawks wrapped up the set with “Good And Foolish Times,” a song that never fails to raise my spirits. This version included a good jam at the end, with some wonderful interaction between accordion and electric guitar. It was a fantastic way to end the set, a perfect song with which to send folks off into their day. The show ended at 1:36 p.m.

I See Hawks In L.A. Set List
  1. Hope Against Hope
  2. Singing In The Wind
  3. Planet Earth
  4. Hills On Fire
  5. White Cross
  6. Flying Now
  7. Poour Me
  8. Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulet
  9. Andalusia
  10. Good And Foolish Times
Here are a few photos from the show:

"Hope Against Hope"
"Singing In The Wind"
"Hills On Fire"
"Flying Now"

The Federal Bar is located at 5303 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood, California.

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