Last Thursday night found Los Angeles pop band coming home to perform a warm and bubbly show at The El Rey Theatre. Good vibes were spread around the room from the three acts performing that night, all of whom made a point of making the audience felt seen and valued.
Openers Band of Silver hit the stage with the poppier number “Hello Sunshine”. The Nashville sibling trio gave the performance their all, with lead singer Avery Silvernagel effusively performing, interacting with the audience and sharing her appreciation. Unfortunately it sounded like Silvernagel may have been fighting or recovering from a cold, hurting the vocal delivery on some songs. Still, it never dampened the band’s energy, which came through best on the post-punk-pop vocal trades of “Artificial Intelligence” and the anthemic “Something Stronger”. And when they ended with “Here for a Good Time”, it was clear the audience were having one.
Lostboycrow are an act that I have been aware of for a long while but never really taken the time to listen to. After seeing them live, I fully understand now why they’ve been such a buzz band in Los Angeles. The band brought a big, fun classic rock-style show to the El Rey, full of wild guitar solos, group harmonizing and performances in the audience. Tracks like “Candy Wine” showed an excellent knack for power pop that is hard to find in the indie LA scene. While I am not familiar enough yet with their catalogue to reflect on each song individually, what I can say is the group PERFORMS. The lead guitarist was an endlessly watchable showboat (in a great way), and the band member’s interactions and stage banter were amusing and captivating.
Both the lead guitarist and lead singer took time to wade out into the audience to play, and the bassist added in great harmonizing and carried a strong stage presence. Their ending song “Strawberry Sunscreen” was a pure romp that evoked 70’s rock glory. I’m a convert.
Like most people, I am familiar with Echosmith because of their enduring hit “Cool Kids”. While that song and the one or two others I had heard leaned more pop than my tastes generally went, I wanted to see how their live show was and went with an open mind. Having now seen them, I can say without hesitancy that these kids are 100% polished professionals who know how to put on a great live performance (and as they would share later, they put this one on almost completely themselves).
Taking cues from acts like The Talking Heads, the group took the stage as silhouettes, with front woman Sydney Seriota and bassist/guitarist Noah Seriota banging tribal drums along with drummer Graham Seriota. The group then moved into “Gelato” and the bright sing-along “Over My Head”. Seeing Sydney perform with such a command of the stage, it’s amazing she’s only 25 (then again, the group has been playing for ten years). Her perfect pop vocals, charming delivery and dance moves had star quality (in another universe, I could see her as a Disney series star). Noah was also a mobile and versatile player, at times tackling his bass like a guitar while busting out David Byrne moves (and his outfit was definitely reminiscent of Byrne’s).
The group introduced the audience to one new track, the effervescent “Hindsight”, which they ate up with ravenous glee. Seriota then donned an electric guitar for one of the group’s more rocking songs, “Talking Dreams”. Seriota introduced the next song (“Tell Her You Love Her”) with a flashback to her fifteen year old self when she original wrote the track, and the meaning it holds to her now as a married woman. Little moments like this showed her relatability and spoke to the band’s audience. Another endearing moment came when Seriota asked audience members to share the names of one person who helped them through the last few years. She then proceeded to bring one of these audience members onto the stage and recorded a message to the young man’s friend, getting the audience to send love to the person. She also openly hugged the audience member, as if she were one of his best friends.
The band brought out a jar of fortune cookies, each containing a deep cut written on the fortune, and allowed an audience member to choose one. This led to the performance of “Come With Me”, which was followed with a medley of other deep cuts made to please some of their longtime fans. One of the musical highlights for me was “Lost Somebody” from their 2020 album Lonely Generation. Its simple yet indelible hook and the band’s energized performance of it made me a fan. They group then took a left field turn with a cover of Berlin‘s classic Top Gun ballad “Take My Breath Away”. Whether their audience was familiar with it was unclear, but they still appreciated the group’s take on the eighties hit.
As they began to wrap up the show, Seriota explained how the band had really planned out all the elements of their current stage show themselves, as well as designing their own merch (and doing their best to make it affordable). She then shared her and the band’s sincere gratitude for the audience being there for them, along with wishes for this communal experience of live music to continue. Noah shared her sentiments, again taking the time to make the audience feel appreciated for being there with them. The group then closed their set with “Hang Around” and of course with their massive hit “Cool Kids”, which the audience happily sung and danced to.
While I would say I’m still not the right audience for their music for the most part, I have no issue saying Echosmith put on a very well-crafted show and can easily wish continued success to the group, as they are the real deal. If you’re not familiar with the group, you can get started learning their music here!