One Question Sessions and De La Vie TV hosted a great free Post-Christmas Holiday party at the Old Towne Pub in Pasadena, this past Sunday, December 28, which consisted of Jag Sun, Crystales, Brass Tax, and Naive Thieves. De La Vie, is another great music blog that is dedicated to “shoving good music down your ear holes,” and occasionally teams up with One Question Sessions, for interviews and other music related projects.
Old Towne Pub is tucked away in the lovely streets of Pasadena, on Holly Street, and hidden down an alley, for future reference. Once down the alley, reassurance will be found on the brick wall, with a welcoming image of a frothy beer bearing the name, “Old Towne Pub.” You’ll think you are in day one of training for Beer Fest as you walk down the dim passage into the pub. It’s a small, cozy vicinity, decorated with various beer assortments on the walls. The bar is to the right and straightaway is an outside patio, if leg room and social interaction is what you prefer. The stage is off to the left corner, right by the door to the patio, and despite its size I felt as though I could see more of the band better, maybe due to the slight raise of the platform and the angle.
I came in during Jag Sun’s performance and the drummer caught my ear which forced me to move away from the pinball machine and closer to stage. He was extremely energetic, along with the rest of the band, and the singer had this playfulness to his voice, manipulating and bending notes. A pretty good indie-rock band that should be checked out, especially live. They contained an energetic pop in their sound that was immediately felt, and I wished I didn’t miss the first moments of their set.
After Jag Sun’s performance, people weaved in and out to refill their beverages, and I migrated to a closer table by the stage. The atmosphere was very friendly, especially during the short time-lapse of the intermission of dismantling and setting up equipment.
The second band of the night was Crystales. They are more of an alternative band, heavy on shoe-gazing, and at times “surf rock,” during most of their set. The bass for most of the songs stood out to me, and this provided a balance to the lead singers’ soft voice live.
They also seem to be dabbling in the new wave genre, which is the way to my heart, and has a noticeable track on SoundCloud that perfectly embodies this “revival.”
By this time, I’m freezing in the midst of people going in and out of the patio into the pub. Then a woman with dirty blond hair in a high pony tail, wrapped in a green ribbon, and a beige coat, approached the stage. Each member that followed her was dubbed in a retro fashion style of the mid 60’s early 70s, which may have hinted at the sound they were going to produce.
This was Brass Tax, and the moment they began I instantly became attracted to the folk styles of this band, and as usual, the raspy vocals. Jada Wagensomer, lead singer, sang of leather pants, drugs, and two Christmas songs, one referring to Jesus as a zombie. Wagensomer had a playful on-stage presence, and encouraged the crowd to sing with her. Wagensomer was still in the spirit of giving, so she cut the price of her Christmas album in half, with the use of construction papers etched with black ink, showcasing her slashed prices. There wasn’t one song that I did not enjoy from their set, or their very honest lyrics.
The last band to close the night was Naive Thieves. As usual, they are a pleasure to watch live. Each individual can stand alone, and together is even better. Slight obvious resemblances of the singer to Julian Casablanca of The Strokes, yet I have to push the compliment that Naive Thieves, and Cameron Thorne, uses his vocals better, and effortlessly. There’s an alternative-rock to their flare and on some tracks a slight detection of reggae elements, within the guitar picking and drumming. Thorne, thanked the audience for coming out into the cold, along with the other bands, and encouraged us to dance to their final song, “Tragic and Magic;” one of my favorites from their new album, Vámonos.
I admire the work of One Question Sessions and De La Vie TV, for putting together a well-rounded group of artists for the night, and introducing me to new ones as well. The only thing I can say that may have bothered my night was the sound. There was a problem here and there which can make any performer not sound as well as they truly are, and I cringed when it became a bother for some bands, not for my ears, but for the artists’ trying to properly showcase their music. Luckily, the problem was fixed in its entirety by the third artist. Overall, the show was a great closer for the post-holiday debris and gave me one last show to end 2014.
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