TVD Live: Bootstraps, Motopony, Jon DeRosa at the Troubadour, 6/18

PHOTOS: CHAD ELDER | Setting the tone for the evening at the Troubadour last Thursday was Los Angeles new comer Jon DeRosa.

My favorite part of this show and DeRosa’s music in general is that it’s unexpected. We all judge a book by its cover and from staring at DeRosa on stage you start to wonder if he is a lost member of the Source Family or if he just rode in on a Harley from Sturges. But as the band starts, DeRosa’s music conjures the crooning spirits of yesteryear such as Perry Como and Roy Orbison—enveloped by ghostly orchestration with David Lynch as puppet master. Definitely NOT what is anticipated by the book’s cover.

The music is both vintage and futuristic and although categorized as “pop,” DeRosa is in a genre all his own and it’s spellbinding. DeRosa held the audience’s captive attention for six beautiful songs, the same way a spiritual leader would command the attention of his congregation. Highlights include the dreamy, “Fool’s Razor” and gorgeous duet “Dancing in a Dream,” which on DeRosa’s album Black Halo features Carina Round. DeRosa closed his set with the eerier “High & Lonely,” gently taking the audience to another realm—not quote earth and not quite space—but somewhere in between.

Next up were freak folk rockers, Motopony bringing light and love and energy in abundance to the stage, not typical for a band from Seattle. Their set took the audience on a bit of a roller coaster—they can rock, they can jam, and did plenty of both. Their upcoming album has a Sgt. Pepper spirit about it, experimental and psychedelic, but very accessible which was the exact tone of their set.

I want to describe these guys as lovable freaks, a band that draws in an audience where, by the end, everyone has their freak flag waving high while dancing and sweating. A stand out was the blistering rocker “Gypsy Woman” where the band started an all out dance party on stage with female audience members. Ass shaking ensued along with some very impressive African/tribal dancing. Their new album Welcome You came out on June 23rd.

I knew absolutely nothing about Bootstraps before heading to this show which was refreshing. A few friends who I ran into that night had described them as “folky,” which makes me think of a fiddle and a washboard, neither of which this band has as key musical elements.

I have a very specific description for bands like this…I call their sound “field filling,” meaning that it is BIG and can fill a festival field, reaching the people in the back with equal power as in the front while still feeling intimate. This is music to put in your car and drive down Pacific Coast Highway to, so it comes as no surprise that the band initially gained a following from their songs having being heard in TV shows. They could have a song in the soundtrack to almost everyone’s life.




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