Modern Maps, Toxic Toast Theatre, October 28, 2018
It was Halloween weekend within the wilds of Downtown Long Beach, and Toxic Toast Theatre was the place to be trick or treating for new music. An entire night of up-and-coming bands were on display, headlined by L.A.’s own Modern Maps. The entire Modern Maps membership were in costume – as were many of the audience members. One almost expected a black metal band to start unleashing their cries of bombast and despair judging by appearance of Modern Maps – corpse paint on the lead vocalist, an appearance by the Count, and so much more from the darkened stage. But when the opening refrains of Autopilot began emitting, one instead witnessed a heartfelt and wickedly infectious amalgamation of rock and pop that set the imagination in flight.
Modern Maps released their debut Hope You’re Happy via Rise/Velocity Records at the very beginning of summer. And the autumn season now finds the resourceful collection not only playing selections from their standout album, but unveiling quite a few new songs as well. The scorching Heatwave sounds like a massive hit single in the making, performed with a sizzling amount of passion and conviction by each and every member. Sweet Talk is a new song unveiling the next chapter of the Modern Maps auditory journey. Other standout songs performed at the Modern Maps Halloween party included Bite My Lip, How It Feels, and Drink In You – all leaving a lingering impact of the gathered costumed masses at Toxic Toast.
Trever Stewart is a dynamic front man, performing with an exhilarating amount of passion – the gripping lyrics and persuasive vocal delivery shining through the scary skeletal artistry on his face. Dominick Hall sent the room spinning with wondrously imagination guitar reveries while his brother Matthew Hall supplied superbly intensively beats on drums. Daniel Navarrette issued a pulsating low end on bass, keeping it all driving and rhythmic. Together, Modern Maps supply the listener an emotional pop rocking experience that stuns the senses.
When the recently issued single Radio Killer was unleashed at the very end of their set, one could clearly envision a band ready to break it out into the big leagues. Currently within the ranks of best kept secrets within the vast Southern California music scene, don’t expect that status to remain for long – especially if their inspiring live shows and captivating songs are indicative of greater glories ahead. For now, check into their Hope You’re Happy recording as well as their new single Radio Killer – and be sure to see Modern Maps the next time they scare up some memories in your town with their electrifying tunes!
(Review and Photos by Ken Morton)