SCARLET GREY, ROOKIE OF THE YEAR, RED LIGHT SKY, WESTLAND at The Roxy – Sunset Strip, September 9, 2010
The Sunset Strip came to life on a Thursday night when The Roxy presented a strong collection of bands hailing from both the Los Angeles area and beyond. Those who ventured out on a weekend were treated to a wonderful night of entertainment, headlined by the up and coming Scarlet Grey – a band who is really making a name for themselves here in the Southland. A fine mixture of rock, pop, melodic punk, and even acoustic was to be heard and the night was certainly well worth checking out. The Roxy is always a place where dreams are made, and all the bands performing gave solid star-making performances.
First up was Westland from Boston, Massachusetts – a young power pop band who has lately been calling the road their home. Consistently on tour, a night at The Roxy was their time to shine, and the band did not disappoint all of the early arrivers. Songs such as You Said and I’ll Pray For You were received well and the band performed them with a sense of passion and urgency. Aaron Bonus was an especially expressive front man, making sure that everyone in the audience was having a good time and paying attention. Jon Cornelius and Ryan Bassett ripped it up on dueling guitars, both taking turns in showing the audience their impressive skills. Jeff Motekaitis on bass and Carlo Ribaix on drums brought everything home as the thoroughly professional rhythm section. Time on the road has served to make this hard working, ambitious band a tremendously tight unit. When they performed their slamming should be hit-single Don’t Take It Personal from their self-released album of the same name, there was no doubt they had gained quite a few new fans within the confines of an evening. A terrific way to kick off a show!
Up next was Red Light Sky from Los Angeles, who basically stormed the stage with a wildly impressive performance. Presenting a stunning mixture of hardcore, punk and pop rock, the guys come up with a rockin’ sound that is all their own. The band packed in a good deal of fans, all whom were singing along to each and every song. Facelift was especially striking and aggressive, about “vanity in LA.” Strong Enough was a powerhouse anthem that really sent the crowd into rapturous enjoyment. The Summer Rnds was another highlight that won a big audience reception. The recorded version of this song features contributions from Nick and Omar of Hit The Lights. Matt Koruba is a dynamic, charismatic vocalist, very much in-your-face and singing his heart out. Guitarist Jussi Karvinen definitely turned heads with his driving punk-influenced axe work. Marc Wysocki also shined on the other end of the stage, contributing searing guitar and backing vocals. Supplying the low end and driving beats were Derik Envy on bass and vocals and Steve White in drums. Red Light Sky’s EP is coming out sometime this fall, and judging by the sweet tunes heard at the Roxy, the disc will be well worth checking into. With performances as fiery as what was witnessed at the Roxy, Red Sky Light is sure blast themselves out well beyond the City Of Angels.
The first time I saw Rookie Of The Year was at the first ever Bamboozle Left, which took place at Cal Poly Pomona in 2006. A revolving list of band members may have ensued since then, but front man Ryan Dunson is the driving force and creative power who has been with the project since its humble beginnings in 2003. Performing solo acoustic in a big club may be a daunting task, but Dunson pulled it off rather well, with many in the crowd singing along to the songs. Performing selections from the recently released album The Most Beautiful as well as a few other crowd favorites, Rookie Of The Year proved to be an old pro, commanding the stage with his remarkable, introspective material.
Headlining the evening was Scarlet Grey, a collective of pop-rockers from the Los Angeles area who drew quite an impressive weekday crowd at The Roxy. The guys blew the roof off the Roxy right away opening with a mega–rousing rendition of No Boys In The Ballroom. Next up with the title track from their recently released EP Fancy Blood, another inspiring slice of rock and roll, which had their various fans singing along and having a terrific time. A brand new song entitled Good Sugar was debuted – a fine art confection showing that the Grey boys are on the right musical track to success. Another highlight was the fantastic Mr. Sinister, an infectious blast of rock love whose “take off your dress” chorus will remain embedded in your head for the ages to come. The band closed with the wild and rollicking sounds of A Pirate Song, a gigantic crowd favorite that shivered the timbers of every single matey and lovely lass in the room.
Scarlet Grey definitely treat each and every fan as a member of their extended Grey Family. The band seems genuinely honored and humbled by the gratitude and affection their hometown crowd was showering upon them. The impressive lineup consists of Benjamin Grey (lead vocals/guitar), Keith Cooper (drums/vocals/production), Pete Emperador (bass/vocals), and Cole Martin (lead guitar/vocals) – all fine musicians whose live performance is tight and filled with passion and enthusiasm. Here is hoping Scarlet Grey finally achieve some sort of recognition in the otherwise fickle music industry, because quite honestly, the band is on fire right now and ready to take it all to the next level.
Unfortunately we were not able to catch the last act It Boys, but plan to do so when they play locally in the future.
A dynamic night that the various Boys and Girls in the Ballroom would remember for some time to come. With bands like Scarlet Grey and Red Light Sky on hand within the local scene, the much-revered Sunset Strip of yesteryear is certain to rise again!
(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)