Saturday night wasn’t just any Other Lives concert; this performance at El Rey Theatre was hosted by KCRW and just so happened to land on the band’s 10th anniversary. What audience doesn’t like to feel special? I know that this unabashed music geek who’s spent the last 6 months with an Other Lives mix titled “Music That Will Change Your Life” in her car just in case one of her passengers wanted a copy does! Needless to say, when Jesse Tabish thanked the crowd for being a part of this special show, my inner nerd cheered embarrassingly loud along with the crowd.
Silverlake locals Oren Lyons set the foundation for the night, and the septet’s short set featured heartfelt vocals from Kristianne Bautista with beautiful string accompaniment (which I’m a sucker for). The large setup was followed and contrasted by Denmark’s one-man show, Indians, and for just one guy, he sure created a lot of sound.
Despite the talent of both opening bands, nothing could outweigh my excitement for Other Lives. They’ve rapidly climbed to the top of my list of favorite artists, and with each album I listen to, they further cement their place in my heart as an all-time great band. So when the curtains were drawn and they took the stage, I was comforted by the sounds of “For 12” only to be followed by a feeling of familiarity for each song and an appreciation for the way Other Lives performs.
Each member of Other Lives took on multiple instruments, adding additional depth by using non-traditional elements (think antlers with bells on them) paired with a seamless synchronization of Edison lights that aesthetically reflected the old-soul vocals balanced with bright harmonies from Jenny Hsu. I could barely contain myself when I heard the introductory guitar picking for “Dustbowl III,” my favorite song. Tabish prefaced the track by calling it “a true Oklahoma song,” but despite all its beauty, I was surprised to find that “Take Us Alive” from their new EP Mind The Gap was a formidable rival and may, just may, have taken the place of my previous favorite Other Lives track.
It’s easy to lose track of time when you see a truly great band perform, and when Other Lives said “Thank you very much. Have a good night,” and left the stage, I was surprised to find that over an hour had passed. Rest assured, after thorough applause Tabish came back for an encore, starting with a solo performance of “Black Tables,” which fans had been shouting for throughout the entire set. It was amazing to hear Tabish tell the crowd that El Rey’s was the largest audience they’d played to. After opening for Radiohead, boasting solid album releases, and putting on performances like the one I saw, it’s hard to believe that they’re not selling out huge stadiums…but give them time.
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