There’s no question Los Angeles is a hotbed for talented musicians, and I have been patiently awaiting the debut EP from one of my favorite local bands, Town In The City. Last Saturday evening, the folk-rock act held a release party for their highly anticipated Safe and Sound EP, and every powerful, folk-driven song was well worth the wait.
Hotel Cafe was packed with friends and fans alike as the six members of Town in the City began the rousing set opener “Well.” Guitarist, keyboardist, and vocalist Shawn Grindle and guitarist/vocalist George Chammas led the group, captaining building jam sessions that crescendoed into rock-infused explosions of harmonies and acoustic-driven hooks. Grindle would effortlessly flip from playing honky-tonk piano riffs to burning electric guitar solos, and Chammas wailed during the hard-hitting “Don’t Let Me Down.”
Every song, including “Full Circle” and “Tree of Life,” had clear influences of sixties- and seventies-era classic rock, but the harmonies and themes pulled from folk music. My favorite high-energy, rollicking track, “Hummingbird,” was explosive live, ending on such a powerful chord that the stunned audience took a few moments to absorb what they just heard before exploding into applause.
While Grindle and Chammas led the charge through each song that evening, every member of Town in the City got their well-deserved moment in the spotlight. Dan Macken proved to be quite the multi-instrumentalist, hopping between keyboard, harmonica, tambourine, and kazoo, and when Julia Chalker wasn’t adding her gorgeous violin overtop tracks, her smokey vocals elicited a loud cheer from the audience every time she soloed. The addition of female vocals rounded out every warm chord, creating venue-filling, unrivaled harmonies. Matt Campbell perfectly complemented every song, a backbone to both uptempo tracks and slower ballads, and the strong and silent bassist Whitt Bell brought grooving bass riffs to the evening.
I overheard Kat Primeau of Sumeau, another local favorite band of mine, say, “It’s so nice to see a band enjoying themselves on stage,” and she couldn’t have been more on point. The members of Town in the City take their time with every song, feeling each note and carefully building each melody. They have mastered the balancing act of embracing the spontaneity of their high-energy music while remaining connected to both each other and the crowd, resulting in a live performance that leaves their audience buzzing and clearly demonstrates the band’s passion for their music.
The set closer, a cover of “Come On (Let The Good Times Roll),” could serve as Town in the City’s anthem given how much the band radiates positivity and is clearly a group whose foundation rests on their friendship and respect for one another.
While Town in the City may have begun as friends jamming out with no destination in mind, this rising local band now has a clear path. Months of “working their asses off” (to quote Grindle) have paid off in spades, and their Safe and Sound EP is a true testament to their talent and hard work. You can stream the album on SoundCloud below, and if you want to catch this EP come to life, Town in the City will perform a free show at the Satellite next Monday, September 8th.
For more information on Town in the City: