On September 2, I attended my first concert since starting this blog, so here is the first concert report! The show took place at what I like to think of as my home venue, Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, CA. The line-up for the evening was DOJO, Gears and Zeal Levin.
Opening the night, DJ duo DOJO deftly swapped turns on the controller. They smoothly transitioned between songs, pumping up the crowd and getting them moving on the dance floor.
Local artists, Gears, continued to bring the beats with Tanner Allen mixing the music while Carolina Webb’s soaring voice added emotion and flow to the songs. They were adept at mixing up tempos and keeping within their style, even while covering other songs (including Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”). Both artists looked like they were having a great time and their enthusiasm was contagious; the crowd loved them.
Headliner Zeal Levin and his band changed the mood of the evening from straight-up dance party to grooving, soulful, funktastic revelry. The band was composed of Zeal on lead vocals and guitar, Derrick Elliott on (a 6 string!) bass, Mike Fortunato on trumpet, and Gilbert Lopez on drums. Things loosened up early on as the band brought up friend Nick Fox as a background vocalist (and backup dancer) for Zeal’s song “Sunshine“.
Later in the set, the band covered “Ain’t No Sunshine”, originally by Bill Withers. I enjoy a good cover and this band did not disappoint! It was a stunning rendition where the emotion of the piece was made palpable particularly by Zeal’s guitar work and Mike’s prowess on trumpet. All of the band members shone on their instruments throughout the concert and particularly at the end when Zeal gave each of them some time to solo.
For me, one of the highlights of the night (besides Zeal successfully playing guitar behind his head, which I have never seen done live before) was a song Zeal introduced as a single from his forthcoming record (due out next year) called “Take a Chance”. I borrowed a line from his song for the title of this post, which seemed apt to me as I begin this blog.
I would have loved to capture the sound of some of those smoking hot solos and regret not taking more video. We’ll just have to settle for this picture I took of Zeal completely going for it during one of his solos.