I have seen Halo Circus live three times – at their debut at the Troubadour two years ago, at the Hotel Café in Hollywood, and most recently at the Saint Rocke Club in Hermosa Beach California, a mecca for rock lovers. Both time I was otel café club in Hollywood – where I first encountered them – and once at the Saint Rocke Club in Hermosa Beach. Both times I was struck by the way frontwoman Allison Iraheta created melodic, deeply emotional lyrics that rode on top of and seamlessly wove into the band’s sophisticated high-octane rock. The effect is cinematic – this is not just music, it is a reality unto itself. And it is so much fun to listen too! I second Duran Duran’s John Taylor is calling “The best live band in the U.S.” but I have to add, if the US doesn’t know it yet, it soon will.
Allison Iraheta is the front and center focus of the band, although by no means it’s beating heart; that is truly all of the band together who form a living, breathing beast on stage that is truly something to behold. As you get to know the band, you understand the miracle that unfolds onstage at one of their concerts. Ireheta is bilingual, emerging from LA’s tough South Central Latino neighborhoods, rising through American Idol, Spanish Language television and a solo career; the band’s perpetual motion drummer, Veronica Bellino, is formerly of Jeff Beck and DMC; lead guitarist David Immerman is an alum of American Idol/Adam Lambert tour and served as Music Director for Sony/Jive recording artist Lesley Roy; bassist Matt Hager is a multi-platinum record producer, musician and songwriter. Halo Circus is a Dream Team that conjures dreams on stage with music.
Ireheta herself is part of the American Latin Music revolution (A.L.M.) now exploding out of LA. Raised by Salvadorian immigrants, Allison’s native language is Spanish, the language of two of the band’s the band’s most popular songs “Yo Me Voy”, “All I Have” and “Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena)”. But, unlike Ozomatli, La Santa Cecelia, Las Cafeteras, Chicano Batman and other bands that blend Latin music forms and themes with rock and rap, Ireheta does something different, something that expands the A.L.M. form deeper into pure rock territory without losing her roots. In this she and the band are pioneers.
Iraheta, instantly identifiable as the curious, pink-haired Latina with smoky eyes, has pioneered much in her short, skyrocket career. An alumna of American Idol and Telmundo’s popular television show Quinceanera she spent time as a solo artist – her 2009 solo album, Just Like You, debuted at the 35 position on the Billboard Top 200 album charts and sold over 35,000 copies within the first week. But the real take off came when producer and Halo Circus bassist Matthew Hager encouraged her to take a different approach to songwriting. That led to the intense self-discovery and deeply introspective and emotional songwriting Halo Circus is known for … and its ability to create a cinematic alternate reality on stage .
Every Halo Circus show that I have seen is an alternate reality, an otherworldly experience overflowing with high-energy harmonies and deeply introspective and personal lyrics that resonate across culture and ages, but real and solid as the nuclear-powered notes screaming out of Bellino’s drums and Hager’s and Immersen’s guitars. Halo Circus music transcends not only the barriers of reality, but the border lines of language, culture, past and future, and ever changing, introducing new instruments like violins or accordions. The final produce is rock, but a fusion of rock of the past with a voice from the future - seductive, infectious and rebellious, moving well beyond the music of even the best conventional band.
Allison and Matt join us this Friday. Please take this opportunity to call in and email in with your questions. And do what I am now doing – go to every halo Circus show you can.