I was offered a last-minute press pass to a show at LA's El Rey theater to see a band I did not know, The Walcotts. The El Rey, which was a movie theater when I was a kid, is now a 1000-person rock venue with great acoustics, good sight lines, friendly staff and pretty good bar prices, so I decided to take it and see who these people were (note Music FridayLive! pays for tickets even when we are given press passes). It was a busy week and I did not have a chance to look at the information their manager sent to me, so I was attending informationally blind - something we try to never do at Music FridayLive!. I arrived early as I usually do and found that the house manager at the El Rey had set up a press pit - an open space in front of the stage protected by wooden barriers that separated the crowd from the media and the talent. This is usually a sign they are expecting a very full, house.
They got the very full, jammed-to-the-walls packed house and I was very glad I had the three foot-wide safety zone to work in, shooting video and stills and taking notes for my review . I soon learned why the house huse was packed and people stood in line for two hours to get in hen the curtain came up and the Walcotts lauched into some of the best bluegrass and folk rock music I have ever heard.
Actually, is was not rally bluegrass or folk rock; The Walcotts' high-octane, countrified, California Americana rock music blew me and the 1000 or so people behind me totally away. Being within touching distance of Tom Cusimano, Laura Marion, Devin Shea and the other half dozen indefatigable musicians that make up The Walcotts was a special magic.
The Walcotts magic that night included a generous set of 12 songs, all so high powered and fast moving that you could almost feel the air being pushed off the stage like the exhaust of a jet plane. If you only knew The Walcotts from their country/folk-tinged videos on YouTube or their downloads, their performance would have been a real eye opener…like a double shot of espresso mainlined into your arm. They rocked; this is not your father's (or your Georgia cousin's) bluegrass band. These people rock!