In a world that follows your every move on the World Wide Web through filter-colored glasses, utilizing social media outlets come as a no-brainer. This summer, Red Bull has launched an underground networking scene focusing in on supporting local music through an invite-only social media concert series called Redbull Sound Select. Fans of the selected local bands plug in to post, tweet or share the most “PDA” for the featured artists, in hopes of being privately selected based on their passionate support. Fans of HOTT MT (Hour Of The Time Majestic Twelve), Gothic Tropic and Tapioca and The Flea scored the opportunity to see the three open up for the Scottish indie rock band, Frightened Rabbit, at the House of Blues off the historic Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood on Saturday.
Lined up parallel to the iconic Sunset Strip, fans were already hitting send on their smartphones as they filed into the House of Blues. With Red Bulls in hand, couples watched live screen printing out on the outside patio while others stayed inside, saving their spot closest to the stage. Fans were encouraged to use #SOUNDSELECT when posting anything related to the night. Almost immediately, a sea of selfies, snapshots of the stage and an array of unrelated material had begun collecting on the projection screen. Soon enough, instruments were tuned, the host had spoke and the show was a go.
First up was HOTT MT (Hour Of The Time Majestic Twelve) who describe themselves as “Teenage Music Ninja Turtles” on their Facebook page. Their frontwoman Ashi Dala marched on the stage with her microphone baton to their newest single, “Glass Sun.” What really got the crowd rowdy was the experi-pop band’s special guest and legendary comedian Tony Clifton, who shared the stage with a cocktail and cigarette in hand. They belted Gloria Gaynor’s hit “I Will Survive” as Clifton and Dala both playfully fed off one another’s energy, taking sips of the cocktail in between breaths. It was a great way to stir up the energy at the House of Blues. Gothic Tropic followed, whose female drummer blew fans away with her ability to jam hard and still hold beautiful harmonies simultaneously. After such a rambunctious set, the trio successfully hypnotized the crowd with their experimental jazz and garage rock sound.
Lights went up on stage and the trio took a humble bow before the stage crew began setting up for Tapioca and the Flea. The Instagram feed consistently displayed shots of the previous sets as the crowd inched closer to the stage. As the lights dimmed, the screen revealed the stage. Tapioca and the Flea had arrived. Frontman Samuel Jacob Lopez immediately captured the crowd with his high energy. Video game synths and elements from several tambourines immediately got the crowd grooving to songs off the band’s EP. Girls in golden latex bodysuits poured into the crowd. It wasn’t long before another special guest was announced to take the Red Bull Sound Select stage. Lopez grinned widely as he introduced their special guest and long time friend, Sameer Gadhia, frontman of Young the Giant, from Irvine, CA. Gadhia immediately grabbed a tambourine and jumped right into the new wave chorus to the song, “Home” without missing a beat. The amount of energy and personality pulsing from the stage was incredible, but no one could have imagined it to have amplified more when TATF invited all their friends to come on stage and dance. And yes, that includes the golden girls. Tapioca and The Flea left the crowd surging and craving an encore.
After such a blowing set, the buzz streamed through the floor as Frightened Rabbit graced the stage. Word on the floor was that the band’s name came from a nickname frontman Scott Hutchison’s mother coined for him as a child because of his shy demure. One would never guess it from behind that beard and Scottish charm as he engaged in witty jokes and remarks with the crowd. Fans of Frightened Rabbit joined in with every melodic folk rock song; they rocked out to older stuff from their album The Winter of Mixed Drinks and newer material from Pedestrian Verse.
It was inspiring to see a handful of local artists, all with their own individual sounds, come together under the same roof to open for such an established band as Frightened Rabbit. With Red Bull’s support to help such bands and artists, it solidifies that music and social media are on the same page: to support, empower and share among all.