Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in LA project kicks off this week. Highlighting fresh music on the scene this year, this week’s showcases present heavy hitters Cut Copy, MS MR and The Preatures. Monday night brought the new hip-hop infused duo ASTR, surprise guests Night Drive and the Aussie ensemble The Preatures to Sayer’s Club’s intimate lounge for a rather special night.
The Austin, Texas natives Night Drive are a pleasant last-minute switch to the lineup, but the surprise is well worth the patience. They are a curious duo, reviving that dark 80s electro pop with a post punk flare. It feels like Bauhaus and New Order had a baby that grew up in today’s music scene. Their snappy synth beats and utterly danceable back tracks urge people to move along, but most of the crowd is confined to the lounge furniture strewn about the room, unfortunately. People bob their heads along in approval, regardless of the fact that the music would be easier to follow with a standing room only layout. Singer Rodney Connell tries to move about the room and connect with the crowd a few times, but his mic cord keeps him stuck within a ten foot radius of all edges of the stage. Alas, his attempts to connect with the audience fail until the final song during which he and partner Brandon Duhon spray confetti sticks over the entire room. The rainbow paper snow creates a magical feel that is only perpetuated by the music as it gets more danceable with every passing song.
It does not take long for people’s smiles to return to their faces as hip hop and R&B groovers ASTR take the stage. Being fresh off the music festival circuit playing Voodoo Fest last weekend, the two are primed for bigger crowds. Lead vocalist Zoe Silverman sweetly remarks between songs, “This is nice. This is intimate. Beautiful glowing faces, I love it!” She somehow manages to channel her inner Spring Breakers style in a neon pink crop top and white high wasted shorts, even though it is a chilling 50-something degrees in LA this week. ASTR’s sounds tends to carry a slower, more anticipatory club dance-worthy tunes. The heavy bass tones vibrate through the room and her voice fills in the blanks just right. They both have a happy energy that resonates and brings everyone off their comfy couches to their feet to sway along. Silverman’s occasional howls keep the music mysterious enough to entice everyone’s interest. The way she reaches out to the crowd and twists her hands makes it feel like she is casting a spell on the room, pulling attention into the songs and her dancing. By the time they reach their cover of Drake’s “Hold on We’re Going Home,” everyone is sold on their sound. The back of the room even chants “one more song” a few times as the duo tries to wrap it up and say goodnight and thank you to the crowd.
Sydney’s indie rock troop The Preatures have packed a punch all year, starting at SXSW and working their way down the festival parade as well. They kick off the set with a beachy and smooth version of “Blue Planet Eyes,” the title track off their new album. Lead singer Isabella Manfredi has a big task fronting an all-male group, but her sweet feminine side complements their psychedelic edge well, creating an infectious balance that translates through all their songs. She emits an uncanny blend between the grit of Joan Jett and the spicy quirky flare or Cyndi Lauper. Her stage presence is palpable. From the handstands to the head banging and winks, she emanates charm from start to finish. This band knows how to play some good old rock and roll and keep it fresh with a modern snappy twist. They bring a fire to the lounge, progressing the pace of the night into an even more lively state. Songs like “Somebody’s Talking” and “Rock n Roll Rave” are catchy easy listens that are fun to dance to, making heir music even more exciting in a live setting. Two Tone Melody is a sweet mellow ballad that hazily calms down the energetic room. Manfredi’s smooth voice glides over the crowd like a mist of calm. The sigh of relief carries throughout the song. Between songs, she says thank you to all their friends who came to see them play tonight and thanks Red Bull for including them in the event. Keep up with Red Bull’s 30 Days in LA here.
The Preatures Set List
Blue Planet Eyes
Rock n Roll Rave
Whatever You Want
Two Tone Melody
It Gets Better
Take a Card
Is This How You Feel?