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  • Live Review: Sonny & the Sunsets - 6/10 - Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA

    Mon, 14 Jun 2010 13:25:24

    Live Review: Sonny & the Sunsets - 6/10 - Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA - ARTISTdirect.com's Alexandra Davis gives a full report on Sonny & the Sunset's pre-Pitchfork performance at Spaceland in Los Angeles, CA

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    I think there`s something to say about a band that puts on such a great performance that you immediately go to a record store to drop $17 on their limited-edition (white!) vinyl. And this is exactly what I did after seeing Sonny & the Sunsets this past Thursday at Silverlake`s Spaceland.

    To be honest, I had never heard much of Sonny & the Sunsets before this performance in support of AB and the Sea and Fitz and the Tantrums. I had checked out a few of their tunes when they were announced on the Pitchfork 2010 Festival lineup, but those did not prepare me for the awesome experience of their live show.

    Their cheeky 60s-era beach pop sound fit in perfectly with the décor of the venue. If you`ve never been, Spaceland feels like the quintessential LA so perfectly depicted in The Big Lebowski: aged, yet still retaining a kitschy sort of glamour.

    Tahlia Harbour led the first few songs with her sweet voice, with Sonny Smith providing more support on guitar rather than vocals. Though he did provide highly amusing quips between songs (“the one about group sex. That`s what we`re doing now”), it was nothing compared to songs where he took the vocal lead. His voice had a raspy and wizened sound, which harked back to a time when bits of imperfection expressed individuality and were valued in a performer. He often interrupted his songs (like “Planet of Women”) with impromptu, self-deprecating stories, which in the context of the band`s sound were endearing and never unwelcome. “Time Split” sounded much like Chuck Berry`s “Johnny B. Goode” and was probably the most toe-tapping song of the night.

    Overall, the maraca and tambourine-heavy set combined with the neon-clad bassist`s tendency to jump incessantly created an alluring sense of summer escapism. Sonny`s music has a great sound that thrives in small venues, thrives on vinyl, and that I expect will thrive even more at an outdoor festival like Pitchfork.

    -Alexandra Davis

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