Thank you for your response to my previous articles – it is very satisfying to know that you appreciate my reviews and my writing. I love to write almost as much as I love music (and those of you who know me well, know how passionate I am about music).
Let’s continue with the final 11 bands who performed at Rockdrive ’10. But first, as promised, more on Aldis Hodge. I have been a huge fan of Leverage since the pilot came out, and particularly loved the character of Alec Hardison, a truly lovable geek played by Aldis. Aldis took time out to come to the event and show his support, talking to the audience about the work of the charities. I caught Aldis as he was leaving the stage, and had a great conversation with him. What impressed me most was his maturity, as I found out later he is only 24 years old. He made his acting debut at the tender age of 9 in one of my favorite action series, Die Hard (with a Vengeance), where he appeared alongside his brother, Edwin.
The 11th artist to take the stage was none other than Orange County standout, Rocco DeLuca (www.roccodeluca.com). I first met Rocco back when I was working with the Orange County Music Awards. Shortly thereafter, Rocco was the first artist to sign with Keifer Sutherland‘s new label, Ironworks Records. With his tats, beard and Reasonator guitar, Rocco personifies the outlaw rebel musician, and his short set did not disappoint. Nor did his unique stage presence, as he asked for all the lights to be dimmed. He turned on a small lamp attached to his mic stand, and from the bare luminence of a single bulb, proceeded to wow the crowd with his bluesy tunes. If you haven’t checked him out before, I highly recommend you do so.
Next up was my very good friend, Nina Storey (www.ninastorey.com). Nina and I have been friends for almost 10 years, and she has never failed to deliver a stunning performance. Her first song was a solo performance of “This Naked Woman.” For her second song, “I Won’t be your Girlfriend,” co-written with Mikal Blue, she was joined onstage by Mikal on guitar, Ryan Franks on Bass and Katelyn Benton on keys. It was a fun, upbeat number that kept the party going and was the perfect set-up for the act that followed.
That next act happended to be Matt Hales of Aqualung (www.aqualung.net). Matt started his set with a cover of Queen‘s “Find me Somebody to Love,” which whipped the crowd into a frenzy. After telling a story about his experiences with the evening’s charities, Matt was joined onstage by Laura Jansen, and a guitarist for his second song, and then by Chaska Potter and Mona Tavakoli of Raining Jane and Cary Brothers for his final tune.
Following Aqualung was an act that turned out to be the biggest draw of the night. Arising from the ashes that was SR-71, Satellite (www.satellite-music.com) was equal to the hype and made believers out of this reviewer and everyone else in attendance. Composed of Mitch Allan on lead vocals and guitar, Steven McMorran on bass, Josh Dunahoo on guitar and Justin Glasco on drums, Satellite hit the stage like One Republic on steroids. They were simply amazing, especially on their signature song, “Say the Words,” which has an equally stunning video. These guys are destined for great things.
Having to follow an act like Satellite would be a daunting task for most artists, but Melissa Polinar (www.mpolinar.virb.com) is no ordinary artist. With a voice that can cut through a crowd like Rudolph’s nose cuts through fog, Melissa and her powerful vocals were the perfect follow-up. Melissa performed her hit “This Road,” and did a superb job. Keep your eyes on this lady as her first EP, “As of Now” drops on December 28!
Melissa was followed by an artist that burst onto the local music scene during his unsuccessful attempt to reach the final 12 on American Idol‘s seventh season back in 2008. Signed by Warner Bros. Records shortly thereafter, Josiah Leming (www.facebook/JosiahLeming) has had to deal with the death of his mother in 2009 in route to the release of his debut album, “Come on Kid” this past September. Josiah is a force on stage, as he precariously sits on one leg of his stool while he pounds the keys like a modern day Jerry Lee Lewis. Don’t miss out on your next opportunity to catch Josiah perform live.
Next up was the always incredible Sara Haze (www.sarahaze.com), who burst onto the music scene at the tender age of 12. By the time she was 15, she had performed at Canadian Music Week and South by Southwest. But it took a song placement on MTV’s The Hills to truly catapult her to the public’s attention. The day after her song appeared on the show, Sara’s Myspace page received 300,000 hits. Sara was joined by her incredible band, which included Nick Bearden on guitar. Despite being sick, Sara delivered an amazing performance of her songs, “I Can’t Let You Go” and “Beautiful Day.” The enthusiastic crowd and this reviewer were very sorry to see her leave the stage.
John West (www.myspace.com/johnwestsongs) was next upon the stage, bringing his full band with him. John was recently signed to Mercury/Island Def Jam Records, where he is currently working on his next album. John has a soulful sound that borders on R&B, and never fails to deliver a memorable performance. John is also one of the best buskers in the business, and used to perform along the Third Street Promenade area of Santa Monica. I can’t wait for his next release!
Following John to the stage was Angel Taylor (www.angeltayloronline.com). Angel is signed to Aware/Columbia Records, which released her debut album “Love Travels” in 2009. Her song, “Like You Do” was featured in the season six finale of One Tree Hill. She has also had songs included in VH1’s Tough Love and another CW show, 90210. If you caught onto the song delivery resemblance between “Like You Do” and anything by Colbie Caillat, that’s probably because they were both produced by Mikal Blue and recorded at Revolver Recordings Studio. Angel is not only a joy to listen to, she also has a special heart for charity as evidenced by her frequent appearances at GreenRoots Presents showcases and events.
The next to the last artist to perform was another of my very good friends, Keaton Simons (www.keatonsimons.com). Keaton performed his first song solo before being joined by the incredible Mona Tavakoli on “The Medicine.” For more info on Keaton, check out my recent article (http://foamcage.com/los-feliz-in-los-angeles/in-the-studio-with-keaton-simons-and-mikal-blue). I will be joining him in the studio again tomorrow – really looking forward to it!
Finally, at 1:05 a.m., the final act came to the stage in the form of The Elevaters (www.elevatersmusic.com). Just as Lady Danville was the perfect opening act, The Elevaters were the perfect act to close out the evening. With a sound reminiscent of a cross between Earth, Wind & Fire and Bob Marley, with some Snoop Dog thrown in for good measure, The Elevaters smoothly and deftly brought the evening to a close with an outstanding set.
Thanks for joining me on this musical journey. I can hardly wait until the next Blue ‘n Green Showcase for another dose of sweet music in support of a worthy cause. Hope to see you there as well.