Monday, April 2nd marked the beginning of this month’s residency at Santa Ana’s underground music haven, the Constellation Room. After blowing up his residency last month, Micah Brown made a lasting impact on the venue and brought it to new heights. He helped build the reputation that there will always be great music and great company at the Constellation Room on Monday nights. The trend continues still with this month’s residents, Nicole Vaughn and her Lovely Band and Moostache. That’s right, there is a tag team of two serious bands to tackle the April residency. The team kicked off the month strong by sharing the stage with special guest Yellow Red Sparks. It was an evening dedicated to alternative rock music in the form of acoustic, indie, blues, rock-a-billy, and pop varieties.
Yellow Red Sparks opened the night with their acoustic take on alternative indie rock. Playing as a three-piece, the group had a full sound complete with dynamic vocals, great harmonies, and all around well-tuned musicianship. They performed the whole night with acoustic instruments from an upright bass, banjo, drum kit, and acoustic guitar. Awesome! There were no effects used here and almost no need for the PA either. In fact, the band performed a song unplugged, during which the lead singer stepped in front of the microphones and thoroughly entranced the audience. It was an impressive effect which showcased the raw talent of the band and its members.
Nicole Vaughn and her Lovely Band followed Yellow Red Sparks and lifted the energy of the night with their five-piece set up. The band was composed of a drummer, a guitarist/vocalist, a bassist/vocalist, a percussionist/vocalist, and Nicole, who played rhythm guitar and sang lead. As can be seen from the lineup, nearly every member in the band sang, and by sang, I mean sang well. They had a very versatile sound which touched genres from blues, to folk, to rock-a-billy, to country. The band was tight, energetic, a lot of fun, and I look forward to seeing them again next week.
The closer of the night was Moostache. Their energy was high and execution was flawless. At the beginning of the set, I was looking for a female vocalist on stage, but I couldn’t find one. Then, as the set continued, I started to think that the vocalists were using one of those new fangled voice modulators that make harmonies or transpose notes to higher steps and octaves; again I couldn’t find one. Finally I realized that these seemingly abnormal high notes were coming from front man and lead vocalist Patrick Wardell. He had one of the most impressive ranges I’ve seen in the local community; he was able to sweep through the scales effortlessly. His range was comparable to the front man of the Mars Volta, Cedric Bixler-Zavala; however, I need to clarify that I am referring to a similarity in range, not style. The band sounded as if The Strokes and Cedric teamed up to create a new sound of alternative pop rock indie music which resulted in a rich and refreshing production. Another noteworthy feature about the band was drummer Brian Wardell. Yes these two are brothers along with the bassist and backing vocalist, Sean Wardell. Brian was one of the busiest drummers I have seen in this genre. He had impeccable speed and finesse as he flew across his kit while he tied down the rhythm section. They were full of life and enthusiasm and put on a great, energized show. Unfortunately, they will be touring next week and won’t be at next Monday’s show, but Charity Swim will be subbing in to carry on the month.
This is sure to be an exciting residency and more special guests are going to make appearances.
The supporting acts for the residency are as follows:
April 9th w/ Jeramiah Red, Incan Abraham, and Charity Swim (substituting for Moostache)
April 23rd w/ Nilu and The New Limb
April 30th w/ Seasons and Midnight Hour
We will be covering the residency in its entirety and I urge you to come to one, if not all, of the remaining shows. Long live the OC underground.