Photos by Madelynn Elyse
Like every LA story, this one begins in traffic. What was supposed to be a quick, mad dash to the Bootleg Theater had turned into a trudging crawl across dimly-lit backroads. Swear and honk as I might, there was just no escaping the flickering of red brake lights. When is this new hoverboard coming out? Sign me up to buy the first one. Ten thousand dollars? Totally worth it.
It was perhaps my own fault that I was in a rush during traffic hour, but I had a good reason, I wanted to reach the Bootleg for the night’s opening act, Sheare. Luckily, I managed to storm through the front door just in time to hear the last couple tracks. It’s always great to see New York bands in Los Angeles. Maybe it’s my own longing for the big apple, or maybe it’s their east coast mentality, but I always feel for bands that make the long trip west to chart unknown territories. Of course, I was even more impressed by Cairos, who hopped across the great Pacific pond straight from New Zealand. These guys followed Sheare with bombastic, energetic rock that shook the room. Temper this with the avant-garde musicality of yOya – one of LA’s finest veteran bands – and you’ve got an already-satisfying lineup. But the night was only just beginning.
Picture yourself at the Bootleg. You begin with an intimate crowd… a small gathering of music lovers. Now picture the room filling. And filling. And FILLING. It’s just about to burst when Paper Route takes the stage.
Paper Route bring an energy to the stage that sets the crowd on fire. I’ve got to hand it to these guys, they have a flair for the dramatic. Their set began in total darkness. Silhouettes were the only clue we had of what was to come. Sudden lights flashed, illuminating the band as they launched into the beginning of their set. The music was a blend of folk and pop rock… dare I say, very reminiscent of Imagine Dragons. While this is not my cup of tea, it was immediately apparent just how in-love their fans were. The crowd hooted and cheered. Some clasped at their breasts, their eyes brimming with teas. Others held their loved-ones tight, swaying back and forth.
There’s really nothing quite like stepping into a room of loud music and seeing that everyone else is beside themselves with joy. Me… well, let’s just say that I like my rock more than I like my folk. I like my jazz more than I like my ‘Phil Collins’ toms. But to each his own. I can certainly respect their talent, particularly their drummer (who was a human clock, with waving sticks for arms). And I certainly respect their theatricality. The crowd loved them, pure and simple.
Now, like every LA story, it ends with traffic. After leaving the venue, I managed to catch one of those famed pockets of cars… like a herd of zombies shambling across the 101, I sat groaning in my car. I found myself feeling lonely, actually. It’s a strange thing to be in a room full of hundreds of excited people, all emanating a feeling of such openness and love. Perhaps I suffer from a cynical heart. Or maybe – just maybe – I am a hopeless romantic lost among a sea of dreamers. Or maybe… Ah, fuck it. Where’s my hoverboard?