Last Monday I kind of randomly decided to go out and see what was shaking with the various Monday night residencies in town. I did two things that were very uncharacteristic for me, the first was going out alone and the second was going to see a band that I had never even heard of. The first band I saw that night is in residency now at the Silverlake Lounge and are called The Parson Red Heads.
Now, I work in “the music industry” and go to see a ton of shows, if there is a show going on I’ve normally at least heard the bands name mentioned in some context or another. Some of the bands that I WANT to go see don’t end up being so great, so I can’t say I expect a lot when I go to see something I haven’t even heard of. The Parson Red Heads not only left me impressed but I left the venue humming one of their songs and wanting to hear more. The band consists of five kids from Oregon who’ve since all relocated to LA. If I were to describe them in just a word, I’d have to choose “charming.” I took a moment to talk with them a little bit about what they’re up to, where they’re going and, of course, why you should be at the Silverlake Lounge on Monday nights in March. Talking to them, you can’t help but realize they’re all not just exceptionally happy playing music together, but they’re exceptionally happy just hanging out together. Although they don’t all live in a studio apartment together (anymore) they all live together in some way or another and have been friends since way back in at least high school. The band was started by Evan Way (he writes the songs and has the beard), he’s joined by his girlfriend Brette Marie Gentry (who drums and who I SO almost had a shot with before she stomped my heart into the ground), his sister Erin Way (who when she isn’t playing keyboards and tambourines you’ll soon see on television as the face of 7up), Thom Shelton (he handles the guitar and the floppy hair), and Dane Gerrard (who plays bass and does a lot of the cleaning.)
Musically, they sound like a band that listens to a lot of pop from the 60’s. Think The Zombies with way more tambourines (oh the harmonies!), or maybe if The Byrds were an indie-pop band today. Following in the footsteps of their 60’s influence they’re not dropping the most complex riffs or anything, but you’d never guess that many of the band members learned how to play their instrument based on what the band needed when they joined. One of the more striking (and endearing) things about the band is its harmonies. Both Brette Marie and Erin supply some sweet sweet harmonizing to Evan’s lead vocalizing. Slap that into the jangly guitars and slightly bouncy folk-pop songs (with a few catchy slow numbers in there for good measure) and I have to say I’m sold. The thing that amazed me most when I saw them play last Monday wasn’t just that they played a few catchy songs, but they played almost ALL catchy songs. I kept waiting for one of them to not really strike me, but repeatedly each new song made me want to wrap myself up in it. I left the Silverlake Lounge humming one of their songs and pretty convinced that I’d be back on next Monday. I implore you all to drop by the Silverlake Lounge tonight and see that I’m right. The Parson Red Heads go on at 11 and are preceded by The Lovetones and Expatriate (both from Australia, c’mon ladies plenty of accents to go around) and followed by The Quarterafter.
Let’s hit it all condensed-style now:
The Parson Red Heads
In a word, they’re charming.
With five words they say that there’ll be rockin’ with lots of sweet harmonies and tambourine banging, they’ll be wearing white (it’s what they do), and most importantly they’re full of love. How can you resist that?
I’ll see you tonight.
(photos from Aaron Garcia via the old band MySpace page)