Jaws of Love. completed the final night of his October residency at the Silverlake Lounge last Wednesday with a Halloween-themed soirée. Co-presented by Grimy Goods, the residency was a beautiful representation of the Los Angeles indie music community, taking us back to the ole days of small club shows and seeing artists and fans alike in the same room for a common love: music & friendships. While the pandemic put an axe in the flow of those glory days, it’s nice to see all of it starting up again.
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Coming out dressed as Harvey “Two-Face” Dent (a persona he gleefully leaned into throughout the night), Kelcey Ayer had every intention of making it a special night for the packed crowd of similarly costumed fans that had gathered in the dark confines of the bar. Offering up all the tender ballads and lush instrumentals that fill both his debut album Tasha Sits Close to the Piano and his yet unreleased but forthcoming sophomore LP Second Life.
As one of the songwriters and vocalists for Local Natives, it’s no secret that Ayer doesn’t need much to really send a crowd into an emotional thrill. With just his soul-piercing croons, fingers slow-waltzing on his keyboard and backed by two of the musicians that helped him create his music as Jaws of Love. — he dazzled effortlessly. His music just gushes with this radiant affectation, especially when it’s tempered by deep melancholy, existential strife, and immense tragedy.
But live Ayer’s songs burn far more ardently, fueled as much by the way he clearly loses himself in their winding, crescendoing melodies as they are by the warmth reflected back to him by those present. It also helped how much the interior of the Silverlake Lounge lent itself to the intimacy of the residency itself — though Ayer could probably make any venue feel like this final one did. From luminescent tracks like “Jaws of Love.” and “Hawaiian License Plates.” to newer singles “5 Years” and “Rainbow Baby,” every song felt like this deeply personal serenade. With each providing a raw and delicately sentimental look into Ayer’s life.
Ella Vos opened before Jaws of Love. dressed in a green dress with a crown of branches (a costume she described as a fairy / ganja goddess). She might’ve come with a setlist in mind but she said she forgot it — which led to a more impromptu show. Of course, she still played her recent single the shimmering pop soarer “Glitter and Tears.” Which led to a fortuitous set that saw Vos preview a ton of new music. And much like Ayer, her breathy, sonorous vocals have an undeniable poignancy that simultaneously breaks the heart even as it sustains it.
Calling herself a “bit of a talker,” Vos had no problem giving deep dives into the various stories behind her music. From her battle with cancer, and brutal breakups to writing new songs in the midst of the pandemic with her loving partner.
Tomemitsu kicked off the night with their rollicking indie-rock. Charming the crowd with their costumes (from a pizza to a vampiric drummer) as much as with their jaunty, guitar-driven melodies. And even if they hadn’t then their impeccable Beach Boys cover would’ve.
Outer Bodies, led by the soft-crooning brother of Ayer, closed the night with a sweet introduction. This was the band’s debut show and we look forward to hearing more from them.
Words and photos by Steven Ward