It can’t be easy playing as support to a band like The Lumineers—The Colorado-based folk outfit has been winning hearts around the globe with its hit radio single “Ho Hey”—but for fellow Coloradoans Bad Weather California, being hand chosen by The Lumineers to play the stretch of West Coast tour dates was more of a chance for the rock quartet to prove to large audiences that it can put on a killer live show, and it did just that Monday night at Los Angeles’ Fonda Theatre.
Led by vocalist/guitarist, Chris Adolf, the four-piece kicked off its eight-song set with a few new songs before jumping into “I’ll Reach Out My Hand,” the first track off the band’s second full-length album, Sunkissed, which was released earlier this year on Akron/Family’s Family Tree Records label. Recorded, this tune possesses a sun-drenched, lo-fi surf pop quality, but live the band members play with every ounce of energy, presenting the raw, primal forms of the tunes, transforming them into different entities all together. It’s always refreshing to see a group that reforms its songs in a live setting. Sure, it’s nice to be able to hear the tracks just as you know and love them, but why pay money to see that when you can listen to it on your headphones at home?
Watching a band like Bad Weather California play in a large venue like The Fonda demonstrates their effectiveness as a band. Each member utilized the stage with a jittering, frenetic performance, but this is a group that is meant to be seen in a small, intimate club, preferably with no stage. Band chemistry aside, both Adolf and guitarist Tyler Ludwick casually spoke to the audience, sharing anecdotes (like how Ludwick was given the wolf hat he was wearing right here in Los Angeles) and asking the crowd questions, walking off stage and directly onto the floor after their set to talk with fans. These are the type of guys you want to crack open a beer and talk music with.
The highlight of the rockers’ set was a slow number, Sunkissed’s album closer, “I’ll Sing Along.” The Lumineers’ piano/mandolin/accordion player Stelth Ulvang joined the quartet onstage during the twangy love tune, and together they proved Bad Weather California does have a serious side, but that quickly dissolved as the band transitioned into its last song, “You’re My Friend,” and Adolf said goodbye to the audience by announcing, “This is the most important part of the night…you’re not a fuck up, you’re my friend,” before smashing the drum kit.
Bad Weather California is on tour through December. Check out a list of full tour dates here.Like us on Facebook at BestNewBands.com and KatrinaNattress and follow us on Twitter at @BestNewBandscom and @KatrinaNattress