The UCLA campus was abuzz under the warm yellow lights lining brick pathways last night, and groups of students were thankful to crowd into the cozy Kerckhoff Grand Salon to escape the bitter wind. Let me reemphasize cozy: through the pool of heads, it was almost difficult to find where the stage was at all. The space, however, was beautiful. Its high, wood-beamed ceilings were grounded by ornate fireplaces, and dusty yellow velvet curtains hung heavy around stained glass windows. The area had a yellow glow which was only intensified by the stars–Dominant Legs, Young the Giant, and Best Coast–that graced the tiny stage.
To start the night off, Dominant Legs tentatively took the stage. After setting up their equipment, they faced the crowd unassumingly and proceeded to fill the room with the etherial, reeling sounds of their first song, “About My Girls.” The crowd swayed under their spell, and dreamy back up vocals from the picturesque keyboardist, Hannah, complemented the catchy, upbeat guitar rifts from Ryan, the guitarist. The synth-y sounds mixed with a catchy pop beat lend a beachy feel to Dominant Legs’ sound, and I would describe them as a modern–but more importantly, good–take on the electronic experimental sounds of the 80s mixed with the wholesome feel of Beach Boys-era pop. The only downside to this stellar set was that the crowd seemed disinterested after a while and were unafraid to carry on their own conversations. Kids these days.
Next to take the stage–and eventually steal the show–was Young the Giant. From the moment that Sameer, the lead singer, opened his mouth, the energy in the room was completely different, and the crowd dug it. The five boys rocked the now-crowded stage, and their chemistry was undeniable–you could tell from the start that these boys knew each other inside and out. This onstage bromance translated to a fun, rocking set, and you couldn’t help but smile and move while your eyes were glued on them. Sameer banged a tambourine with a vengeance, occasionally making faces at Francois, the drummer, and striking the cymbal with said tambourine. The guitarists, Eric (on lead) and Jake (on rhythm) jammed together, all smiles, and Payam, the bassist, chilled and strummed his four string happily. The vocals were strong, and the crowd was clapping and dancing and having a blast. There was a sense of kinship with the young crowd of students–much more so than with Dominant Legs. At one point, Sameer requested the crew to cut the lights, and had the audience illuminate the stage with cell phone lights while they played their faces off. He also threw a blow-up shark to the crowd and hilariously played with the auto-tune function on his mic. They played a variety of new songs and old, including “Street Walker,” which was a crowd favorite. Overall, the set was upbeat, loud, well-performed, and just plain fun.
Finally, the highly anticipated Best Coast took the stage, and, if I may point out, they oozed bad-ass-ness. Bethany, the lead singer, was everything you could possibly want in a girl rocker: tattooed, coifed with a blunt-bang that framed black-lined eyes, and completely aloof. The drummer wasn’t far behind with her messy and greasy blond mane, pale face, and big glasses. They were almost a perfect infusion of the feels of the bands thus far–they rocked hard but maintained a light, beachy feel. At this point, I had the chance to walk around the salon and inspect the crowd, mesmerized by the small but powerful girl before them. Towards the end of the set, I eventually strayed outside the venue, where a slew of kids had congregated to hear the bands through the opened, golden tinted windows. They were just as enthusiastic as the audience inside, dancing and swaying and singing and enjoying the cool night and the cool sounds.
And now, thinking about it, that can describe the entire night as a whole: a cool night with cool sounds.
In case you missed the memo, check these bands out here:
And, check some video from BNBTV of their performances from last night!
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