If The Hollywood Bowl had a younger sibling, it would be The Greek Theater in Griffith Park, Los Angeles. They are architecturally and acoustically quite similar but The Greek is a quarter of the size of The Bowl and has a completely different atmosphere.
When Oh Honey takes the stage, the venue is still filling in, but even so, they hold the audience’s attention. Lead singer Danielle Bouchard’s voice has an edgy clarity that is quite refreshing. I can clearly hear this during their cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs.” I have never heard this song with both male and female singers before, and their cover is flawless. It turns out that in lieu of this fantastic set, the band faced some obstacles. Bouchard explains that their tour bus skid on black ice and broke down in Colorado. Since this point they have been touring out of a pick up truck.
Mitchy Collins, the other half of Oh Honey, begins to joke with the audience by explaining to us Angelinos what snow is, “when it’s really cloudy and really cold these things similar to frozen rain fall from the sky.” It’s joking with the audience and this kind of jesting that shows the makings of a very popular band. They end their set with their single, “Be Okay.” It sounds as effortless as the recording, and proves to be a pretty fun song.
At most concerts, it’s 30 to 35 minutes between sets. However, this venue is in a residential neighborhood, so the concert has to be over by 10:30 pm at the latest. This means Barcelona goes on almost immediately following Oh Honey. As they come on stage I am surprised by how few members there are. For just three members, they have a big sound. My friend Dee compares frontman Brian Fennell’s voice to that of Civil Twilight’s Andrew McKellar. This is a perfect comparison. After the show, as Barcelona walks back to their tour bus with their merch and equipment, they yell after us “So Barcelona are a really great band, aren’t they?” Yes, they are.
After Barcelona, it’s The Fray. I have always believed that Isaac Slade has one of the most unique voices of any popular band, and his performance does not disappoint. Not only is the venue packed, but it’s a much older crowd than I expected. Dee and I try to stand and dance, but are shouted down: apparently, people don’t dance at the Greek. Even if the audience is getting ready for their 10:30 bedtime, The Fray are just getting started. During “Wherever This Goes,” Slade and Joe King sing into one mic together. King tells Slade his breath stinks, so Slade stops mid-show to rectify this with a swig of tequila. He ends up not being able to find any and settles for vodka. The crowd in the upper section finally wakes up during “Give It Away,” when the band sends a dozen beach balls through the crowd, giving the whole show a summer-y feel.
Then, finally, during “How To Save A Life,” the whole crowd stands up and starts dancing. Slade flows effortlessly from this to Miley’s Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball.” Surprisingly, Slade’s voice works perfectly with this song.
By the end, the L.A. crowd pulls through for The Fray. That’s a good thing because, as Slade explains, the city’s audiences have intimidated him since his very first show at The Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard. At that first concert, and every L.A. concert until tonight, he says he changed his shirt fifteen or sixteen times before going on out stage. He says this is the first time he’s felt welcomed. Maybe he’s more comfortable because, as a new Dad, he’s celebrating his first Father’s Day.
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