The All-American Rejects At El Rey Theatre
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By Julie Mutnansky
There was no better way to start May than to head over to the elusive El Rey Theatre for a concert that not only hit my nostalgia nerve, but also helped support an important charity.
Lyme Light: The Concert raised funds for Lyme disease awareness and kicked off with musical guests the Lonely Wild, Aaron Embry, In The Valley Below, and Hey, King! Event coordinator and Hey, King! vocalist/guitarist Natalie London was brave enough to share how Lyme disease has affected her life. Local indie rock band Youngblood Hawke followed and headliners the All-American Rejects closed out the evening.
One thing that was unique about this show was that it was all acoustic. There's something about an acoustic show that really allows you to feel and hear each piece of music. Sporting a Coachella-inspired look, the members of Youngblood Hawke took the stage with their tambourines ready to play fan-favorites such as "Stars (Hold On)" and "We Come Running," while drummer Nik Hughes kept the beat on his mini cajon drum. Their energy left the audience dancing and enjoying the show like it was a concert in your best friend's living room.
The red velvet curtains opened to release the silhouettes of the All-American Rejects lead vocalist Tyson Ritter and lead guitarist Nick Wheeler. Usually a four-piece, Ritter and Wheeler started the show with "Dirty Little Secret," the opening track from their 2005 sophomore album, Move Along. Not wasting any time, Ritter showed his comedic side by telling a story about going camping in his grandparents' "shag carpet trailer" back in Oklahoma where the band's notorious song "Swing, Swing" was born. The song took me back to warm summer nights in Arizona and the pure innocence of a high school girl spending her nights out at rock shows.
Highlights included Ritter's ease at making fun of the people of Los Angeles and their light clapping that he referred to as "diet clapping"; the performance of "One More Sad Song," which Ritter referred to as the lucky "rabbit's foot"; and the changeover in the middle of "Gives You Hell" to the late Michael Jackson's "Man In The Mirror" that made the audience really move.
After a cover of the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind," the All-American Rejects closed the show with the Top 20 hit "Move Along" and I left feeling fortunate to have supported a great cause and traveled back to 2002 all in the same night.
Youngblood Hawke Set List:
"Stars (Hold On)"
"We Come Running"
The All-American Rejects Set List:
"Dirty Little Secret"
"I For You"
"Put Me Back Together"
"It Ends Tonight"
"Gives You Hell"
"One More Sad Song"
"Where Is My Mind" (Pixies cover)
(Julie Mutnansky lives in Santa Monica, Calif., where she serves as the Senior Administrative Assistant for the GRAMMY Foundation. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona and a Southwestern girl at heart. She enjoys going to concerts and taking adventures. You can follow her on Instagram@juliemut or on Twitter @juliemutLA.)