The Material At House Of Blues Los Angeles
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By Crystal Larsen
West Hollywood, Calif.
"By the sound of applause, how many of you have heard our new album?" asked Colleen D'Agostino, the fearless leader of Los Angeles rockers the Material, halfway through the band's debut performance at the House of Blues Sunset Strip on April 21. The loud response from the crowd told me this was a special night for the Material.
Fresh off the recent release of their latest album, Everything I Want To Say, the Material were anything but speechless for their album release party, with each member displaying equal excitement for playing the House of Blues for the first time.
"I've seen all my favorite bands here and I'm super stoked to be standing onstage," exclaimed guitarist Jon Moreaux at one point during the set.
Rounded out by guitarist Roi Elam, bassist Jordan Meckley and drummer Kevin Pintado, the Material kicked off with a performance of the aptly titled "Born To Make Sound" from Everything I Want To Say. As the melodic guitar riffs and driving bass lines set into a steady groove, the raspy vocals of D'Agostino began: "There's no time for mistakes." That couldn't have been more fitting for an album release party of a relatively new band. And from where I was standing, the Material made no mistakes.
Their big sound was matched by a stage presence that clearly commanded attention. Glancing over the crowd, there were plenty of bobbing heads but hundreds of eyes were set in place. When she wasn't doing double duty on keyboards, D'Agostino was owning the stage, switching from dancing to the rhythms of her guitar-playing cohort and husband, Moreaux, playing the tambourine (which is always a plus in my book), outstretching her arms toward the audience in a sign of rock and roll love, and letting her long jet-black hair flip chaotically to the music.
Aside from her riveting stage performance, D'Agostino's accessories were especially rock and roll — her black leather shorts and studded boots were the perfect counterpart for the cherry-red microphone that matched her same-colored lips. As the band soared through a few more tracks off the new album, including "Tonight I'm Letting Go" and "Running Away," all of which were well-received, "Bottles" is the track that really got my attention. The song began with Moreaux on acoustic guitar, serving as the background for D'Agostino's soft vocal delivery, but when Moreaux switched to electric guitar and D'Agostino launched into the wail she's becoming known for, the audience was visibly blown away as the floor was covered with bodies pounding in rhythm to the beat.
Before performing "Life Vest," the single from their new album and also D'Agostino's favorite track, the band erupted into a drum circle that took everyone by surprise. More surprises were in store at the end of the night when D'Agostino joined the crowd in a final goodbye. The image of the singer perched among her fans, arms stretched above her head as she shouted her last words is one I won't soon forget. And that night is one I don't think the Material will soon forget either as they tweeted just shortly after going offstage: "We are overwhelmed with gratitude. Tonight was amazing."
"Born To Make A Sound"
"Tonight I'm Letting Go"
"Moving To Seattle"
"Let You Down"
"A World Outside"
"Skin And Bone"