The Griswolds, Magic Man & Panama Wedding – The Fonda Theater – Los Angeles, CA – May 10, 2016
It was that time of the year again: The Griswolds were back on tour. Specifically in LA for the night, and so was I. However, this wasn’t just a normal tour with an opening act. The Aussies are co-headlining the “Hotline Spring” tour with Magic Man, an electronic indie band from Boston, Massachusetts. They were playing the famous Fonda Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, which has been attracting more and more artists since late last year.
By the time the opening act Panama Wedding came on, the crowd flooded onto the dance floor. Their synthetic pop-style guided fans into a head-nodding trance, performing their hit songs “Infinite High” and “Uma.” Listening to them live, there is no doubt about why the four-member band would fit in The Griswolds and Magic Man on tour.
After Panama Wedding’s set, the curtains rose and The Griswolds took the stage one by one. Strobes of neon flashed onto the audience’s faces and the disco ball reflected white. An electronic beat, then the chants of “Down and Out” hit the speakers while the crowd screamed and jumped for joy. The moment they had been waiting for — and the moment I had been waiting for — had finally arrived. With each beat and clap of the hand, the 80s disco pop track radiated throughout the venue.
The crowd swayed and waved their hands in sync with lead vocalist Chris Whitehall to “Right on Track,” which is about abandoning emotions for logic and doing what is right for them. With Daniel Duque-Perez on guitar, more commonly Danny Duke, and Tim John on bass, the hits “If You Wanna Stay” and “Beware the Dog”, from their debut album Be Impressive, enchanted longtime fans. I bet newcomers who came for Magic Man didn’t realize they would enjoy The Griswolds as much as they did.
It was the drummer’s birthday that night, and the bleached blonde Lachlan West, also known as Lucky, grinned widely as the audience sang to him “Happy Birthday.” He appreciated the glow of positive energy towards him, as he’s usually sitting in the back banging on his drums unable to jump around.
Once the crowd was silent, the band took the opportunity to introduce new songs currently being recorded in the studio. This created a roar of excitement, while the lead singer instructed the crowd to shout, “Oh, yeah,” three times after each moment the band would say, “We’ve got nothing to lose!”
The first time was little rough but the crowd quickly made the song their own with each beat, as if the lyrics of “Role Models” were carved in their bones. As the finale, one of their first released songs “Heart of a Lion” aggressively shook the audience of any problems or fears they were facing. The electric strikes on the keyboard ran through their veins and the echoing pounds on the drums went to through their shoes up to their own hearts.
While the Griswolds made their last goodbyes, finishing off the song and exiting the stage, people became eager for the last act: Magic Man. Nothing could prepare one for the energetic dancing of the lead singer Alex Caplow and the shred of guitar by Sam Lee. While the band played some of their most popular songs like “Catherine” and “Texas,” Caplow’s wild spirit provoked fist pumping and head nodding of the crowd. Rainbow lights and techno rhythms made the night even more nostalgic. Tonight we’re all believers, as the lyrics of the song “Tonight” rang out.
The encore consisted of the bands smash hit “Paris” and a cover of R. Kelly’s remix of the R&B song “Ignition”. It wasn’t any normal cover, as Chris, Tim, and Lucky of the Griswolds plus members on Panama Wedding joined them on stage. The rapping section of the song was done by the infamous merchandise seller for the Griswolds, Jay Bonisolli, who many of their fans know as “Hot Jay” and who was applauded for his remarkable tempo.
The bands took a bow together and walked off stage with the satisfaction of successfully co-headlining in Los Angeles with a room of cheering fans. It was definitely a show to remember, after all, Hotline Spring can only mean one thing.
Copyright ©2016 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 19, 2016.
Photos by Camille Jessie © 2016