With the recent release of their 2nd full length self-titled album, “Lisa Savidge” has hit the road trekking up the west coast for a number of dates. Having recently reviewed their new CD, I was lucky enough to catch one of their two LA area shows. The first was scheduled at The Trip in Santa Monica. Not knowing what to expect I became pleasantly surprised that this really was a quaint “hole in the wall” type bar. I could tell that mostly regulars or locals were peppered throughout the dimly lit place. Soon enough I noticed a couple of younger groups coming in to check out the band. I had a certain nostalgic/deja vu feeling as my brain flashed back to a lot of college bars back east where I lost brain cells while pretending to have any semblance of social skills.
My eyes adjusted to the soft lights and neon beer advertisements while I took my spot on a squeaky bar stool close enough to the stage to get a good feel for the performance. If you’re reading this and know Lisa Savidge’s sound then you’ll understand my thoughts on how a band with a full sound consisting of two guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums was going be equally heard in such a tight space. (No offense to The Trip, I truly enjoyed the atmosphere and surroundings.)
The band looked like they were relaxed and having fun in each other’s company while tuning and going through sound check. Although seeming a little cramped in close quarters, they jumped right into the first song of the new album, “Building your own HAM radio.” Sounding crisp and energetic the tight space didn’t hold the playing back from any of the members. Ellery Keller, (lead guitarist, back-up vocals, violin) shown through with his fast picking solo’s throughout the night – adding more credit to his performance was the fact that as they proceeded through the first three songs off the new album Keller broke his high E string. Because of time limitations he decided to continue playing with no E string. For the type of solo work on the new album and his guitar arrangements overall one would think this would hinder his performance greatly but you honestly couldn’t even tell. Kudos to Keller for making the best of the situation and still sounding brilliant on all of his solo work.
I did not recognize a couple songs that must have been previous releases, but all of the songs off the new album sounded tight and full of the textures that make their new album a worthy piece of music. Another highlight was the instrumental track off the album titled “Moment of Silence” which, on the album version features Keller on violin. Substituting an electric guitar in place for the violin, (and still missing his E string) the band blasted forth a darkly dazzlingly instrumental piece that left everyone surprised at its depth and precision. My one problem with the set was the lack of presence from keyboardist Nick Gortari. This actually wasn’t Gortari’s fault, more a tech issue with the soundboard. That aside, the highlights of the night along with aforementioned instrumental piece “Moment of Silence” were, “Headspace” and “Country Fear.”
After the set I was lucky enough to speak briefly with Dan Somers, lead vocals and guitars. He pointed out the Kia hatch back and explained how crazy of a packing job they have to do just to fit all the gear in.
“We usually don’t do shows for long periods of time and then we’ll play at bigger venues.” remarked Somers when I mentioned the size of the venue.
He also explained, (chuckling as he exhaled from slow drags of a cigarette) at the common misconception of the band by its name.
“I even explained what we were and they still had us in a lineup with other female groups.”
Taking everything in stride, Lisa Savidge still sounded like an up and coming talented group to watch for. With their new CD out now they are starting to make a splash getting some airplay on some local stations. They definitely deserve a bigger venue and room not only for the band members themselves, but for the layers and depth to their sound. If you get a chance don’t miss them as they continue their northbound journey for the state of washing then finishing up in their home-state of Arizona. If you want to check out more visit their album review by us here or visit their band page at lisasavidge.com.