Love Ghost Went “Back To The Troubadour” To Benefit Sweet Relief Musicians Fund
LOS ANGELES, CA- Love Ghost is an L.A.-based band that’s been busting their ass throughout the pandemic. In this “time of COVID”, this quintet dropped enough music for two full-length studio albums, and the buzz is strong with this group as their music has generated over 6 million total streams and views through various entertainment platforms. Their Spotify page indicates that they have, on average, over 100,000 monthly listeners. Not bad at all.
They got some major press love from Rolling Stone and UPROXX last month when they dropped their banger of a track “Wolfsbane” that featured Rico Nasty. The song, which tackles the issue of mental health speaks to what Finnegan, the band’s lead singer, calls the band’s “mission statement”. On their official website, he says that Love Ghost’s mission is “to give a voice to the voiceless and heal people with depression and anxiety […] My favorite artists gave me this experience, so I want to do the same thing with Love Ghost.”
The single also really lays out Love Ghost’s musical modus operandi. It’s a genre-bending track that sprinkles bits of trap, grunge, and punk into the pot; a seamless rap/rock melange. Rico Nasty enthusiastically co-signed the collaboration stating, “I love when bands want to bring me into their world and let me rock out. The production behind this song is fire. It gives two different vibes when the beat switches, bringing a hard-rock element.”
Billed as a “Back To The Troubadour” event, this performance was intended to benefit the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund: a nonprofit charity that maintains a financial fund from which professional musicians can draw when in need of medical care or financial needs. A truly noble cause considering these crazy times we are living in, and further emphasizing the band’s mission statement.
For their performance at the Troubadour, I was really hoping to spend a little time with the band to get a better sense of what makes them tick. It’s not often you find a self-motivated group of young men take the bull by the horns to steadily release prodigious amounts of music while also organically elevating their social media profiles, all without the support of a record company or corporate machine. And when I mention “young”, I think Finnegan, their lead singer (based on my guestimation and google snooping) may juuust be old enough to get a cocktail at a bar.
I got to the venue pretty early, but I’m guessing that soundcheck was running a bit behind, so other than some introductory pleasantries, I just spent my time observing them as they waited to check their levels and rigs. But even in just watching them, I feel like I gleaned some perspective.
I learned that this would be Love Ghost’s third time performing on the Troubadour stage, but the first time as the headliner. Finnegan Bell [lead vocals, guitar], Ryan Stevens [bass, backing vocals], Daniel Alcala [guitar, engineer backing vocals], Samson Young [drums, backing vocals], and Cory Batchler [keys, backing vocals] reached seemed to be in their element, and though the “doors open” time was creeping up, they looked relaxed and calm as they waited their turn to soundcheck.
This calm, no stress, demeanor really left a solid impression on me. It said, “We’re here to take care of business, and we’ll get the job done when it’s our turn to handle it.” And when they finally were able to get up on stage to soundcheck their gear, it felt like they did so in record time.
As is the Troubadour’s policy, I had to step out of the venue to check back in when doors opened, so I didn’t really get the chance to speak to the guys in the green room, but when I stepped out of the venue, I noticed that the line to get into the venue had already reached the Doheny intersection. This was definitely a good sign for a fun night.
The first band to take the stage at this show was Hvnted. The band was formed in 2016 by lead singer Will Swanson and lead guitarist Declan O’Raidy and subsequently added Seamus Neal on drums and Jack Cotter on bass.
Hvnted was starting to get rock mojo rolling in late 2019, and after a performance at Resident, started making connections to really find the right pieces to record music and despite COVID was able to release their single “Killing Me” which has gotten national spins on KROQ and 91x. This led to performance opportunities like the one they had opening for Angels and Airwaves at the Ventura Majestic Theater.
It was a solid performance with each member of the band playing with fantastic charisma, but, I was particularly impressed with Hvnted’s lead singer Will Swanson. If I had a list of all what makes an “alt/pop/punk rocker”, I’m pretty sure Will would have checked most of the boxes. Solid, emotive tenor voice. Dark, emo aesthetic. The bleached-blond hair that he’d toss back after each musical exclamation. Check, check, check. This guy just kind of oozed that rock star quality.
I had a lot of fun with Hvnted’s music. There’s a really good energy that flows from the music onto the stage, especially when the bassist (Cotter) and lead guitarist (O’Raidy”) get a chance strut their stuff across the stage. Though they don’t have much music out on streaming platforms (only three songs on Spotify), I’d recommend giving them a follow cause I have a feeling that they’ll be dropping some more good stuff sooner rather than later.
The second band to grace the Troubadour stage was the hard rock band Chasing Desolation. The band consists of lead guitarist Jimmy Strimpel (the band’s founder), Seth Perez (lead vocalist), Austin Dunn (bass), and Mike Mayhem (drums).
The band released an EP in 2017, Malice, that got some significant attention from both the press and radio. Their hard-hitting metal riffs coupled with Seth’s melodic lyricism really found a solid core audience. Their single “The Human Disease” was even featured on 95.5 KLOS, Los Angeles’ premier rock radio stations.
In February 2020, Chasing Desolation released their album The Moth Collection. While I don’t know for sure, I’m sure that COVID scuttled a ton of their promotional plans for that release. But despite the pandemic, The Moth Collection really seemed to organically find its way into the ears of rabid listeners. On Spotify, their tracks “Maze of White” and “Night Things” have racked up 450K+ and 570K+ listens respectively. That is massively impressive.
I’ve listened to The Moth Collection at least half a dozen times. Let me just say this…. please listen to the album with some good headphones or with a decent speaker system. Laptop speakers really don’t do justice to the clean, visceral production and the brooding aura of a lot of the tracks on the album. Even better, I’d suggest you go out and see these guys live. Seth and company give one hell of a performance, which matches the tone and timbre of the tracks on their records. Solid outing by this band, and a band that I’d happily see perform again. Killer stuff.
I may go to a lot of shows, but there are a ton of great acts that I just haven’t had the opportunity to see perform live yet. At this show, I was FINALLY able to catch a band that I have been following for the better part of three years: Satellite Citi. And lucky for me, this performance was a celebration of their first full-length studio album Fear Tactics.
Satellite Citi is front-woman Anna Gevorkian (who serves as both lead vocalist and drummer) and Shaunt Sulahian (guitarist and backing vocalist)… and Fear Tactics bangs. All ten tracks. It’s a marvel how ferocious Anna bashes away at her kit, while she matches the intensity of her drumming with her voice. They may insist that “Reaper” is their favorite song (the new video for which you can watch by CLICKING HERE), but I just can’t stop listening to “Black Magic”. The heaviness of Shaunt’s guitar riffs gives me stank face just thinking about it. It’s that heaviness and the “hummable” melody that makes this jam my kind of song.
The intensity of their live performance matches the hard-hitting sound on their album. You may think that Anna being seated behind the kit may take away a little bit from the aggressiveness of their music, but with Shuant whipping his long hair to the beat and the animated antics of the anonymous, masked Spacewalkers joining them onstage to fill out their sound with additional guitars, bass, and synths, the action was kinetic and really enhanced the experience.
As a little side note, prior to the show, while I was waiting for Love Ghost to soundcheck, I introduced myself to Anna. After all, we’ve been following each other on Instagram for a while. She came off as shy and reserved, perhaps a little preoccupied with getting ready for the evening. She is also petite so that probably enhanced the shy impression that I got. That being said, when she stepped on stage, she unlocked “beast mode” and absolutely tore it up. I loved the dichotomy.
The audience was well lubricated by the time Love Ghost took the stage. While they didn’t perform their part of the Rico Nasty collab, they seemed to hit on all of their fan favorites. “Closure”, “Fade Away”, “I’ll Be ‘Fine'”, “Pink Car”, all songs with hundreds of thousands of listens. They even performed their latest single “Clouds”, which I’m guessing was the first-ever concert performance of that song. As they catered to their fans, they rattled off 11 songs before closing the night with the rambunctious, punk-infused “Kamikaze”.
Following up with the band days after the gig, some of the members had a little something to say about the experience:
Daniel: “The energy the audience gave back to us was unreal.”
Cory: “Couldn’t have asked for a better show to re-open live music for us.”
Ryan: “Always look forward to playing there, the crowds always have such good energy there.”
Finnegan: “It was a great show and the crowd was really supportive”
And I’m sure that these young men can expect more of the same going forward. As long as they can keep that internal drive that they’ve had up to this point, and keep their eyes on the prize, I have no doubt that they’ll be headlining more venus, and playing for more fans with even more support.
They assured me that there are many more songs that they have ready in the pipeline, and we can expect them to be dropped between now and the end of the year. They even teased that one song, in particular, will have multiple versions with different rappers from all over the world. They’ve even started to announce more shows like the KFRR TB&J event in Fresno, CA on October 21st, and also mentioned that they have a few shows in November that will be announced soon. They are also going to be going international with scheduled tour dates in Germany, the Netherlands, and Ukraine in March 2022, with showcases in London and Paris, and a televised performance for the Rockpalast Crossroads TV Club Festival in Bonn, Germany.
Whew… the hustled doesn’t stop with these guys and the sky’s the limit.
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