Masha and the Fam Kicks Off Blurred Culture’s Post-Pandemic Showcase At Madame Siam
LOS ANGELES, CA- It took over two years, but Blurred Culture was finally able to get back into action showcasing local talent in Hollywood! Prior to the pandemic, in association with Houston Hospitality and Lediskonights, Blurred Culture hosted mini-showcases at Madame Siam, with 2 to 3 acts performing 20-minute sets every Saturday Night to kick off the weekend fun. With Covid in our rearview mirror- fingers crossed- Blurred Culture finally able to put on its showrunner cap and host its first evening of live music on the Madame Siam stage.
On Thursday, March 3rd, Blurred Culture was able to host singer-songwriter Masha Alexis and her group Masha and the Fam, alt-rock group Underground Cinema, and the funk trio Hambone Relay. With any luck, Blurred Culture will be able to host more Thursday evenings of live Music on the Madame Siam stage.
Hambone Relay got the room buzzing as soon as they started playing. Their jazz/blues-infused funk was just what the doctor ordered and was guaranteed to get booties shaking and heads bopping. I was doing both.
What I loved about Hambone Relay is that it’s rooted around the organ, played masterfully by Mark Brown. He’s also got some HUGE accessories that modulate his instrument’s sound (I should know… I helped him carry it down a flight of stairs into the venue). I tried to think of another modern funk band that’s organ-centric, and the only one that I could readily think of was Medeski Martin and Wood, but they haven’t dropped anything like Combusication (please correct me if I’m wrong) in years.
I was digging the funk immensely, and throughout their 40-minute set, I was just in bliss having them fill the room with their Meters-esque groove and improvisational jams. Trust me when I say that I had permanent stank-face throughout their entire set. Funk … good funk … can do that to you.
It was so great having Masha Alexis and the Fam take the stage for us. She was one of the first acts that Blurred Culture booked for a performance in pre-Covid times, and having a familiar face join us for a full night of live music felt comforting. She was also integral in getting both of the other band’s on the playbill to perform this evening, so we couldn’t be more appreciative of her in getting this event put together.
But I also wanted to shine a light on the fact that not only did she help us put the evening together, but she was also trying to keep her spirits up given the fact that her family lives in Ukraine and the Russian incursion onto Ukraine soil was escalating. God only knows how Masha was able to keep her mind right and deliver a performance full of vigor and emotion.
Her energy was infectious as patrons from the adjoining bar next door, Dirty Laundry, would venture into the performance room and wildly dance in front of the stage. Sure, alcohol may have played a part, but you’d got to be able to give the people what they want to lose their inhibitions. Masha delivered that elixir in spades.
Closing our first showcase back at Madame Siam was the band The Underground Cinema When Masha them, she pitched them as having a Coldplay-like vibe. As they are a relatively new band (their first Instagram post was Dec. 29th, 2021), I couldn’t find any links to existing music, so I had to take her word for it (update 3/21/22: I found one of their music videos from 2017).
This quintet, fronted by Adam Rez on keys and vocals, brought all of the post-Britpop vibes to Madame Siam on this evening, even covering Radiohead’s “High and Dry”. I think the Coldplay comparison lends itself partially to the keyboard centric music that they performed, but also to the timbre of Adam’s voice. His naturally baritone voice seamlessly switched into his falsetto, similar to how Chris Martin sings.
I thought that The Underground Cinema’s set was the perfect nightcap to the evening. The almost ethereal quality of the compositions, layered with propulsive rock accents really served to cresendo the energy of the room allowing us to hit a satisfying musical climax.
For our first post-pandemic forray in hosting and curating live music showcases, I couldn’ have been more satisfied. Three terrificaly entertainment acts, gracing an engaged crowd for close to 3 hours of music. If you or your band are interested in setting something up for a Thursday night in Hollywood, hit me with a DM HERE and drop a few links to your music.
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