Pom Poms Are Back And Slay Harvard & Stone With Killer Gig
LOS ANGELES, CA- During the pandemic lockdowns, I spent a lot of time on social media. When I wasn’t trying to avoid some depressing tidbit of political or societal strife, I hit up several social media accounts that I knew would always leave a smile on my face. One of those accounts was @jessiepayo on Instagram. Always goofy and lighthearted, Jessie always had a way about her that made the day a little brighter for me. When she posted that she would be playing Harvard & Stone with her band Pom Poms, I was blinded with joy.
Man. The last time I saw Pom Poms perform was 6/13/17 at the Echoplex when they were celebrating the release of their 2017 album Turn You Out. It was a banger of a show and their brand of chic retro, psychedelic/garage rock, coupled with Jessie’s vivacious stage presence made a lasting impression on me. Jessie has released some solo music since then, but Pom Poms had been relatively quiet until recently. Since the pandemic, they released two singles in 2021 (“Christmas Postcard” and “Stoned and Lonely”) and “Desperate Love” earlier this year. With Jessie living out in Palm Springs now, who knows when she’ll be performing in Los Angeles again. I made sure that I had this gig marked in my calendar as a “must go”.
The opening act for the evening was Surprise Baby, the musical project fronted by Slugs‘ Sarsten Noice. I’d been following Slugs for a few years now. I had no idea that Sarsten had her own thing as well. In fact, if my Instagram sleuthing is any good, her original project was called Hydrokitten before changing it up to Surprise Baby sometime in 2018.
I was really feeling Surprise Baby’s set. All of the music was new to me, and I really got into those laid-back, indie rock jams that Sarsten and company kicked out. They performed about 8-9 songs and though I didn’t know any of them, I found it easy to get lost in their groove and just fall under the spell of Sarsten’s wonderfully delicate vocals. I was particularly enamored with this song. With the ascending melody line, the hypotonic guitar riff, and the perfectly in tune harmonies sung by none other than Marisa (from Slugs), that song was about as dreamy as dreamy gets. Loved it.
I’m really anxious to hear studio recordings of the songs Surprise Baby played and will keep an ear out for updates. In the meantime, Sarsten and Surprise Baby set up a gofundme to raise money to film a music video for their debut single, “Poison The Well”. With a goal of raising $8,000.00, they hit $7,973 as of 4/17/22 at 8:55 pm. How about you throw in a few bucks to push them over the edge?
Pom Poms set started off in a dramatic fashion. If you follow Jessie as I do, you probably wouldn’t have expected anything less than dramatic too. Invoking the retro-chic vibe Pom Poms are known for, recreating the classic image from the movie “Creature From The Black Lagoon”, Jessie was carried to the front of the stage by the Creature.
She was laid to the floor, and when the guitar line started to pluck into their first song, a new (to me) jam called “Money On The Floor”, her body, and booty, pulsed to life. The rocking commenced, and it was full throttle from the get-go. The room responded immediately, and bodies moved in synch with Ms. Payo.
Pom Poms’ set was equal parts new music and old. I heard Turn You Out cuts like “Go Go”, “Red Lips”, “Gimme You” and “Turn You Out”. They also played each of the new singled that they’ve dropped, “Desperate Love”, “Stoned and Lonely” and one other song that I hadn’t heard before named “Lady Velvet”.
But whether you know, or don’t know, any of the songs that Pom Poms performed, I can guarantee you this. You WILL be entertained. Jessie overflows with charisma. She’s a firecracker that has an endless supply of gunpowder, and she makes sure she leaves everything on that stage. Don’t believe me? Click on the video below. The true mark of a professional.
The only thing that I was disappointed about was the fact that specially printed vinyl albums made out of hemp (I believe) of “Stoned and Lonely” sold out before I could grab a copy. I guess I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed that they’ll print another run and have them on sale at the next show 😉
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