Last June, I went to go see Illumination Road at The Roxy; a band that writes and performs music with a distinctly classic rock edge. Now, I don’t usually go out on Mondays, but when I heard that they were scheduled to open for another band at The Troubadour, I had to suck it up and check them out. I’m glad I did.
I got to the venue early, and having not eaten anything for dinner, decided to grab a bite from the grill behind the bar. I ordered a grilled cheese and fries, and sat on a stool at the bar closest to the grill while waiting. While waiting, I noticed two things: (i) There was a female-fronted rock band on stage, and (ii) I was sitting next to Darren Criss. I’m not going to deny it, I’ve watched, and enjoyed, his covers of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”, so I told him that I liked his work, and asked him who he was there to see. It turned out that he was at The Troubadour to support his girlfriend’s band Mad Moon Riot, who happened to be playing at that moment.
“Cool,” I said, and I let him be. I ordered a beer, and started to eat my grilled cheese when a buddy of mine arrived. He had brought his camera to take pictures of Illumination Road as well, so I asked him to sneak a picture of me eating my grilled cheese with Darren in the background. I tried to slyly make the picture funny, but it wasn’t. In fact, it was terrible. By the time I had finished my grilled cheese and beer, Mad Moon Riot had finished their set, and I made my way to the front of the stage to snap some pics.
When Illumination Road started their set, it was loud, glorious and hard-rocking. I enjoyed their show at The Roxy, but there was something this time around that was particularly more impressive. Whether they were inspired by the history of the venue, or whether they had just had more time to polish their live performance since the last time I saw them, it was an inspired set that I’m sure gained them some new fans. Chris Ayden, the lead singer, had a certain swagger and a commanding stage presence that night, that, truth be told, pleasantly surprised me.
If you’re looking for a new band reinvigorating the “classic rock” genre/sound, I suggest that you “like” them on Facebook and catch them live when they’re in your neck of the woods.
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