THE ACT: Machine | Facebook | Instagram
THOUGHTS: For a new band, booking venues to play a gig is a hell of a task. I learned that recently when I tried helping a friend’s band out.
A few months ago, the drummer of a band I’m really into (Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil) let me know that he played in another band that was setting up a regional tour. The name of the band was Machine, a power duo consisting of Pete Thomas on Drums and Madeline Mahrie on vocals and keys. Though they are just a duo (like Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil), their sound is lush and mysterious. If you could make a music-baby from the genes of Fiona Apple and Tori Amos, you may get something like Machine.
Being the naive optimist that I am, I told him that I thought I could help them find a place to play in Los Angeles. After weeks of looking, though I had the notion before, I fully realized that money talks, and when you don’t have the cash (or can’t guarantee patrons – even on a Wednesday), you don’t get the stage. Thankfully, I was able to find them a place to play (Thanks, Rob, I owe you a Jack … or two).
Pete and Madeline played for a small crowd, but played like they were playing for their lives. Even in front of a modest crowd, Madeline poured her soul out as she pounded away at her keys (a REAL portable piano, the first I’d ever seen). Because of the venue’s architecture (glass windows all around, which amplifies and the natural sound of the room), Pete had to reign in the amount of force with which he could bash his drums, but that controlled aggression came through, at least to me, in the performance, adding an even more intense depth to the music.
Madeline’s performance was a revelation. While watching her perform, I could only think to myself, “There should really be more people here to watch this music come to life.” There’s an audience for her music and I wanted so badly for more people to witness it. I wasn’t the only one impressed wight he performance. In fact, a woman who books events ended up exchanging contact information with the band with the hopes of booking them for a “Superbowl” event next year. See … I’m not the only one who loved their sound.
Take a peek at some of the video clips that I snipped together below. The lighting makes it difficult to see the performance, but it doesn’t matter. Just listen.
PHOTOS: I used my 50mm prime lens, set my aperture to 1.4 and adjusted my ISO to the highest it would go on my camera. I’m realizing that I need a better camera for these situations. The photos didn’t come out nearly as well as I would have liked, and, heaven forbid, I converted a couple photos to black and white (something that I am not that fond of doing). Oh well … just more impetus for me to catch them again the next time they are in Los Angeles. Hopefully, by then they’ll have a venue with better lighting …. or I’ll have purchased a new camera. We’ll see.