[LIVE REVIEW] Be Calm Honcho @ Leo's Music Club
It's funny to think I probably saw more of San Francisco before I actually moved here. When I was just passing through I'd see it from above through an airplane window, get rideshares from Santa Cruz to Berkeley, ride the train and buses all over town, sit at various Caltrain stations chatting to strangers. Now that I live here I've slowed down and learned to appreciate my own neighbourhood. This weekend I decided it was about time to get out of the bubble I had accidentally trapped myself in, and head back over to the East Bay.
Out little adventure for the evening was to the brand new venue Leo's Music Club over in Oakland, to see Astronauts, etc., Be Calm Honcho, and Big Tree. Accompanying me were my friends Camille, Valerie; who was looking forward to seeing Astronauts, etc. live after interviewing him, and Aisah; who was a fan of Big Tree after having them play at a Sofar Sounds show. It was Be Calm Honcho though, in my humble opinion, who really stole the show.
Astronauts, etc. set a mellow mood for the beginning of the evening, soothing the ears of the crowd with his sweet, falsetto vocals and down-tempo R&B-style piano. Val got a copy of his record, we were happy. But when Be Calm Honcho took the stage the energy inside that space (which, by the way is entirely wooden and kind of makes you feel like you are inside a ski resort) changed completely.
Front woman Shannon, a charismatic blonde who we all agreed had a similar stage presence to that of Karen O, was completely captivating from start to finish. She was all expression and emotion; jumping, striding and rolling around on stage and behind her keyboard, delving in to the audience and thanking all her friends for coming out from her hometown, Davis. When they played the single "I Love California" off their new album Honcho Dreams, the crowd became a sea of bodies chanting "I love California like you do". Yes Shannon, we love California, but we also love you.
Click on any of the photos below to view them larger.