Tyler Frome Band, Small Wigs, Blue Rose Rounders & Sons Of the Southwest At The Echo, Monday December 17th 2018
Country music is often celebrated in Los Angeles, they have the Grand Ole Echo at the Echo on Sundays, and all December-long, the band Blue Rose Rounders had a Monday residency. It was a short residency because of the upcoming Christmas weekend, and last night was actually their last show, with an extended lineup of three ‘more or less’ country-oriented bands: in the ‘more’ category, you had the Tyler Frome Band and Sons Of the Southwest (SOS), while in the ‘less’ category, you had Small Wigs, but overall, it was a not-so-eclectic night, and you would not have looked out-of-place with a cowboy hat and some dancing boots.
Tyler Frome Band started with a mellow acoustic set of sad-slow country songs, ornated by stripped down percussion and harmonica. I believe it must have been a debut for the band, as I haven’t found any trace of them on social media. Singer Tyler Frome had an interesting twang and some good old-fashioned country song with a tapping foot on a sawdust floor, and despite a few funny false starts, they put us in the mood for a retro trip in the good old west.
Small Wigs played the most diverse music of all bands performing that night, going from Cramps-like surf guitars to punk-with-a-twang prowess. They put a punch in their bouncing songs with youthful energy, and they had a bunch of catchy songs, venturing away from country music. However, it will certainly help to know that the band is actually a side project of FIDLAR brothers Elvis Kuehn (on vocals and guitar) and Max Kuehn (on drums), helped by Mikki Itzigsohn (of Isaac Rother & the Phantoms) on bass and Matt Zuk on guitar. I had seen them opening for X at the Roxy almost 2 years ago, and was happy to see they hadn’t lost any of their fun appeal and cheerful punk vibe with playful girl-boy harmonies and a unique sense of rockabilly during a few songs. Their music was booming with a joie-de-vivre while Mikki was constantly asking us how we were doing. Now that FIDLAR fills up venues as large as the Palladium, Small Wigs are my best-kept secret.
With Blue Rose Rounders, we were back to country classics especially because of Emily Rose’s bright and confident vocals. Their set was a series of familiar-sounding tunes, a collection of heartbreak numbers, which made the front girls slowly waltz. Mid-set, they had a change of pace with a few Johnny-Cash-tempo whipped songs, alternating with steel-guitar-driven story-tellers, a blend delicately bound together by Emily Rose’s statuesque presence and her June-Carter voice, which went to some great emotional nuances.
Despite the late hour, it would have been too bad to leave before the set of Sons Of the Southwest, which had nothing to do with your favorite airlines but were true country stars, especially because of frontman Harrison Roberts’ amazing voice. Despite his young age, his range was going from smoky raspy cowboy throat to timeless crooner, and made the main attraction of this interesting country band, with members of other local bands such as Jesus Sons, Mystic Braves, and Moth Drops. As the son of two artists (one of the songs they performed was written by his dad, singer-songwriter Keith Michael Roberts) Roberts’ voice and great stage charisma led the band through legendary bad boy songs and trucker highway tunes, and their entire set sounded like ‘70s cuts from California western music, bringing to mind long highways with truck convoys driven by tough men.