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Halo Circus At The Hotel Café, Friday October 10th 2014

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Halo Circus

Halo Circus is some moniker which seems to announce joy, fun and a certain part of mayhem, and I can say that the LA Indie quartet didn’t disappoint during their show on Friday night, the third of their October residency at Hotel Café! The quartet (two guys and two girls) gave a rock show with hard-hitting and infectious pop melodies, very diverse songs with bi-lingual lyrics (English and Spanish) and even covers –but not any covers, rather powerful renditions of hit-songs – all transformed by Allison Iraheta’s powerhouse vocals.

Effectively, the first thing you notice with Halo Circus is their frontgirl, the pink-haired Allison Iraheta, who owns the stage as few people have manage to do it: she takes the stage by storm, passionate, bold and loud, but she also has the presence of an angel, with a brilliant and powerful voice… I have to say it should not be any surprise to anyone as she was the fourth place finalist on the 8th season of American Idol by singing ‘(You Make Me Fell Like) A Natural Woman’! However, I never follow Simon Cowell’s own circus, so I had no idea of this when I went to see Halo Circus, but I immediately got the feeling Iraheta ‘s massive and soulful voice will not be a secret for very long.

Her pink hair contrasting with the black outfits of the band, she was going from dramatic vocals to a soulful and badass tone, effortlessly destroying the place with a passionate and incendiary presence, and the audience was with her from start to finish… I can’t exactly explain how such a combination could work, but Shirley Manson and Heart crossed my mind several times during the show. But let’s go back to this,… effortlessly,… this was the most impressive part about the whole band, no matter how many groups have tried to get to this rock sound fronted by a big-voiced female, very few can do it with such ease, confidence and natural. They even managed to make a Duran Duran song, ‘Do you Believe in Shame’, completely theirs, with a wide screen rendition, a real darkness, unleashing a late 80s rocking and emotional rage,… well that was simply great, and you can even check out the recording here, which will be included on a Duran Duran tribute album due in October.

The whole band was actually on fire, as the ex-American Idol candidate has surrounded herself with top-notch musicians: bassist, keyboardist and producer Matthew Hager (Duran Duran, Scott Weiland, Simply Red), drummer Veronica Bellino (Jeff Beck, DMC of Run-DMC) and guitarist Brian Stead, and they all had decided to give the show some epic dimension. They also invited on stage two guests for two songs, Victory Mori on guitar and Gee Rabe on accordion, bringing tender and quieter moment, and a more dramatic Spanish vibe or should I say a rebel and romantic Mexican vibe (during ‘Yo Me Voy’)… Then they embarked into a bluesy and tough cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing’ which got a lot of success… ‘You’re rad!’ screamed someone, probably reflecting everyone’s thought about the amazing frontwoman’s powerful and wild stage presence.

The colorful and vibrant Halo Circus is currently signed to LA indie label Manimal Vinyl, and they have just released a 4-song EP (on October 8th), but they are currently finishing their debut album due out in 2015 with Matthew Hager producing, and Gavin Lurssen (Elton John, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars) mastering the collection. Duran Duran bassist John Taylor has called them the “best live band in the U.S.A.!’ so if you are in Los Angeles you should not miss their next Friday night residency at the Hotel café, it’s happening on October 17th!

Setlist:

Nothing At All
All I Have
Desire (lo que vale la pena)
Yo Me Voy
Do You Believe In Shame? (Duran Duran)
Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing  (Chris Issak)
Something Special
Out Of Love
Band Aid

More pictures of the show here.


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