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Safe Haven At The Roxy, Saturday June 15th 2013

Safe Haven stays positive


















Even though they are billed as post-punk or pop-punk, you certainly don’t go to a Safe Haven concert to listen to songs filled with anger and negative feelings. No, the band’s music is all about positive message, and you can feel it in the music itself, even when you are not focusing on the lyrics.


I saw them at the famous Roxy on Saturday night during a ‘KROQ Locals Only Showcase’, and the quartet displayed a noticeable amount of energy on stage! They were quite loud and a positive force was literally emanating from each musical fiber of their high-energy songs. The band, which consists of three brothers, lead vocalist and bassist Gil Sandoval, drummer Dan Sandoval, lead guitarist Mani Sandoval, plus a friend, guitarist Josh Ledezma, had probably attracted the larger crowd of the night, and the hard rocking attitude, that they demonstrated on stage, was giving a muscular punch and an arena-rock dimension to their anthems. I was a little familiar with their music but watching them live was a different experience than listening to their music on record: the guitars were more robust, and the sound was expanding much further.


They was no doubt these guys were playing for a stadium crowd, as they weren’t the type to stay still a second, but were rather harmoniously moving and kicking the air with some classic windmills, while delivering their upbeat power-choruses. They were often engaging the crowd, so that many of the songs were turning into shout-your-heart-out sing-alongs. The music was explosive with layered crafted guitars and guitar solos, strong hooks, foot-tapping rhythms, a touch of classic rock, and passionate-emotional vocals telling about hope, pain, faith, chasing the sun, never giving up, and other simple but heartfelt messages that everybody can relate to.


Safe Haven, which started as a family garage project in La Mirada California around 2003, has now toured the US and even the world, which is quite an accomplishment for an indie self-produced band, and even though frontman Gil Sandoval is not Bono or Bruce Springsteen yet – I say this because of the positive and inspirational U2-like message – the crowd was singing along their powerful punk anthems as if it was the only thing that really mattered.

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