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Sonny Boy Thorn At The Village At Westfield Topanga, Sunday February 21st 2016


Sonny Boy Thorn


When it comes to listening to good music on the airwaves, 88.5 KCSN is certainly doing a great job,… it is my favorite radio station  in Los Angeles, but also Paul McCartney’s fav if you need some music royalty’s validation. They also host concerts all year long and the latest ones in date, have to be the cool free gigs at the brand new Village At Westfield Topanga. Now I rarely drive up to Topanga Canyon, but I may do it more often! I decided to check out the free mid-afternoon set of Sonny Boy Thorn at the Village, which turned out to be a very cool open-air mall, which opened last September. KSCN has its studio located in the middle of the village and I arrived just on time for the indie band’s outdoor concert.

Sonny Boy Thorn may be a young indie rock band but they know the music tricks of the classics, and use all the rock & roll big moves. Their set was a loud, hard-hitting piece of rock filled with muscular bluesy guitars and screaming vocals. They played with a professional confidence, some aggressive layered distortion, a pounding drum and a solid bass, so that you certainly could hear them at every location of the family-friendly mall.

If you live in LA, you may have seen them before as they had a residency at the Satellite last summer, plus guitarist/songwriter/producer Christopher Thorn is also in the band Blind Melon, and singer-songwriter David Dennis used to play with defunct band Voxhaul Broadcast, which I remember, had let a strong impression back in the days, they had even a song in the ‘Walking Dead’ soundtrack, which is a big deal. But this is not all, Thorn also produced Awolnation’s hit ‘Sail’, and went on tour with Awolnation before forming Sonny Boy Thorn with Dennis.

So with this much rock-power, it is not surprising their set was played with a firing energy, and a sort of Southern rock accent. Dennis’ vocals were bold but soulful and often raucous, providing a vibe of rebellion all set-long. It certainly was not country but it could have been outlaw at times, with an ambitious sound quite ready for arenas. ‘Wild and Free’, an anthem for freedom, may have been their catchiest song, and the one in rotation on KCSN, but most of their tunes had this classic rock texture, think Tom Petty at times, certainly draining influences from a large spectrum.

To end their set, they covered the Beatles’ ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’, making the song theirs with swag and aggressiveness. Could they be ready for the next step? I said it before, you may soon catch Sonny Boy Thorn at a stadium near you next time you hear about them.

Bound to Fall
Wild and Free
Don’t Love You
Waking up Swinging
With a Little Help From My Friends

More pictures here.

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