Page 54

The Bootleg Theatre

Silver Lake, CA

Material: Beauty In The Breakdown is introduced as being a hidden gem and one of the best local acts in Los Angeles. The focus is on Ashlet who makes this performance unique with her skillful use of hand drums. She is definitely dressed to put on a rock show, with a glittery white bodysuit and neon red hair. It may sound like a wild combination, but this is almost Haim-meets-Shakira. What you get is both dance pop and contemporary rock akin to Phoenix and M83 on songs like “Satellite.” Thematically the lyrics have a positive message and overall that is the vibe you get from this group. Musicianship: While the multi-drummer gimmick is often overdone, this band has the chops to pull it off. Ashlet is a maniac on the hand drums, which makes this show a mustsee. Reyes and Williams II are especially tight on the breakdown for “It’s Not Too Late,” while Rouse provides perfectly placed accents on “Save the World.” Alexander’s contributions are also central to the compositions as he offers great solos on “You Wake Me Up” and

BEAUTY IN THE BREAKDOWN also shows appropriate restraint when needed. Overall you can hear Ashlet’s vocals clearly, which is a tribute to the group as a whole. Performance: Ashlet knows how to work the stage and the audience. An electric fan served both to cool her down and create a bit of theatricality by giving the singer that wind blown look. For “Around The World,” Ashlet invited her audience to wave neon glow sticks, which had been distributed throughout the crowd prior to the show, adding to the rave feel.

@WILNSPIRE

Contact: bitbmusic@gmail.com Web: facebook.com/ officialbeautyinthebreakdown The Players: Chastity Ashlet, vocalist, percussion; Ian Alexander, guitar; Alexandria Reyes, bass; Demetrius Williams II, drums; Tim Rouse, keyboardist.

Summary: Chastity Ashlet really has something distinctive in her hand drumming, and it could become much more central to the act's performance. If they stick to what is driving their audience wild and build upon that, Beauty In The Breakdown only stand to grow. The group has the potential to become known for a sound that is wholly original. – Brooke Trout

will say: Say the least/leave the rest/lay your hands on my beating chest/and tell me what I’ve been wanting to hear tonight. Greenberg’s material also leans toward the theatrical, making him a good fit for musical theater.

CRAIG GREENBERG Rockwood Music Hall New York, NY Contact: craiggreenbergmusic@gmail.com Web: craiggreenbergmusic.com The Players: Craig Greenberg, vocals, guitar, piano; Hiroyuki Matsuura, percussion. Material: Craig Greenberg’s piano skills have brought him as far as Cambodia, where he recently finished a residency, and back to New York City where he gave a pareddown performance previewing songs from his forthcoming album. With shades of Randy Newman mixed with some Billy Joel, Greenberg’s pop-styled originals showcase solid 54 May 2018

musicconnection.com

MARK SHIWOLICH

Musicianship: In addition to his piano skills, Greenberg took a few breaks from the keyboard, switching to guitar, which he also plays proficiently. Though often performing with a full band, his choice of percussion for this set was effective in this intimate setting. Matsuura’s subtle and varied percussion sounds, along with Greenberg’s full-bodied piano instrumental breaks, offered the listener plenty to absorb without the support of a full backing band.

composition and polished piano chops. Though his songs do not resemble current pop hits, it is clear that Greenberg walks to the beat of his own drummer, delivering an authentic and straightforward performance. “All The Pretty Things,” with its distinct arpeggiated motif, deals with being trapped in one’s own negativity; keeping potentially good things safely tucked away. Take all the pretty things keep them locked away/cause I’m sure I’ll only force them out/tell everyone I love I’ll be back one day /cause I know how this ends/ I know I’ll only bring them down. “Wanting To Hear” is pretty self-explanatory––wishing to hear what you hope someone you care about

Performance: Someone you could envision chatting with over a drink, Greenberg’s friendly and easygoing demeanor belied his whirlwind piano moves, which at times upstaged the song’s underlying message. However, he shared some of his songs’ back stories, which is always useful in building a bridge between audience and performer, as well as giving some insight into the artist. He rounded out the set with Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927”––always a good choice to include a high-profile songwriter’s material in the same genre as your own. Summary: Craig Greenberg is a top-shelf pianist, with strong vocals and sound songwriting skills. Though his piano playing and arrangements are central to the songs’ performance, pulling back on a few numbers will help the lyric content to stand out a bit more without shortchanging his overall presentation. His new release is scheduled for this coming fall. – Ellen Woloshin

Music Connection May 2018  

Music Connection presents its May Issue featuring Pentatonix! Elsewhere in the issue, we shed light on Decoding the Streaming Revolution, Si...

Music Connection May 2018  

Music Connection presents its May Issue featuring Pentatonix! Elsewhere in the issue, we shed light on Decoding the Streaming Revolution, Si...