Hard Rock Cafe at Universal Citywalk opened its doors to 22-year-old Kyle Lee, a sophomore communications major, and his band Bledsoe on Sept. 18.
The night began with FearMia, an acoustic rock band, which was reminiscent of Alanis Morissette, Ani DiFranco, and the Indigo Girls, all put together.
Next up was Bledsoe.
Bledsoe’s performance was highly energized. Frontman Lee was all over the stage, and let the music take control over him.
Their stage performance was great, but the band’s recorded tracks admittedly sound more polished.
Perhaps it was the environment. The Hard Rock is a place where bands perform, but it is also a restaurant, which makes the vibe a little different than at a solely music club.
“There were couples that came up to me after and said they don’t really like too much rock and weren’t there for a show, but stayed because they thought we were pretty good,” Lee said after the show. “So it really makes it worth playing as hard as you can every time.”
Bledsoe was followed by Beverly, an Orange County-based band that reminded listeners of Hoobastank, and later by San Fernando Valley-based rock band the Aftermidnight Project, which brought its own eclectic sound to the venue.
Bledsoe, a four-member modern rock band from the San Fernando Valley, formed in 2004 after members had played in a variety of separate bands in the area and beyond.
Their songs appeal to a broad range of listeners, mainly because they deal with universal issues like love and all the complications and joy it can bring.
Lee, who performs vocals, and his childhood friend guitarist Josh Willis set out on a quest to find the other two components they were looking for.
With 23-year-olds Joe Rivera on bass and Zach Collins on drums, both joined Lee and Willis, 21, to form Bledsoe.
The story behind the band’s name is somewhat unusual. Willis was in Venice, California and saw a street named Bledsoe. He could not get the name out of his mind and decided that it would be their name.
With the band in place, they recorded their first demo with local producer, Alex Newport, who has worked with such artists as At The Drive In, System of a Down and the Mars Volta. Bands that influenced their style are Refused, Deftones, Braid, Counterfeit, Far, and Rage Against the Machine.
All of the band’s songs are initially written by Willis, and the rest of the group pitches in to create other songs.
Their first show was at the Knitting Factory in the Alterknit Lounge and the show sold out. The band has built its fan base with every show it has had, and the band does all of its promoting itself.
The band tries to do one show in Hollywood a month, as well as shows at other smaller venues. Band members said that high schools and recreation centers are great for getting their music out there to kids who may not be able to drive out to cities like Hollywood.
Bledsoe has not been signed yet, but that dream is something all the members of Bledsoe hope will come true.
“It’s all a matter of who gets what you’re doing and wants to make your dreams a reality,’ Lee said.
Bledsoe’s next Hollywood performance will be Oct. 9 at the Knitting Factory.
Candice Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.