The Chances live at Central SAPC

Andrew Lopez

The Chances caught the crowd off guard Tuesday night in Santa Monica. The Los Angeles-based trio played at Central SAPC, for about 30 people who clearly were not expecting the sound they received.

Michael Runion, the band’s guitarist-singer formed the group with pianist-singer Sara Sinclair and flutist-singer Julia Barna, near the end of 2011.

They have played less than 10 shows together and are still figuring out their identity. Still, they were surprisingly tight for a band in its infancy.

Harmonies involving all members dominated the band’s sound as sentimental balladry from guitar and bass kept the songs simple yet heartfelt. There was a definitive doo-wop feel to their music, taking listeners of oldies to familiar places.

This was not the type of band the audience was expecting to open for psychedelic pop band, Incan Abraham.

Both Barna and Sinclair have been singing since a young age and it showed in the strength and choral-minded harmonies they created with one another. Runion is a self-taught musician, which was evident in his vocals, adding raw emotion that meshed perfectly with the classical voices of Barna and Sinclair.

Joining the Chances onstage were a few friends, assisting them with bass, drum and cello duties. Though Runion acknowledged the core of the group being he, Barna and Sinclair, he likes the idea of having the option to add and subtract instruments as it suits the band’s needs.

The group seemed to truly enjoy playing with one another, smiling and laughing between and after songs, giving even more life to a performance that was already sincere in passion and effort.

The music room in Central SAPC, a 21-and-over club, was small enough for an intimate show but big enough to attract a modest sized audience. The crowd stood, sipping their drinks while occasional bursts of neon green lighting broke up the darkness of the room.

The audience was mostly quiet; some not even clapping after The Chances finished their songs.

This does not mean people did not like the band’s set.

It was Taylor Lampela’s first time seeing The Chances and she enjoyed watching the band perform.

“I really like them because I love their throwback sound and their harmonies,” Lampela said. “I was dancing and having a great time.”

Those, like Lampela, who were willing to give something new a try, may have found a new band to keep an eye out for. Those who did not missed out on a unique sound and impressive showing by The Chances.



To listen to an interview with The Chances after their set on Tuesday night, listen here: [audio:|titles=The Chances]