Bjorn Baillie struggled with the power supply for his stomp box. The sound technician offered assistance, but no remedy could be found. A few minutes delay brought an interest in the crowd, which drew closer to the stage each minute the delay continued.
Baillie took a swig from his bottle of beer and settled for the natural overdrive tones of his tube amplifier, carried by microphone to the venue’s sound system. So what do four Irishmen playing the renowned Troubadour drink on stage? Whatever they want.
La Rocca took the stage March 31 in an intermediate position after the budding Australian shoegazer sound of Clue to Kalo and before the headlining Her Space Holiday.
La Rocca’s sound was starkly different from the other two bands. Their guitar-driven, simply addictive melodies and sickly-sweet riffs brought a hip-swaying, head-bobbing crowd out of their lulled state brought on by the post-modern Australians.
Baillie’s technical difficulties seemed to have been compensated by pure volume. More than two days after the cacophonous last note of their fantastically upbeat song, I was still wondering why I had not picked up earplugs like I always think about doing before a show.
The crowd began to sweat after only two or three songs into La Rocca’s set. The stage area seemed to swelter about 50 degrees warmer than the breeze blowing in from the rain-soaked streets of West Hollywood. They pushed closer to the stage as Alan Redmond’s thunderous drumming pounded the audience ears and hearts into a frenzy of shouts. The crowd’s enthusiasm didn’t ebb and flow back out to the bar and other social effects of the L.A. concert scene. La Rocca’s intensity kept attention focused on the stage.
Baillie’s struggle with his guitar cables brought a certain frustration that seemed to underline his punchy guitar riffs. The band maintained excellent on stage communication, both understood and explicit.
Nick Haworth’s erratic movement behind his full-sized keyboard stole the show for many of the audience off of stage-right. His expressive face seemed to channel the same emotions Baillie conjured up from deep inside that lead-singer aura he carried about himself. Or maybe that was conjured from Baillie’s sailor-esque black and white striped shirt he wore under his leather jacket.
Whatever the origin of the energy and power behind La Rocca’s performance, many audience members were impressed and asked the band upon leaving after the lackluster Her Space Holiday performance, when their debut CD would be released.
Other than “Sing Song Sung EP,” released mid-February of this year, fans will have to wait until the new album release date is announced. If the energy is anything like their performance at the Troubadour, it will be the new Los Angeles indie-rock album worth looking into.
Chris Daines can be reached at email@example.com.