September 28, 2009

Live Review: Saint Motel

Chapman University // Sept. 18, 2009

For those who did not attend Chapman University’s Friday’s frat party, probably attended the free show

Chapman film school alumni Saint Motel's free show was complete with matching white School of Rock button-ups and mini palm tree decor against the backdrop of Chapman’s grandiose library. In the midst of hysterical sorority girls breaking their heels to catch the last party bus, I manage to park next to Saint Motel’s van: a humble black vehicle holding the weight of three guitars, drums and on-stage Motel flare. Out pop four young men who introduce themselves to me and invite me to Spaceland, an elite L.A. bar where they have a residency.

Saint Motel opened the quaint show with their first single, “Dear Dictator,” a song from their newly released EP, ForPlay, that has been prevalent on L.A.’s KROQ radio. I’ve been trying to pinpoint who exactly Saint Motel sounds like, and I was convinced that it was The Strokes. However, though both American bands balance their rock with a shot of pop and share similarly friendly, light vocals, Saint Motel prove themselves to be a truly unique L.A. indie band. Songs such as “Dear Dictator” and crowd-favorite “Pity Party” provide an underlying political theme that acts as a catalyst for audience reaction: “Nobody has ever seen his face/but there it smiles. They will drink your blood just for the taste.” These “us vs. them” lyrics successfully riled up the crowd and everyone danced with their fists in the air.

Saint Motel’s motives are to connect their listeners to their ideas presented through song, and they do so every single time they perform. The crowd latches on and never seems to let go. And they ended their encore with “Do Everything Now,” a command that fans didn’t mind obliging.

-Review and photo by Gina Vaynshteyn

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