Posted On 22 Jul 2014
From July 9th to August 16th, The Pershing Square Downtown Stage comes alive with free outdoor music and films 5 days a week. The audience is welcome to bring lawn chairs or blankets to evening entertainment and kick back under the twinkling lights of Downtown Los Angeles. A Beer & Wine garden and a variety of food trucks are available for dining options during the Saturday night shows.
This summer’s Saturday night headline bands include L.A.’s home grown rock legends, Classic Rock heroes, British pop stars, and everything in between.
Last weekend, rock bands Dead Sara and Tonic played the stage so I headed downtown for a night of music under the stars.
As soon as I got there, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t overly crowded and there was plenty of lawn space to spread out a blanket and get comfy. I was also excited to see the Grilled Cheese Food Truck and a fancy ice cream truck there too.
Dead Sara started the night off and they seemed to explode from the stage. Emily Armstrong and Siouxsie Medley front this Los Angeles based band. This electrifying four-piece rock band have supercharged music that is certainly propelled by Medley’s exhilarating, monster guitar riffs and Armstrong’s powerful, wailing vocals.
It was obvious that the younger crowd sitting on the lawn was all about these rockers. Every time I looked around at the crowd, every person was singing along. Meanwhile I spent my time in awe of the lead singer, Emily Armstrong’s live strong vocals. She also took full control of the stage and seemed to own it even. Emily chatted with the audience throughout their set and even apologized a few times for a blown amp that happened early on in their show.
All in all, I was mostly impressed with the connection Dead Sara had with the audience. There were no gimmicks, no distractions. It was straight up hard rock n’ roll.
After a very brief 20 minute intermission, Tonic took the stage. Known for relentlessly touring in the 90’s and early 2000’s, Tonic indeed has shown true commitment to their fans and music. They have put out 6 albums and have made more then their fair share of appearances in soundtracks and earned two Grammy awards. The band’s lineup still includes the three original members, Emerson Hart, Jeff Russo and Dan Lavery and rounded out by a rotating drummer.
According to Tonic’s Facebook page, Emerson Hart is quoted as saying, “When we play music together it feels like going home. Getting together, playing some rock-n-roll: it’s the best feeling in the world.”
You can really see all of that when the guys are on stage. They’ve got a powerful balance of soulful vocals and harmonies and hard rock guitar tones. The highlight of their set was definitely when they played their hit song, “If You Could Only See”. Back in 1996, it reached No. 11 on the Billboard Airplay Hot 100.
During ‘Wicked Soldier”, Jeff and Dan totally went wild with incredible guitar solos. It was a fantastic guitar battle of masters at center stage. Tonic then went on to end the night with “Casual Affair” and it was the heaviest song of the night. Everyone screamed as loud as they could to the amazing music, ending the song and Tonic’s set.
If you are looking for something relaxing, inexpensive and fun to do in Los Angeles on the weekends, then I highly recommend going to a show at Pershing Square. For the full schedule of events, check out: http://www.laparks.org/pershingsquare/downtown-stage-2014.html