October 6th, 2010 | Live reviews

I’ve really been enjoying going to The Bootleg Theater lately. They have a nice outdoor patio, good sound, and kind lighting. While they only serve beer and wine I feel that helps keep the crowd tame and somewhat sophisticated rather than loud and tanked. Usually a five band bill is a lot to digest but the theme of the night kept everyone entertained. Updated styles of American and Latin folk brought a diverse crowd together.

The evening opened up with a group that sounded like a bunch Bohemian Flapper Hippies, Featherbeard. When Featherbeard is on stage he’s neither man, nor beard, nor bird. Well, than what is he exactly? That I’m not sure of, but I feel confident he’s part of Mother Nature’s militia singing songs of friendship, love, and trees with a quirky Devandra Banhart vibe. Wearing a beautiful headpiece and a beard of feathers, Featherbeard was accompanied by friends on percussion, upright bass, and guitar keeping the audience still, silent, and in humorous smiles.

Latin heartthrob Adanowsky was next to the stage joined by his friend Max Sokolinski of Sweaters on guitar. Adanowsky peformed an acoustic set singing en Espanol and had a swooning front row of ladies enchanted under his spell. You could tell he was a real treat for fans scattered throughout the crowd. Adanowsky would boast “Thank you all for being so quiet and listening. I flew all the way from Mexico to be here today.” At the end of his set he was cheered on for an encore, a sight not seen too often for an opening act.

Keeping with the Latin theme was Las Cafeteras, named after their community center in East Los Angeles. What amazing group of people. Guitar, marimba, cajon, and Southern Veracruz dancing. Here’s a band that their families must be proud of, reviving Latin music and culture through their excitement and youth. At this point everyone came out of their shells. The room was alive with music and everyone was busting a move, swinging a partner around. The crowd and the band showed appreciation for one another. Friends joined Las Cafeteras for a closing cover of “La Bamba.”

By the end of the Las Cafeteras set, the room was packed for the anticipated performance of He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister… Brother and Sister, Robert (of Lemon Sun) & Rachel Kolar with Lauren Brown & guest drummer Orpheo McCord (of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros) and cellist Satya Bhabha celebrated the release of the band’s new self-titled EP, and last homebase show before leaving on tour with Edward Sharpe. Their set had a great flow from begining to end, keeping everyone in the audience dancing and singing. He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister reminded me of The Mama And The Papas. What I really like about this band is Brown tap dancing, using her feet as an instrument. Hopefully a new phenomenon is starting. The crowd went wild for their amazing cover of Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants.”

Surprisingly the crowd got a little lighter after their set, which I find shocking. Who doesn’t want dessert after dinner? Amanda Jo Williams was just that. Pretty much envision the best ice cream sundae party you’ve ever been to and then all of your friends laughing and spraying whipped cream everywhere. Sounds like a party right? Amanda Jo Williams is a quirky, hip, country Georgia peach. Amanda Jo plays guitar and kick drum while friends join her on percussion, guitar, and upright bass. She sings songs about being a country girl, getting sick and dying, and bears eating her. Watching Amanda Jo Williams live and joining the country tribal dance circle is pretty much a therapeutic experience. Her lyrics are infectious and so off the wall that your own crazy thoughts start to become sane. A must see! With band members named 5-Track and Feather, Amanda Jo Williams seems almost like a superhero, building our heart rates one song at a time! Knowing how hard it is to put a show together I was really thankful for this wonderful night out.

Rebecca Balin