January 11th, 2011 | Live reviews

If you’re looking for a place to go on a Tuesday night in Los Angeles, a great spot right now is La Brie’s for a weekly event local music blog Radio Free Silverlake puts together. Each month a different band on RFSL’s radar headline and local band friends support the bills. It was the end of Marvelous Toy’s December residency and joining them were College Kids and Manhattan Murder Mystery. College Kids is Malcom Sosa of Radamacher, and Kim Haden of Yellow Alex and The Feelings. Sosa, has a shoelace tied to his guitar and Haden, who plays a set of two key boards stacked on top of each other, create music that sounds very similar to Stars and Amos The Transparent. The pair were singing together and had a drum track backing them up. It was really rad to see it was just two people creating all that music. College Kids covered Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” and then mentioned their merchandise was for sale at a discounted price if you took a quiz after their show. Throughout the night anytime I saw someone taking the quiz I laughed. Some of the questions reminded of taking a 7th grade history test. Who assassinated Arch Duke Ferdinand? Why was there a Korean War?

Marvelous Toy didn’t waste any time entertaining the crowd, opening the show with “Cities In My State,” encouraging everyone to clap. Raymond Richards on bass and Franck Fiser on drums compliment each other well. Ny Lee and front man Jordan Hudock took turns sharing a Roland Keyboard with an IsGoodMusic sticker on it throughout the show. The second song in their set was “The City Is A Washing Machine,” which is a fun indie country rock song. At times it reminds me of a Bright Eyes tune, which may be why I like it so much. La Brie’s, formally The Scene Bar, was quiet. A little too quiet in between the songs. Was everyone after Christmas tired or was the crowd just hypnotized by Marvelous Toy? Either seemed to be a good reason, but what matters most was that everyone’s eyes were peeled open for the band. “Waiting For The Fire” was next, a favorite song of mine, and it looked as though others agreed. Hudock sung on the edge of the stage out into the crowd. Lee played a xylophone which brings a beautiful charm to the song. MT performed “There’s A Red Light Above Me,” off their new yet to be released album. Brother Cody Hudock was fantastic on this song. It was a really great sight to see the Hudock brothers playing together. Hudock says he messed the lyrics up on us but who would even notice since the song has yet to be released. I wish he didn’t mention it. I didn’t notice. As they performed their last song Hudock declared it a Marvelous Toy Dance Party and if there was any dancing to do, then was the time to do it. Richards at one point jumped into the crowd, danced and rubbed against a girl who hopefully was his girlfriend or a very lucky fan. After their last note Hudock threw the xylophone gently into the drum kit. It was the politest rock and roll moment in history.

Manhattan Murder Mystery is a loud crazy band that remind me of Bruce Springsteen meets Radars To The Sky. They played as a five piece at this show which is a few less people than I’ve normally seen them play with. Singer Matthew Teardrop performed wearing an army helmet and an I <3 Hulk Hogan hooded sweat shirt. Elaine Layabout was tearing it up on the mandolin and John of Seasons joined the band on vocals, maracas, and tambourine. Katya Arce played with an awesome mini Marshall set up with three pieces stacked on top of one another. She is one of my favorite bass players in Los Angeles! Teardrop, who was playing in front of his friends, jokingly chimed in, “Hello, We’re Manhattan Murder Mystery from Los Angeles, California, USA” and throughout their set, after a song or two, he’d say the same line, USA and all, changing it up to “Glendale,” or the “San Fernando Valley.” It certainly brought a chuckle from the crowd every time. Teardrop shouts out, “We were going to try some new material tonight but we got drunk as fuck,” and then they thrashed into the next song. The joys of playing last on a bill is you get there early to load in and then your sitting in a bar, drinking, watching, and waiting for your turn on the stage. I could understand where these guys were coming from. Halfway through their set, Teardrop asked everyone to raise their glass with him and toast College Kids… but then Teardrop spit it out on the crowd and said he was going to have a toast for Marvelous Toy but he didn’t think he could handle another sip in him. The band gave a shout out to Teardrop’s girlfriend Bernadette who was celebrating her birthday. Manhattan Murder Mystery closed their set with “In The Parking Lot.” Teardrop jumped into the audience with his microphone and guitar and continued to perform while Arce and Layabout turned faced and played to each other. Laura Velez on drums is an amazing sight to see. All of a sudden Matthew Teardrop did another signature move: stops, throws his guitar and helmet on the ground and runs out the venue while friends shout out “Nailed It!”

Rebecca Balin