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SCV’s eclectic musicians

Posted: June 15, 2010 9:43 p.m.
Updated: June 16, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Music has always had a way of uniting people. If you've ever been to a concert, then you have seen the automatic connection fans often have to each other.

This kind of fan-to-fan connection is exactly what Adian Kassel, 17, a junior at West Ranch High School, and Reese Jensen, 20, a College of the Canyons sophomore, are trying to create at Legion Hall in Newhall.

The pair, who recently rented the facility as a venue where local bands can perform, have tried to make it a place where people can hear good music and see that local bands really can have good quality.

"We would like to show people that the stigma about local bands not being good is wrong," Jensen said.
Kassel added: "There isn't much to do around here, and we just wanted to show people here that there's more than just ska music."

What they didn't expect was to do so well with selling tickets.

"The first show we were worried that not a lot of people would go, but we spent $800 for renting it, and we made double," Kassel said. "This is pretty successful for a first show. I really like blues a lot and new indie music, and just watching performances. Last Coachella, I felt like I had to get people together and play because this is what I want to do. Something to kill time and for fun."

Their recent band lineup on May 15 offered something for everybody. The bands included On Holiday, Nick and Madison, The Powerr, First Class Funeral, The Dining Dead and Disciples of Saturn.

Kassel and Jensen both play in First Class Funeral, a group that describes itself as "jazzy nasty" and bubbling with indie blues roots, fueled partly by modern influences.

Jensen also plays in The Dining Dead, a band he says was inspired by 90s noise rock and pop influences.

The pair's recent band showcase began quietly enough, with Holiday, an eclectic trio that featured one guy on snare drum and high hat; another player on keyboards, guitar, bass drum and harmonica; and Parker Rose, 25, of West Los Angeles, on guitar and vocals.

As the crowd slowly filtered in, Holiday ran through a set that included several originals and a cover of "A Well Respected Man" by The Kinks.

"We've been together about six months," Rose said. "We're still working on our songs, and we're going to go after Silver Lake."

A lot of bands play there, he said, and the two clubs they have their eye on are Spaceland and Pehr Space.

And it's all about making connections.

"That's how you get somewhere," Rose said. "You don't do it by calling club owners - you do it by talking to bands that have played there."

Holiday was followed by Nick and Madison, a group comprised solely of guitarist and drummer, who laid down some grooves that found the guitar and drums fused tightly in lockstep.

The tunes often began with the guitar setting up a simple pattern that was looped and repeated through a delay pedal, laying the foundation for some heavy guitar/drum workouts, a la Led Zeppelin.

Victoria Degrandis, 14, a Learning Post student, was there to hear First Class Funeral.

"The people in the band are really cool," she said. "It's like indie meets jazz meets rock."

Her friend, Reilly Egan, 14, a West Ranch High School student, said she enjoyed the concert.

"You don't get a lot of chances to see local bands live," she said. "This is good exposure for the bands because they get to put themselves out there."

Hillary Smith is a student at Bishop Alemany High School.



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