This week the weather’s been warm, but last night at FivePoint Amphitheatre, it got down right hot and nasty! The Night Running Tour that features headliners, Beck, Cage the Elephant and Spoon hit town. For those who like to be entertained by interactive bands, Five Point was definitely the place to be.
On this leg of the tour, the opener was L.A.-based Starcrawler, which proved to be an electrifying four-piece band. They brought their twangy alt-rock/pop-punk sound and persona to the show. Lead singer Arrow de Wilde set the tone immediately as to what the crowd was in for. She covered herself in red paint, smearing it on her face, which made people pay immediate attention. She also wore a volcanic ensemble of colors while belting out her booming and sometimes raspy delivery that was nothing short of electro-shock therapy for the ears, with a little rhythm. Performance highlights included their cover of Ramones classic, “Pet Cemetery,” which sounded fantastic, and their current hit, “She Gets Around.”
Following Starcrawler was Spoon, and they killed it, too. Fans throughout FivePoint were standing and singing along to every word of every song. This alt-rock band from Austin, Texas, brought their funky bit of soul’ with that electro-sonic kick, and their fans loved it. These loyalist love Spoon so much, that everywhere you looked people were dancing and having a great time. Throughout the show, lead singer Britt Daniel acknowledged the love from the crowd and thanked them for their support. Their set was highlighted by their mega-hit “Don’t You Evah,” which caused their fans to lose their minds.
Inasmuch as the day was hot for the opening band, the sun came down, but the temperature in the house did not. Up next was the alt-rock juggernaut Cage the Elephant, which comes from Bowling Green, Kentucky, but you could tell they felt right at home in the OC. Cage is touring in support of their latest album Social Cues, which features a song they did with Beck that also spotlights the tour name, Night Running. From the first lyric and strum of their guitars, their energy was pulsating. Concertgoers reacted with cartoon-crazy signs of affection for the band, and their favorite songs.
As usual, lead singer Matt Schultz was a show within a show. His on-stage performance is becoming a thing of legend, channeling some of the greats; even Freddy Mercury would have smiled. Coming out in his trademark quirky outfit and what looked like a beekeeper’s hat and face mask, Schultz brought down the house with his dancing, singing and interactive serenades to members of the crowd. Throughout the night, Schultz often went into the crowd and they became part of the show. It’s also amazing how Schultz stands on the shoulders of fans and walks a virtual tightrope on top of the photographer’s pit. He’s so good at that, you’d think he was a circus performer in a previous life. That said, the band was tight as ever, and they sounded great. They played all the songs from their catalogue, but definite show stoppers were “Come a Little Closer,” “Ready to Let Go,” “Mess Around,” “Shake Me Down,” “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” “Trouble” and “Cigarette Daydreams,” which caused the house to erupt as people were visibly moved by Schultz’s heartfelt delivery.
In the end, the night surged to another level of craziness as Beck took the stage and took no prisoners as he opened with his uber-hit “Loser.” Dressed in black with his trademark black hat like he’s his generation’s Johnny Cash, Beck came out strong and the crowd went nuts. Even though Beck is an Angeleno, he too felt right at home at Five Point. Often referring to his SoCal upbringing in SoCal had the crowd connecting with their LA brother. Beck delivered another epic performance.
His lo-fi-synth-pop-electric punk-funk-twangy signature sound was on full display throughout the night. With a Grammy win for Best Alternative Music Album in his rearview mirror, Beck might be expected to show some signs of slowing down, but it was like he was out there playing guitar with his hair on fire. The playlist was dynamic, sifting through various points of his catalogue, touching on tunes from at least eight different albums. Songs that Beck belted out for the faithful included “The New Pollution,” “Que Onda Guero,” “Girl,” “WOW,” “Devil’s Haircut,” “Up All Night” and “Where It’s At.”
Overall, it was a very good night to be entertained, and the music at FivePoint was over-the-top good.