The Whisky has seen its share of young and undiscovered talent in its storied history. It seems that every night you can find a group of young hopefuls trying to make their mark on the L.A. music scene. The boards of The Whisky have been trod by a literal who’s who of rock n’ roll. Countless foursomes from The Valley have lived out their fantasy of playing in front of a Hollywood crowd. The price, sell the requisite allotment of tickets, or pony up the equivalent themselves, and the dream can come to life. If you have been to the Whisky on more than a few occasions, you know it can be a crap shoot as to whether the six undercard performers you will be witnessing are a budding success or…. well, crap. Friday, October 8th, the premier act on the bill was a group of musicians who are young but carry a musical pedigree.
The Sevs are essentially a duo who are accompanied on stage by supporting musicians, ala’ Steely Dan. Dax Taylor plays lead guitar and Dawson Kroeger plays rhythm guitar and handles lead vocals. The pair grew up together in Hawaii and now both find themselves in Los Angeles, and are the creative force for the group. Coinciding with the release of their latest self-released album, Renaissance Man, they kick off the weekend at the Whisky with a brief five song set, with four of the selections coming from the new record. The opening number is the title track from their 2020 EP, LA’s Under The Weather. It’s an amalgamation of late 60’s inspired, 90’s interpreted pop, with a modern spin. The lead-in is a melancholy ballad that rises to a tantrum leading into a purging guitar solo, before sinking back into the lamenting finish.
The tandem is being supported on this particular evening by Jersey Sullivan on bass and Ethan Nealon on drums. They use their remaining twenty or so minutes to impart four of the ten tracks on Renaissance Man. Most of their selections have a very singer/songwriter, coffeehouse rock feel to them. The tunes tend to be emotionally evocative in both structure and lyrical styling, with captivating and harmonious hooks. The influences of 60’s pop and 90’s alternative music are laced throughout the songs. Kroeger being the son of Nickelback’s Mike Kroeger and Taylor being the son of Steve Taylor from The Uninvited, you can imagine they were exposed to quite a range of musical styles in their formative years. All that is squeezed into a patchwork of musical and lyrical sentiments.
The final song of the evening, Maybe 1 More, breaks from the general feel of the set. The finale is a bit more upbeat with a springy, recurring riff. Although their set was a mere 25 minutes, The Sevs were able to display their beyond their years musicianship and songwriting abilities. Having the first set at the Whisky, playing to about 30 people is a tough ask, not to mention the clubs propensity for backlighting the artists and bathing them in red. For a number of the early slotters, the inability to discern faces may bring a sense of anonymity when they discover they are not ready for prime-time. In the case of The Sevs, you’re going to want to know their faces.
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