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Saturday, March 06, 2010


Wednesday night, nestled along the quaint streets of downtown Upland, The Wire Music & Arts Venue hosted a night of music free of pretension; a welcome respite from the often-jaded masses in attendance at some LA shows. Fresh off their sold out night at The Bootleg Theater, Michael Runion and Gold Motel treated the all ages crowd to a two-hour block of solid indie pop tunes.

Los Angeles native, Runion has long been present on the scene; playing with Rilo Kiley, JJamz, Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band and such and it’s evident that his time with these indie touring mainstays has lent itself greatly to his solo work.

Having seen Runion in other incarnations over the years, I was looking forward to seeing him accompanied by a full band, and I must say he didn’t disappoint. Opening track “Til We Have To” has been a Future Sounds fav for quite some time, having made it into the “Top 5” on FS Radio on WOXY in 2009. Layered guitars, soaring vocals and overall twang add up to legit alt-country indie rock.

A genuinely talented lyricist, Runion’s set was peppered with cuts of the folksy 2008 release Our Time Will Come, as well songs from The Tour EP.

The stripped down version of personal favorite “Our Time Will Come” was the highlight of the set aided by a gently strummed guitar and hushed melodies. Runion’s got that whole sensitive charmer thing down pat, the kind of dreaminess that makes you feel as if he’s singing just to you and for the ladies that’s never a bad thing.

All in all, it’s evident that Runion inhabits the space between sensitive hipster crooner and Laurel Canyon influenced rocker, skillfully manages both. Side note, Runion also holds the auspicious honor of portraying Fernando in Jenny Lewis’ kitschy video for “See Fernando.” A must see.

Next up was Gold Motel, led by singer Greta Morgan (formerly of jangle-pop band The Hush Sound), who charmed the crowd with her effervescent stage presence and aplomb. Gold Motel’s self-titled EP has been on heavy rotation amongst bloggers with Morgan’s sweet 60's tinged pop recalling simpler musical times.

A relatively new outfit, with only 11 shows to their touring repertoire, this Chicago based band displayed a genuine enthusiasm apparent to the rest of crowd. Keyboard friendly tracks display shades of early Kate Nash, especially on “Don’t Send the Searchlights” and “The Cruel One.” Flourishes of country twang also work their way into these frothy girl pop confections like “Make Me Stay.” Closing the set with current single “Perfect in My Mind,” a classic ode to girl groups of the past, with a melody guaranteed to stick.

Overall, The Wire should be commended for exposing some small town Inland Empire kids to a night of good music and two artists most definitely on their way to bigger venues and greater acclaim.

Post by Veronica Pulcini

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Blogger Sarah Farnsworth said...

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5:07 PM  
Anonymous Sarah Farnsworth said...

Love me some Runion! he needs to come back to 'Frisco!

5:08 PM  
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