Thursday, February 28, 2013

Secondhand Serenade at HOB Anaheim 2/27/13

It takes a lot of nerve, and boatloads of talent to take a stage the size of House of Blues Anaheim with nothing more to hide behind than an acoustic guitar. No backing band, no dancers, no lasers, and all those things people would have you believe are necessary for a concert tour these days. Just a gorgeous voice, lovely songs, and a couple of fierce covers, that was all John Vesely (AKA Secondhand Serenade) needed to enrapture the crowd on Wednesday night.

Vesely has been working hard to build his OC following for years now (yes, we still have pictures from an early show at The Alley in Fullerton), efforts that obviously payed off with much of the crowd singing every word right back to him. Secondhand Serenade has always drawn comparisons to Chris Carraba's Dashboard Confessional, but never is the comparison more notable than in a live setting with the crowd involvement that both acts engender.

While the set seemed a bit short, that may easily be explained by the fact that it was so damn good you just didn't want it to end. John did a great job of hitting all the songs he is best known for, as well as promoting his newly released single, which was actually much better live than the full band recording would have suggested. He also performed a beautiful rendition of Coldplay's "Fix You", keeping fairly tight to the original arrangement and yet brilliantly making it his own, as well as a startlingly hilarious ode to Enrique Iglesias with a cover of "Hero" that had the entire crowd in hysterics.

Since this was only the second date of the tour, there are lots more chances to check out Secondhand Serenade, and John will be making another pass through with his full band later this year as well. Openers for this show included Artist Vs. Poet (fronted by Joe Kirkland who was absolutely robbed by being voted off of The Voice so early) and Alex Goot, who was once, many moons ago, just another kid posting his songs up on Myspace (yep Alex, we remember you from back then), and is now a quite polished artist who pays a passing resemblance to a young Andrew McMahon, which is about the highest compliment you can get from our camp.

But in the meantime, brush up on your Secondhand Serenade lyrics, especially "Fall For You", and come out and support the remaining dates.

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