The Jacks

The Jacks + Fox Wilde + Creature Canyon at The Troubadour

Friday, July 26 was a night that absolutely rocked. Three bands performed at famed LA venue, The Troubadour, which has been a staple in the LA music and nightlife scenes since it opened in 1957. The performers I experienced that night can add themselves to a long roster of great performers who have made their debut there from James Taylor to Billy Joel to Sam Smith. All three bands gave their own flavor to the broad rock genre putting on equally stellar, yet distinct performances.

First up was Fox Wilde, a band comprised of brothers Michael Lerios, who plays the guitar, and Demitri Lerios, who serves as vocalist, along with bassist Caroline Cirone and drummer Fer Fuentes. Their brand of rock was more pop-infused than the other two bands. Their songs had upbeat, catchy rhythms that often found Demitri Lerios dancing from one end of the stage to the other. He’s definitely an ace pick for frontman given his charismatic personality and ability to interact with the crowd. Wearing a billowy white shirt with a sequin-adorned collar only furthered his on-stage (and maybe off-stage?) persona making him an almost Freddie Mercury-type frontman who has a talent for both music and theatrics. When their set was over, fans weren’t nearly satisfied enough as they cried out for an encore. However, due to the lengthy program of the night, an encore just wasn’t possible. Lerios climbed up on the platform, arms outstretched, to thank the audience for their energy that night and with one quick motion, they were off the stage.

The second act was San Diego-based act Creature Canyon, a five-piece band made up of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Austin Steele, lead guitarist Ryan Amyot, bassist Aaron Lund, drummer Kyle Victoria, and keyboardist Luc Fralic. They performed their own brand of rock music that gave off a very California-esque vibe—a bit groovy, extra rock. Their bassist brandished his freshest dance moves as he swerved along to the beat of their music. Their drummer proved to be quite good at multi-tasking as he provided backing vocals to several songs while keeping the band on rhythm. The backing vocals supplied by all band members were of great quality as they performed pleasant harmonies that nicely paired with their lead singer's melody. Steele, their lead vocalist, performed on other instruments, trading off between the guitar and a tambourine throughout their set. Their professionalism and performance skills became apparent when Steele knocked over his guitar. The performance continued and the band was able to keep performing without missing a beat. At one point during their set, Amyot and Lund simultaneously jumped up on the two platforms on either side of the stage and gave audience members in the back a better view of their skills. Again, upon finishing, the crowd yearned for more but the band was unable to provide an encore as the next and final act needed to set-up to perform.

The Jacks were the main act of the night and came on at 10:00. By this point, The Troubadour was filled to the brim with people fighting for a view. I had to move several times to be able to see. As the band set up, fans were already pretty hyped for their performance. Many were banging on the stage and cheering them on while waiting for the first song to be played. They were definitely not disappointed since as soon as The Jacks played their first note, it was a party from start to finish. The Jacks comprise of Jonny Stanback on lead vocals and guitar, Thomas Hunter on lead guitar, Scott Stone on bass and Josh Roossin on the drums. All four musicians were equally skilled at their chosen instrument and displayed great on-stage chemistry staying in sync, with each instrument complementing the others. Hunter showed how technically adept he is when he played a guitar solo in several songs. Fans were ecstatic each time he would move to the front of the stage and perform. Stanback's vocals were smooth and fit their songs very well as he gave off that very cool, laid-back feel that seems to be at the core of their band's philosophy. Having read several other interviews with them, they have become pretty well-known for being labeled a "rock 'n roll" band rather than just simply a "rock" band. The difference comes in attitude, both their own and their music's—a sort of easygoing, cool vibe that harkens back to the rock 'n roll legends of the '60s and '70s and makes you wish you were hip enough to be their friend. Bassist Stone and drummer Roossin were also given plenty of opportunities to showcase their proficiency. Stone's bass along with his dance moves and performance persona was impressive while the band gave Roossin his own "mini-set" by exiting the stage as he played a drum solo. You could see his passion for playing as he often jumped out of his seat and performed standing up.

While the band was pretty immersed in their music, the crowd was pretty immersed in the band. Throughout the performance, people were pushing and shoving trying to snag the best view. At one point, several people started moshing and a few audience members even began crowd-surfing. What struck me was first, the sheer number of people who had come out to watch them perform, but also the fact that The Jacks had fans young and old. Older fans made their way to the front of the stage and danced their hearts out to the music. The Jacks established a good rapport with their audience, often engaging them in parts of the performance. Fans began singing along to songs from their EP like "Hello, My Friend" and "Walk Away." The singing was so loud that The Jacks stopped playing during one song and joined everyone in an a capella sing-along. For another song, the band had audience members get down low and once everyone stood back up again, Stanback jumped into the audience to crowd surf. A good time was definitely had by all, so much so that when The Jacks finished their set, an encore was pretty much inevitable. The foursome came back out to deafening cheers and performed a cover of "Hey Jude" while the crowd sang along. During the encore, a disco ball spun amidst a dark-lit room creating quite a fun, psychedelic atmosphere, helping end the night on a very high note.