Allison Iraheta + Halo Circus live review - photo by Matthew Belter

Live Review: Allison Iraheta + Halo Circus at The Mint in Los Angeles, CA

Material: Allison Iraheta’s hot pink hair is just an inkling of the boldness that awaits. She fronts Halo Circus for something of a Dead Weather feel. “Nothing At All,” for example, has a very bluesy garage-rock feel. Despite the suggestion of the lyrics on “Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena),” this song is edgier than your typical Spanish rock tune. “Do You Believe In Shame?” sounds like a mashup of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s version of “Suzie Q” and, in the hands of Halo Circus, becomes a dark concoction. Then there is “Something Special,” which comes across as more of a pop-rock ballad.

Musicianship: There is something more to this sound than just a mere garage rock band. For one, there is an inventive use of instruments here. In particular there is a perfect melange of crunch, squeal, treble and fuzz in Stead’s guitar tone that makes the music so interesting. Hager’s bass lines keep the energy going, most especially on “Do You Believe In Shame?” where the crowd gets ramped up. Bellino delivers all the classic drum work we expect from a great rock show.

Performance: Iraheta hit her lyrics fast and hard on “Nothing At All” and asked for more vocal in her monitor as was necessary. There were moments when Bellino harmonized to accentuate Iraheta, but unfortunately Hager’s supporting vocal didn’t come through at all. For the most part Iraheta exhibited excellent microphone technique, making sure to pull back when she held the high notes. At points she almost seemed to overdo this as we were not able to hear the tail-end of phrases. She needs to find a happy medium there. Iraheta had fun with her audience, joking that she would pay them later for their enthusiasm. Her own was apparent as she worked the stage with Hager and Stead.

Summary: The band knows how to come down for the verse to spotlight Iraheta’s vocal. Conversely “Something Special” has a great solo section, but Iraheta talks over it. Together they need work on finding more of a balance between spotlighting her vocals and showcasing the musicians. Even though Allison Iraheta + Halo Circus had a short set as part of a Hunnypot Radio showcase, they left an indelible mark on the evening. They definitely know how to put on an entertaining performance, and with inventive, original music they are worth checking out.

The Players: Allison Iraheta, vocals; Brian Stead, guitar; Matthew Hager, bass; Veronica Bellino, drums.

Photo by Matthew Belter

Venue: The Mint
Los Angeles, CA
Contact: [email protected]
Web: halocircus.com

Allison Iraheta + Halo Circus - "Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena)"

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