The Hotel Cafe Hollywood, CA
The Players: Brendan Cooney, vocals, guitar; Ben Lozano, lead guitar; Dave Mozdzanowski, bass; Ryan Cooney, drums; Mike Barone, acoustic guitar, keyboard.
Material: The Gallery excels at crafting easy-to-follow story songs with catchy phrasing and titles. What does this mean for their live show? It ensures that the audience sings along, and they do indeed, especially on “Restless Soul” and “Catalyst,” the latter utilizing repetition of visual poetry: “You once lit me up like a cigarette/And you burned me down and now there's nothing left/You were the one who put a spark to this/You were the gasoline/You were the catalyst.” In particular the verse, “It was last call/It wasn't you it was the alcohol,” is met with a round of applause.
Musicianship: The band knocks out tight trifectas of stops, tempo drops and fun fadeouts with Ryan Cooney at the rhythm helm. Dave Mozdzanowski introduces interesting bass descents on bridge sections. Both he and Cooney are especially tight on “Ballroom of Broken Hearts.” Ben Lozano has a nice clean guitar tone that is a defining element of the band’s sound. He occasionally brings out a slide and uses it to good effect, adding catchy and solid melodic riffs to the compositions.
Mike Barone offers up some Wurlitzer sounds on a few songs including “Fast Friends,” switching between keyboard and acoustic guitar throughout the set.
Performance: Unfortunately Barone’s backing vocal and acoustic guitar were mostly lost in the mix. This was unfortunate as the band harmonized throughout the set. Frontman Brendan Cooney frequently flipped his head away from the microphone which offered an interesting syncopation to the sound but sometimes resulted in an unintentional hot and low mix. The levels only seemed to improve when the drum tempos came down, primarily in the song finales. Despite this, Lozano was given enough space in the overall compositions, and this allowed his solos to shine through.
Summary: This show was part of a college tour sponsored by The Alzheimer’s Foundation. Although the stage seemed a bit too small to accommodate all the instrumentation and switchover that was necessary, the band was called back for an encore, performing “The Fever,” a song that also includes another catchy and well enunciated chorus.
Overall the Gallery have a consistent style throughout their set, which is primarily rock that borders on pop-rock. If the band continues to perform harmonies, it will be crucial to master their live sound.
– Brooke Trout
Photo by Kelly Lynn