Live Review of Byland in Alhambra

Altamira Sound Studios  Alhambra, CA

Web: bylandmusic.com

Contact: [email protected]

Players: Alie Byland, keyboard, vocals, guitar; Skyler Mehal, guitar; Manny Rodriguez, bass; Aaron O’Neil, drums 

Material: The music was very dry. Sad. Odd. Uneventful. Eerie. Byland was trying to tell stories but the lyrics didn’t make sense. The chord progressions were conventional but, as a whole, the music was very anomalous and peculiar. Soft pop on downers, like eating super-dry turkey with nothing to drink. It's difficult to tell if that’s what Byland was going for. Only one song stood out. A young lady came up to the stage to sing a guest spot, and the song had great harmonies and a very warm, appealing flavor. 

Musicianship: The musicianship was very good. Byland has a great voice, and plays the piano and guitar very well. Rodriguez’s bass was in the mix perfectly for the first half of the set and was playing excellently, but was non-existent for the second part. It kind of threw things off halfway through the show (if they weren’t off already). Mehal and O’Neil were near flawless. O’Neil, playing with brushes, kept almost perfect time. Good thing for him they didn’t need anything fancy. Mehal added much needed flavor to the tunes as he contributd a very tasteful slide guitar as well as little nuances and gradations that supplemented the tunes very nicely. 

Performance: The performance was a bit lackluster. A few bits of banter with the audience was about it. Everyone was off in their own little world, in their own little space, playing their own little parts, trying their best.

Summary: The Altamira Sound Studio is an impressive studio with state-of-the-art equipment and instruments that would satisfy all die-hard music lovers and musicians. They mixed Byland’s live sound exquisitely tasteful. Crystal clear vocals was heard and each instrument had its own space in the spectrum of things. It’s difficult to pin Byland to a genre. "Other-worldly" would seem to fit. Sad, depressive soul searching would also fit. If you like sad, eerie and gloomy music, Byland will suit you just fine. Their latest effort entitled, Heavy for a While, is out now.