Live Review: Sammy Rae

 Novo Theater Los Angeles, CA 

Contact: [email protected] 

Web: sammyrae.com 

Players: Samantha Bowers, vocals; Sabastian Chiriboga, drums; James Quinlan, bass; Will Leet, guitar, keys; Myra Moon and Kaya Kulu, backing vocals; Max Zooi, sax, keys; Kellon Anderson, sax 

Material: Sammy Rae and Friends’ music is a bit diversified. It actually comes off as “Play” music, as in Broadway plays. It’s very circus(y) with little resolve in the music. It kind of leaves you hanging and lets you resolve it on your own; inside your head, maybe. It works, though. Just ask the near 1,500 people who showed up to watch the show. Influenced by rock, jazz, blues, R&B and classic rock, it’s no wonder the music had so many directions, and Rae used all of them. 

Musicianship: The musicianship was superb. Top-notch musicians coming together always has a great impact on the outcome. The music was inspirational. You could tell it was coming from the heart. It came off as very improvised, as if every show would have a different outcome depending on who was on fire that day. That night, everyone was on fire. From the sax to the drums, to the keys and vocals; everyone was on. Kudos to Quintan and Chiriboga for holding down the rhythm section and letting everyone else do their thing. 

Performance: The performance was great. Rae had the audience dancing and screaming and yelling at the top of their lungs. It was like watching a “Simon Says” event with 1,500 attendees. Rae had complete command of the audience and she took full advantage of it. With exceptional vocals and a fun loving attitude, she took everyone on an airplane ride and didn’t let up until the very end. And with a little input from the sound and lighting crew at the Novo, everything went off without a hitch. 

Summary: There is so much chemistry, camaraderie and harmony in the Sammy Rae and Friends team, that if things were to go wrong, someone would pick up the slack and none would be the wiser. Working on their first, full-length album, Sammy Rae and Friends was a fun evening of great music for the whole family. They had a few shows left here in the States, before entertaining all over the U.K., Ireland and the Netherlands. They've been back since the new year, so don’t miss them.