Material: The Gatsby Affair is charmingly familiar, almost to a fault. The songs are warm and nostalgic, lacking in some emotional depth, like some of pop-punk’s darlings in the early 2000’s. “Easy,” and “Because I Met You,” were startling catchy, though the melodies have ceased to follow past the exit door of the venue. The problem for The Gatsby Affair is not in their ability to write musical hooks; instead, it is in lyrics that don’t make an impact and all too similar arrangements for each song in their set. Those arrangements can be forgiven, as many people would argue every pop-punk song sounds the same anyway, but lyrics are incredibly important for acts in this genre.
Musicianship: Lead vocalist Beem has a friendly and palatable voice. It is what one might expect for the pop-punk genre, but pleasant nonetheless. Lead guitarist Duarte played clean parts with a quirky Ezra Miller-esque stage energy that was captivating for the band’s small but loving audience. Bassist DiSarrio has great stage presence and energy, and all of his parts (albeit simple ones) are neat and tucked in place. Good players, good singer, good songs, but a bit too familiar for a strong investment. Finding what makes your band special, be it three-part harmonies or wild bass riffs, and letting that shine through is what’s going to be important for The Gatsby Affair.
Performance: The vibe of each individual player at this show, from their outfits to their energy, was exactly where it needed to be. Bass player and lead guitarist had great presence, interacting with each other in a way that seemed natural and fun. The band was well rehearsed––no parts seemed out of place, no wrong notes were heard––and the vocals were clean (if not a bit too low in the mix). In doing research about The Gatsby Affair, it was difficult to determine if this band is the usual line-up or a one night only performance. Regardless, it was fun to watch, and the audience agreed.
Summary: The Gatsby Affair is a good band. The songs are in a good place––good melodies, decent arrangements. The musicianship is good, they play well as a unit, which made this performance fine to watch. Unfortunately, good doesn’t pay the bills in Los Angeles. In a city as competitive as this one, the songs and performance need to be even stronger: The story you tell is ultimately what draws fans to your music. Give them something personal and unique to listen to. There are a lot of bands doing the same routine in LA––what makes you different? Find that and play to it. It’ll make a world of difference. – Carah Wes