Livestream • BSR Studios Sylmar, CA
Players: Nick Krall, guitar, vocals; Chris Severino, lead guitar, vocals; John Severino, drums, vocals; Fred Williams, bass, vocals; Rosie T, Tamborine
Material: LA River is a rock & roll outfit playing hit songs from the ‘60s through to the present. You are treated to megahits like the Box Tops’ “The Letter,” and The Temptations’ “Get Ready.” Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” and Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” also made the set list, as well as “Tequila Sunrise” and “Take it Easy” by The Eagles; A good, healthy dose of your favorite rock & roll.
Musicianship: Not the strongest vocal showing. The voices were seriously all over the place–– both lead and background––and tougher to hear as the gig went on. The vocals were good on some songs but for the most part they needed critical work. The rhythm section was superb. You could tell John Severino was trying to keep the loudness down a bit, but was on beat every time as he and Williams exchanged looks to check-see where they were.
The rhythm guitar playing was very good as a few of the songs weren’t played just like the originals, but that just might have added to LA River’s own signature. The lead guitar was surprisingly good on most of the songs as Chris Severino improvised on his solos. There were a few songs where Chris was lost on the guitar, but he came through on Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page,” where his vocals just shined through and everyone forgot where they were and what they were doing and cheered the kid on.
Performance: The band showed strong rapport with the audience, and a few jokes here and there kept things light. Williams was very animated at his bass post, swinging his arm as if he were Pete Townshend of The Who and directing traffic while jokingly teasing Krall. Krall is excellent at engaging the audience with interesting tidbits of goings on and dishing out friendly banter with all the other members of the group; and let’s not forget the glasses; lol.
Summary: Seven out of 10 stars for LA River as there’s plenty of room for improvement. A great selection of songs pave the way for a great night of music, and by straightening out the vocal situation it would catapult this group to the next level. Songs like “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith and “Love the One You’re With” by Stephen Stills all focus on superb vocals; with care, LA River will soon be able to preserve that characteristic.