San Jose does not get credit for its music scene. Some would even ask, “Does it even have one?” Does San Jose have bands that are just as sweet to the ears as the talent that hail from its northern and eastern sister and brother San Francisco and Oakland? Bands that are worth driving out for, that fulfill all of our folk, rock, and country desires? Can there be young and unique rock and country bands so gifted that you tell yourself, “I’m going to see these guys at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in the next couple of years. I just know it.”
Those questions were answered quickly when you heard Hurricane Rose’s charismatic, tambourine-wielding front woman, Angi Lemucchi, belt out beautifully (and fittingly), “Oh I don’t know, this city just might win.”
Hurricane Roses headlined at the Blackbird’s Annex on Saturday night. The country band was preceded by two other South Bay-native bands: pop/rock band American Wild, and rock band Talkie. It was a particularly special night as the majority of the band members from all three bands were from the South Bay Area, and were there to support each other as much as to promote their newest work.
All three groups left a deep impression: there is some real talent brewing and bubbling and it is not to be underestimated. Lemucchi’s unshakable voice and the band’s infectious rhythms had the audience boot stomping and clapping during upbeat, country dance songs and swaying and entranced to Lemucchi’s more nostalgic, melancholy ballads.
Roses’ lyrics are poetry in and of themselves. Image-evoking Lyrics such as “Those Southern winds I cant forget,” and dance-inducing lighthearted words such as “We should just have a good time; Put your best dress on,” (a Damien Jurado cover) showcased the versatility of the band.
They could evoke feelings of carefree fun and smoothly transition to heartstring-pulling tracks. Lemucchi’s powerful voice took you to another time a place with “Under the Tennessee moon, on that Tennessee night.” The crowd, many loyal followers of the group, was screaming encore as she finished with the gorgeous “Take Me Now.” The band certainly did.
Hurricane Roses released their first, self titled album in 2011 and just recently released their second album, Home to Haunt You. Hurricane Roses is a 6 piece band- many of whom are San Jose natives.
Talkie directly preceded the Hurricane Roses. They were a hard act to follow. They are four member, all male, South Bay native rock band and are all San Jose music scene veterans, having been a dedicated part of the scene in each of their previous bands. Talkie is a band to talk about.
Their lyrics are relatable, their songs sophisticated yet incredibly catchy, and each of the member’s voices had a distinct sound that melded with the others’ voices impeccably. Make sure to listen to “Pretty”– this one will have you singing along loudly in your car and drumming on your steering wheel on your way home from work. They have recently released two singles on vinyl with digital downloads available.
American Wild is a two month old, mix-of-pop-and-rock band formed by the members of San Jose local band Northern Sun. They have just released their first three song EP and are currently writing new material for their future release. Their newest single “Back in My Arms” is a relaxing, swelling romantic ballad that makes us wonder what luminous woman inspired such an aching, beautiful pleading to come back to her man.
It was clear that each of the bands were having a fun time performing. Fans could stand close enough so the performers could feel the enthusiastic response of the audience. Loyal fans were present, but the noise and clapping was attracting quite a bit of foot traffic and curious passersbyers who would periodically poke their heads in to see what all the cheering was about (and who was singing the great songs.)
Blackbird Tavern’s Annex provided a great venue- an intimate, room with excellent acoustics where fans could stand close to the band and could easily meet and talk with them after the show. Blackbird provided a small bar within the performance area, but the main restaurant and bar next door provided Blackbird’s fine craft beers and fresh (with farm to table options), scrumptious dishes and quick bites.
For more information on Hurricane Roses please click here. and find them on iTunes. Their new album can also be found on vinyl. The Songwriter’s Journal is definitely worth a read- a rare offer from a band, letting us glimpse into their personal thoughts and reflections on each of their songs .
Along with beautiful illustrations, the bound journal is a collection of the lyrics and the stories behind every song on our new album, Home To Haunt You. Visit their Facebook page for the latest updates and upcoming shows and follow them on Instagram at @hurricaneroses
We encourage you to visit Blackbird Tavern for the many musical opportunities they provide in the Annex, and of course to grab a drink and munch on some seriously mouth-watering grub.
Black Bird Tavern’s calendar of events: Click here
More info on Blackbird Tavern’s Annex: Click here
Please support these local bands by visiting their websites and downloading their music!
Review by Anna Bagirov