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Music Review:

Opening act steals the show

February 24, 2010|By Liana Aghajanian

La Brie’s Bar in Glendale, formerly the Scene, played home to Foo Fighters’ lead guitarist, Chris Shiflett, on the last leg of his solo tour that spanned up and down the West Coast, but it was his opening act, folk singer-songwriter Audra Mae, who blew the moderate-sized crowd away with her strong and soulful voice and lyrics.

With a single guitar chord, the Oklahoma native who wrote the only original track off Susan Boyle’s debut album, “I Dreamed a Dream,” hushed the crowd and sang “The River,” a poignant song about sin and regret. She soon moved on to a cover of the BeeGees’ “To Love Somebody,” but not before singing “The Fable,” a song about “wolves in love,” complete with beautifully crafted howls in between lyrics.

In between songs, she was relatable and charming, telling the crowd that her EPs and shirts for sale were “cheap as hell.”

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Her charisma and character shined through this dimly lit hip bar on Colorado Street.

As she eloquently belted out lyrics like “it’s lucky that my skin tastes like milk and honey, my love is sweeter than money.”

Reminiscent of a cross between singers Neko Case and Adele, Mae is the grand-niece of Judy Garland, was recently signed to SideOneDummy Records and is best known for her cover of “Forever Young” heard on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy.”

On this particular night, however, wearing jeans and a tank top, Mae was just a girl with her guitar, her lyrics echoing lives lived and loves lost — notions that the crowd related to judging by their overwhelming applause and cheers.

After Mae finished her set, Shiflett strutted out with a hat, plaid shirt and a full beard, springing right into his first song. Shiflett let the audience know that his aunt was supporting him that night, apologized for any “improper lyrical content” before continuing on with his set. Although his first three songs weren’t necessarily distinguishable from one another, his strong guitar skills shined during “Trigger Happy,” a song originally sung with Shiflett’s punk rock side project, Jackson United.

Halfway through his set, he invited childhood friend Marko DeSantis, lead guitarist from the rock band Sugar Cult, for a duet of “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory,” originally released by ex-New York Dolls member Johnny Thunders.

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