Sunset Strip Music Fest: Purple Melon at the Viper Room

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The room is crowded and dark as color splashes down over vocalist Tom Hill’s dark locks. He fronts Purple Melon, the British band of four who have been making a splash in the City of Angels since 2006.

Purple Melon fill the stage comfortably and get right down to business.  While the long-haired rockers are young and vibrant, their rock has matured since the last time I saw them over a year ago.  No vogue-ing, no distractions; their music is hear to tell some stories and create mood; and they’re tonight’s happy hosts.

The audience is full of mixed ages.  And the set is tight.   As they settle in, their next song, “Please Don’t Go” is a fan favorite.  Hill begins, ladies recognize the first few chords and cheer out.  Playing right back at them he encourages them “Sing along, won’t you?”
Hill’s charm comes across effortlessly.  He plays the audience with a low-energy confidence.  At moments we see the teasing and jeering that Mick Jagger was once known for.  Hill has it in him, but often buries himself with the business at hand on his strings.

After the song, guitarist Owen Barry pulls off his shirt, which feels not only un-spontaneous, but stiff and rehearsed. A stumble for the show.  While some of the ladies in the audience didn’t mind, from a theatrical point of view, it’s never given a moment or reaction. It doesn’t take away from the music, but certainly doesn’t enhance the experience.

Between heat and energy, the boys become a dripping cauldron of sweat; and bassist Eric Joyce creates a moment that is both genuine and shows the band of brothers that they truly may be. He begins fanning Hill with a white handkerchief. Hill stays focused, but allows reactions; moments of a smirk, almost a smile.  Kudos to Joyce. Jason Ganberg’s drumwork keeps the beat moving just fine.  Together the band pulled together the Thursday audience, got them moving and left them with smiles.

Purple Melon continues to grow and judging by the howls so does its audience.  Find their music, be a fan.

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