Sunday night August 21 marked the 5th annual Koffeehouse “Evening of Independence” charity concert at the Ford Amphitheatre. With 100% of profits going to support the Fender Music Foundation, the evening brought live music from some reputable independent Los Angeles-based acts including Michael Grimm, Tyrone Wells, Satellite, Allen Stone, Of Verona, Jamestown Revival, Jackie Tohn, Jes Hudek, Scott Mellis and Moi.
Long time local favorite singer/songwriter Tyrone Wells headlined the event playing some new songs (one he said was its live performance debut) and some classics from his albums Hold On and Remain.
Preceding Wells was the band Satellite. In their early stages with an EP “Ring the Bells” to support, Satellite has four members: lead singer and bassist Steven McMorran, guitarists Mitch Allan and Josh Dunahoo, and drummer Justin Glasco. They packed a barrage of sound and woeful harmonies that harken back to the first time you heard Snow Patrol.
Michael Grimm of America’s Got Talent fame graced the stage accompanied by his signature hat and an acoustic guitar. Coming out strong covering an Otis Redding tune, Grimm sang songs that pleased the audience to their very last breath. The amphitheater fell so quiet you could hear the girl next to you gasp in the 4-bar rest spaces between his gravelly crooning.
Other acts of the night including a very soulful and energetic performance by Allen Stone. His moppy, Carrot Top-like locks bounced around from below his black brimmed hat and spectacles. Backed by a full band, he belted out high falsettos and a very pleasing rendition of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love”.
Of Venora – yes, named for Shakespeare’s first pen to page – came out in “a stripped down version of their usual self,” as their front-woman said. Typically an electro pop band that hints of Paramore’s essence, I was pleased to see their (self-proclaimed) “narcissistic lead singer” backed by a drummer playing a cajon and the guitarists tackling the acoustic realm. It made for a true coffeehouse experience.