Text and Photos by Kathryn Pinto
Not even the marquee proclaiming SOLD OUT gave any indication of the extraordinary show to come when Other Lives played a second sold out Los Angeles date last Thursday night at Club Bahia. Riothorse Royale opened. The previous night’s show the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever kicked off a North American tour in support of their third album Rituals, released May 5. Before the Club Bahia show there was palpable anticipation in the room, a salsa club by weekend, turned 500-seat Live Nation venue on school nights. Fans, some of them reviewers, barely contained their enthusiasm boasting how many times and on which early tours they had seen the band, with details of their interviews and off-the-record chats. It was like so many bubbles building in a champagne bottle with each passing minute.
Riothorse Royale, all spare beauty and harmonies opened the evening. RHR is Madi Diaz on hollow body guitar, and Emily Greene on bass playing live with a drummer, as a dark, eerie three piece. Their songs evoked a melancholy drive long past midnight on a deserted two-lane western highway. Smoky vocals from both women underscore the haunted feeling the sense of regret in their harmonies. The echo on the guitar evokes the desolate open western landscape. The trio brought to mind other minimal female-driven trios like Sleater Kinney and Ex Hex.
With the mood set, lines checked and legends recounted, Other Lives emerged from a puff of fog, and red light in front of the densely packed crowd opening with “Reconfiguration.” From the first notes the audience was crazy for Other Lives and the love was very much requited.
The band played material from their just released Rituals to a warm reception from the crowd. The sound is fuller, more complex and layered, less desolate than earlier work. Many in the audience, it seemed, had previewed the album and were smitten with the new material already. From there the intensity in the room only grew when they heard the opening notes of “As I Lay” and thundered applause at “Tamer Animals” from the Tamer Animals album. If the audience liked the new material, they positively swooned at hearing the songs they have had a couple of years to live with. Tadish felt the same way about the audience. If these were the kind of shows they could play in LA night after night, he mused, "We're going to say 'fuck the tour' and do a permanent residency. There's these great tacos down the street.... what more do you need?'"