Alvarez Kings
The Rare Occasions
Family Thief
Date:
July 15, 2017
Location:
The Parish, Anaheim

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Story
I ended up winning tickets for this concert through a Facebook contest a few days prior to the day of. To be honest, I expected to win so it came as no surprise receiving email. I arrived at 8:30 pm just missing Family Thief’s entire performance. As I made my way to the front I noticed the low turnout which dumbfounded me; more on this later. Within a minutes The Rare Occasions were set up ready to rock. This garage band hails from Rhode Island forming in the year of 2012. Though only five years old they have accomplished quite a bit. In 2014 they won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for Song of the Year and were WBRU Rock Hunt Winners. In 2015 they were the recipients of New England Music Awards for Best in State, Rhode Island. The band consists of Brain McLaughlin, Peter Stone, Jeremy Cohen, and Luke Imbusch. Speaking to Cohen after the concert he revealed to me that they opened up for Alvarez Kings years ago. The Rare Occasions heard they were playing at Anaheim so they emailed them, thus they were there that night opening for them. They’re not sure if Alvarez Kings remembers them, doesn’t matter as they got the gig. Well back to the music at foot. The Rare Occasions garage sound possessed a soothing effect on me that I found entertaining. The four members of the band were giving it their all as their hyper energetic performance established them as one of the standouts of that evening. The rippling guitar chords flooded the venue which with the harmonious lyrics of their music had people rocking out. Literally, at one point a man in the crowd walked to the front and started headbanging. My favorite song of theirs is when they played Backwards – their first time playing it live. The song is their next single that is set to be released next month. The members laid back attitudes created a relaxing atmosphere enjoyed by all in the venue. These talented guys were incredible and I can’t wait to see them again.

Soon afterwards Alvarez Kings were all set up for the night. However, there were issues of sound technicalities that plagued them for the first few minutes of their performance. The level of loudness on their microphones and drums were low as the members gestured toward the sound technicians to bring up the level up. I’ve never heard of the band until this night, but right from the beginning I enjoyed their presence on stage. All the members of Alvarez Kings – Simon Thompson (vocals, guitar), Paul Thompson (bass, keys), Sean Parkin (guitar), and Richard Walker (drums) – wore dark clothing, matching the mood of that night. Alvarez Kings are an Alternative Indie pop band from across the pond; London. They’re currently on their Somewhere Between United States tour promoting their debut LP album of the same name. From the moment he stepped on stage Simon Thompson stood out with his captivating presence. He dressed completely in black from head to toe; even his guitar was black! I’ll admit that this guys is the handsomest lead singer that I’ve seen live up to this point. With his guitar playing, this magnetic performer astonished me all through the night.

From the first note of theirs, I instantly loved the band’s music from the inception. Thinking back on it, this is the first concert I’ve attended for a British band. The British know how to create fantastic music and the Alvarez Kings are no exception. These skilled musicians were top notch through their performance. Walker owned that drum set as he blasted the hell out of them and the cymbals. His antics with fellow member Parkins were among the humorous moments of the night. Seeing them play the drums together was quite fun to watch. Well Parkins played mean guitar solos as he matched his vocal strength with Simon Thompson. At one point Parkins’ laptop almost fell off due to the strong vibrations of the music. A local stagehand quickly jumped on stage placing the laptop back on it’s place before any damage could be done. The members made light of this expressing their gratitude to the stagehand while stating all of their “lives work” is on the laptop. Paul Thompson lost himself as he delivered wild guitar solos through and through. As he stood on the opposite side of the stage of where I stood I couldn’t get decent photos of him. Of what I could properly see he appeared to have a pleasant time as the rest.

Unfortunately for myself this concert turned out to be the shortest one I’ve ever attended. The Alvarez Kings only performed for 45 minutes before calling it a night. All the other bands I’ve seen played for at least for one hour or so. I briefly went to the restroom and when I returned Simon Thompson announced that this would be their last song. He further elaborated that the band has been on tour for five weeks thus far. Due to this, Thompson’s vocals needed rest or at least that’s what I understood from him. In the back of my mind I believe there’s another reason why they were calling it quits so early; lack of attendance. Only 20 people stood in attendance to view the band making this one of the smallest audience I’ve been a part of. I felt terrible for the band as not many individuals showed up to see them. This band is talented and know how to throw a great concert. On the other hand I can understand their possible frustration of playing to a near empty venue. I don’t believe they’re that known in the area which is a shame. If you haven’t heard of this band I recommended listening to their music. I don’t believe you’ll be disappointed. I hope they come back to Southern California soon so I can view them again.

The Rare Occasions Setlist
1. Physics
2. Loans
3. Wickenden Kids
4. Backwards
5. Blackstop
6. Notion
7. Halfheartedly
8. Dysphoric

Trivial Notes

  • 3rd concert at The Parish, Anaheim.
  • 1st time seeing Alvarez Kings.
  • 1st time seeing The Rare Occasions.
  • The Rare Occasions’ official Instagram liked the photo I tagged them in and replied back “thank you!!”
  • The Rare Occasions’ official Twitter liked my post of the band.
  • Sean Parkin’s official Instagram liked the photo I tagged him in.
  • Alvarez Kings’ official Instagram liked both the photos I tagged them in.
  • Alvarez Kings’ official Twitter liked my tweet about the concert.
  • Alvarez Kings’ official Twitter replied back to me stating: “Thanks Ed. We will see you next time around”
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