February 16th. . . or 17th, 2010
The secret’s gonna get out. I might as well be the one to tell you. . . But know this – I have been to several amazing events at this venue and have yet to write about it (and I tell you everything!), precisely because it really is one of the best kept secrets in LA.
A little while back (and more than once) – Ben Harper. A couple weeks ago – Brett Dennen. Tonight – Jackson Browne. Whenever it happens, whether you know their names or not, you will be treated to great musical talent at The Stronghold. The ones whose names you don’t know are often as spectacular as the ones you do know. As Jackson Browne said (in reference to his surprise appearance), “Welcome to The Stronghold – where anything can happen.”
Browne was phenomenal. He played a handful of songs including “My Stunning Mystery Companion.” Each song turned into a jam session within this intimate house-party setting. Also outstanding – Steve Postell, Amalia K. Spicer, Debra Dobkin, Shannnon Moore, Tariqh Akoni on guitar, Peter Adams on keyboards, and Mark Gorman on bass. It was a perfect night of music.
Now imagine you’re a teenager (unless you are a teenager, in which case you don’t need to imagine) and you climbed out of your bedroom window, sneaked over to a barn on a neighbor’s property and stumbled upon all of these great musicians jamming. You glance over at your friends and the stylish people in perfect-fitting denim, and give each other knowing looks – “this is where it’s at.”
The evening winds down as the morning approaches. You say “goodnight,” scurry back home, and slide back into your bedroom, undetected, just 2 hours before your alarm is due to go off. The next morning not a word is spoken, but you know – and those who were there know – you were just part of something very special. That’s what it’s like at The Stronghold, and you feel it the morning after.
Without going into much more detail because I think you get the idea, it is important to mention that everybody at The Stronghold is exceptionally nice. They’re not scary-nice, nor what-can-you-do-for-me nice, nor I’m-high nice — they are simply genuinely kind, good people. When a venue’s team treats people well, they attract a generous and respectful audience, exceptional talent, and loyalty amongst both performers and fans.