Last night I had the honor of attending a private performance by The Stone Foxes at Swing House Studios in Los Angeles. It was an intimate gathering, during which the band previewed some new songs from their forthcoming album, along with some old favorites.
I wish more bands did this. What I mean by “this” is: consistently come from a place of complete authenticity. As I described when I last wrote about The Stone Foxes, there was no “hard sell”; no pleas to tell the world. In fact, it’s quite possible I’m not supposed to be covering this show – that wasn’t its intention. This was a party, a gathering of friends, and a celebration of music. The band only made one plea: “have a drink with us.”
Everything about the night was an expression of what music can do in its purest form. I’ve been paying close attention to The Stone Foxes for the past year and am continually impressed by what they do through their music, their performance, and how they connect with and build a community of friends who are proud to call themselves “fans”.
Here are a couple of the old favorites they played last night. You’ll have a chance to hear some new songs the next time you see them live or when their 3rd album comes out; whichever happens first. Current tour dates: http://thestonefoxes.com/shows/
I like it when, upon finishing a conversation with a band, I realize I can’t actually write a thing they said. Not that they said anything “taboo” – The Stone Foxes talk about what bands should talk about: music, playing shows, catching up on sleep in vans. . . and drinking.
They’re not trying to sell you their latest “viral video” or a million dollar iPhone App that looks like it’s important, but means nothing. They’re not trying to sell you anything. The Stone Foxes are more interested in ordering pizza and reminiscing about last night’s sold-out show at The Independent.
I initially experienced The Stone Foxes this summer, at Outside Lands music festival. As we entered the festival grounds that day, the energy radiating from the stage they were playing sucked us in. We dropped plans to meet up with friends and stayed to watch The Stone Foxes instead.
Their show at The Viper Room tonight encapsulated everything I love about them. They’ve obviously watched bands they admire perform. They understand what it takes to move a crowd and they consider that. They don’t come across as “expecting” anything. They work for it.
Between songs The Stone Foxes may veer into lighthearted banter. They’ll have what, on the surface, appear to be harmless, let-your-mind-relax-you’re-here-to-have-fun conversations. Then, just when you fall for it, when you’re relaxed and laughing along – they’ll look up at you and start rocking. For real.
They’re not trying to “be” anything. They’re a band, playing music, enjoying their time on stage. They’re not trying to look too “pretty.” I don’t get the sense they’re trying to prove anything. It’s simply about the music. It’s refreshing. It makes me trust them. The audience is authentic too. “Are those real lighters??? You’re using real lighters! Those aren’t lighter Apps. . . That’s old school,” The Stone Foxes observed of their fans, with appreciation.
The Stone Foxes
They’re “in it” for the right reasons – they love playing music. They feel the weight of the long drive, but they’re not complaining. Instead, they’re talking about being on stage, playing a great show, pushing through to a heightened level of energy, inspired by the crowd on the other side of the curtain.
Like their stage banter, The Stone Foxes’ music is serious, yet whimsical. They’re seriously playing, but they do it so you can too. It’s bluesy rock music you can bounce around to. It’s rock and it’s fun. It makes you feel like you can have it all.
It’s endearing watching Shannon Koehler play drums, with a big smile. . . until you realize that, like a child, that smile is indicative of something noisy heading your way. That epiphany hits you at the precise moment Koehler kicks it up ten notches. You return the smile as if to say, “you fucker. . . that was good.”
They seem happy. Lately, so many musicians appear to be so pissed off. Yeah, it’s hard. And, you may never make a cent doing it. People “less-talented” than you are climbing faster. But do you love playing music or not? The Stone Foxes, setting out to prove nothing, made me believe that they love music, that they appreciate having the opportunity to be on stage, playing for us, and that they’re having fun doing it.
By the way, check out The Stone Foxes’ website, http://thestonefoxes.com. It does everything I want a band’s website to do. I can find everything I’m looking for, without having to search. That’s what I like about their shows as well.