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.
I used to discover a lot of great bands at music festivals. Lately it seems they’re booking more mainstream, established bands, which is understandable because it helps deliver ticket sales. Yet, I’ve really missed the days of discovering my new favorite bands at music festivals. Thankfully, one band changed that, with their appearance at Outside Lands Festival this year: The Stone Foxes.
We entered the festival on the afternoon of the second day, walking quickly to meet up with some friends. The Stone Foxes stopped us in our tracks with their great songs, energetic and authentic performance. We texted our friends the new meeting location: “The Stone Foxes at the Sutro stage.” We’ve been talking about that show since August.
One lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend reader will win a pair of tickets to see The Stone Foxes at The Viper Room in Los Angeles on November 16, 2011. Here’s what you need to know to enter:
The contest begins now and ends at 11:59pm EST November 15, 2011
You will see there are several ways you can enterand you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do. You can follow us, tweet about us, like us on Facebook, and more. ENTER NOW
Winner (1) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on the morning of November 16, 2011. Winner will have 5 hours to respond before a new winner is selected
Your tickets will be available for pick up at Will Call at The Viper Room on the evening of the show. Please bring photo ID.
You must be 21+ to attend this event
Transportation and accommodations not included
About The Stone Foxes:
Here’s an excerpt from their official bio: It’s not just great song writing, warm guitars, a nut-tight rhythm section, and the occasional blues harp riffs that make The Stone Foxes’ second album, Bears and Bulls, so good; the Bay Area band consisting of brothers Shannon and Spence Koehler and Aaron Mort have captured something else that makes the whole thing huge, and very, very cool. There’s a genuineness here that’s rare and refreshing, and it’s something that can’t be achieved simply by grabbing a couple of vintage axes and plugging into a stack of tube amps. Because while The Stone Foxes may be influenced by the greats of the late 60s and early 70s like The Band, Bob Dylan, and Led Zeppelin, they never sound like they’re trying to be anything but exactly who they are. What makes the The Stone Foxes so unique is their approach to making music. “We’ll never be a traditional studio band,” says Aaron. That makes perfect sense to anyone that’s been to one of their shows: it’s clear the Foxes care far more about performing their music for living, breathing human beings than an empty room filled with microphones.
The band has been on the road winning over audiences all over the west coast including a opening for the Black Keys in Phoenix, and will continue on tour doing club and festival dates, including Wakarusa, Outside Lands, Deluna Fest, Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Series and The New Orleans Voodoo Experience. The band is writing and recording to support the upcoming summer dates on which fellow Bay Area musician, Elliot Peltzman is lending a hand on keys for the recording and tour.
The Stone Foxes’ new video for their song, “Psycho”, is comprised of fan-submitted footage, cut and edited by the band:
I have many fond memories of shows at The Viper Room, as well as some foggy ones (thanks to their strong drinks).
The Viper Room is a real rock venue. It’s located on The Sunset Strip, you can still chew gum there, it’s dark, the floor is sometimes sticky (quit spilling your drinks, people), the music is loud, and I’m certain I already mentioned the drinks are strong.
When you want to see a rock show in LA, The Viper Room is your venue.