Tuesday night presented a very subtle ass-kicking at Dirty Laundry in Hollywood. I planned on going to see Alexa Melo perform a free show and then call it an “early” night at 11pm. It was my first time walking in to this venue and it proved to be no easy task. After spending a solid twenty minutes looking for parking, I finally found a spot some blocks away and spent another 5 or so minutes trying to find the entrance. Sure, if I drove into a parking lot and shelled out a few bucks I would have saved some time, but that would defeat the purpose of a free show, amiright? After asking several people for directions and sliding down a shady staircase, I arrived fashionably late and made my way towards the back of the venue to catch the last couple of songs from Alexa Melo’s set. It was then that I realized I should have paid for parking.
I first heard of Alexa Melo through her cover of Radiohead’s “Lotus Flower”. This girl’s nuts, I thought to myself, and I like it. She gives off a sexy and sinister type of vibe similar to that of Meg Myers, who scares me in the most delightful way. It was difficult to see the band onstage behind the wall of people but I heard a friendly voice kindly offer earplugs to the crowd. I should have taken them when I had the chance because they proceeded to rock with extreme prejudice. Guitar riffs were hard, the bass and drums went harder, and the saxophone laid down some sweet solos (did I mention they have an awesome saxophone player?). Their concluding song ended with each of them ripping into their instruments with such intensity, shredding all over the place like Joy Formidable. These guys were going ham on the small stage, leaving a hell of a presence when the final chord was strung. Alexa Melo and her band received a roaring applause that was surely intended to punish me for missing out on so much of her set. Readers best learn from my mistake and go see her performance in its entirety when given the chance.
I hadn’t heard of either of the following acts so I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t plan on staying longer than Alexa Melo’s set but, seeing how I wasn’t there long and I had a sudden burst of energy, I decided to stick around for a bit. Had I left, that would have been the second biggest mistake of the night because the next act up was Wes Period. Although Wes is a hip hop artist, his backing band and stage presence made it fitting to have Alexa Melo on the same bill. The “Champagne Champion” had many loyal fans in the crowd jumping, raising their hands and yelling out the lyrics to songs like ‘Highs & Lows’ and ‘The End’. The energy levels were already over 9000 inside this small, packed room and it got even crazier when Wes popped a bottle of champagne into the crowd during ‘Champagne Champion’. I was still towards the back and couldn’t see the stage clearly (or get splashed with champ) but I could tell from the crowd’s reactions that Wes was going in hard. He was very humble in the end, though, thanking everybody for coming out and supporting him and the final act, Jez Dior.
With a bigger online following than Alexa Melo and Wes Period combined, it was an odd thing to see the room empty out before Jez Dior hit the stage (though it did give me the chance to walk up to the front). Even though most of the people had left the room after Wes’ set, Jez saw this as an opportunity instead of a threat and began to have fun with the people who stuck around. He immediately won me over by starting with a remix of Jaymes Young’s ‘Dark Star’, fused with elements of his dark hip hop. After some jokes and sound bites from his DJ, Jez called Wes, champagne in hand, to join him on stage for a couple of songs. The duo have worked together on several tracks and their chemistry onstage displayed their mutual respect and character. The people must have felt the sounds waves from Jez’s beats at the bar in the next room because the crowd doubled in size almost immediately. Now that Jez had his audience back he really started to let his lyrics flow, bringing them deep into his heavy music. The atmosphere stayed energetic throughout the night and Jez Dior knew how to end it on a high note.
Compliments to the talent buyer for such an intense night of music. The best things in life come unexpectedly and Tuesday night at Dirty Laundry was a perfect example. I should give myself several lashes for almost missing out on a fantastic night for complaining about parking. Alexa Melo’s self-titled debut LP will be released on June 2nd but you can stream it here.