Forget the fact that it was Tuesday night — this well-meaning benefit concert was as good as it gets. The featured bands were captivating, attractive musicians hailing from Phoenix and Santa Barbara, all successors to America’s acoustic, folk, and bluegrass traditions, but each with their own twists. And everyone in attendance seemed enlivened to be there, supporting the families of the Isla Vista tragedy victims, who benefited from ticket sales. In a setting that could have been filled with somber sentiments, the choice was made to stay positive, and the result was a night’s worth of beautiful music.
The self-described “fun headglue pop” of Todd & Erin captured the night’s mood, as the Santa Barbara duo stirred the audience with pop jams, which provided a nice segue into a very impressive set from Lee Koch. With his folksy bluegrass music, Koch quickly got the crowd’s heads nodding and feet tapping. What followed was an hour of cello, harmonica, violin, guitar, and lyrical wit that elevated Koch’s recordings to another plane and easily won him over some new fans.
Headliner Jared & The Mill offered up some never-before-played, high-energy songs, drawing immediate comparison to bands Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men. Similar music taste aside, though, Jared & The Mill delivered their songs powerfully, and with a good cause to boot.