It was an overcast Thursday evening at the House of Blues in Anaheim, but that didn’t stop the crowd of fans from lining up to see Dorothy, Joyous Wolf, and Classless Act in the Parish Room.
Filling the room with chatter and drinks, the crowd was ready for the first band to hit the stage. While waiting, I stood next to an older lady that was also by herself, but dressed to rock out in a faux fur coat and holding a drink. A guy walked by the crowd, saw her, smiled, and then gave her the biggest, caring hug; you know, the kind where he cradled her head in his hand and had a huge smile on his face. I thought the moment was so tender it was worth remembering. About five seconds later, I look up on stage while Classless Act was starting and low and behold, the guy that was just hugging that lady was Classless Act lead singer, Derek Day.
I had not listened to Classless Act before this show and I deeply regret that now. This Los Angeles-based band has some of the best stage presence I’ve ever seen. Every single member had a huge smile on their face throughout their whole set, making eye contact and interacting with the crowd. Front-man Day jumped from one side of the stage to the other, making huge facial expressions so the people in the back could see. He swung his black and hot pink striped microphone stand around, wielding it like Thor’s Mjolnir. At one point, I was actually waiting for lightning to strike it and light up the room.
Classless Act played a song off their upcoming album that had some beautiful quiet harmonies, then drops into amazing hard rock. The hodgepodge of the two mixed together blended beautifully.
If I had two takeaways from this opening band, it would be: 1) I really need to add this band to my Spotify playlist and 2) Classless Act will be the band to single-handedly bring back a modern version of hair-band rock and I’m not mad at it. They even have a new single featuring Vince Neil, so that should give you an idea of their style. They have the hair (without the make-up), vocals, charisma, and chops to build this sound back up and start a whole new wave of metal!
After Classless Act, a tall gentleman stood in front of me, but off to the side to make sure he didn’t stand in my way (something rarely done at shows these days). Then I heard someone say, “That’s Nick’s dad!” Having interviewed Nick Reese (front-man for Joyous Wolf) for OC Music News before, I know he is a great guy and felt compelled to introduce myself. As no surprise to me, his dad is also a great guy. After the rest of Nick’s family walked up, his dad introduced me to everyone and they were all very kind and welcoming. It led into a great set with Joyous Wolf.
Since they had just been on tour for a few months and this was their last show of the tour, Joyous Wolf jumped onto the stage and Reese dedicated their set to the fans in the room. Joyous Wolf is from Orange County, so this OC show hit different with them and they were glad to be performing at home.
Joyous Wolf started with “Quiet Heart” and Reese’s voice mesmerized the crowd. They played so many fan favorites; “Fearless,” “Mother Rebel,” “Stoned,” but dedicated “Place in Time” to his dad who was shining his phone flashlight on his own face so Reese could see him in the dark room among the crowd. It was such a sweet moment between a father and son. Reese later told us his suit jacket of choice for the night – black with shiny gold pin-striping – was homage to Elvis Presley’s gold suit and one of his dad’s favorites.
But the thing every Joyous Wolf fan really looks forward to during live sets is Reese hurdling himself through the crowd like an Olympic gymnast doing back flips, front flips, James Brown splits, and whatever else his body and wardrobe will allow. Throughout it all, some of the most amazing guitar solos were handed out by guitarist Blake Allard.
Joyous Wolf never disappoints. Rumor has it they have a new album coming out, but all of the details are under extreme lock and key for the time being.
In between bands, the crowd began to loosen up, and members of other bands were wandering around, ready to check out the last act. The house music quickly turned to stage music and we knew Dorothy was about to begin.
The bass was so loud and deep you could feel your bones vibrate. The band (minus front-women Dorothy Martin) started playing a version of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” with the lights off except a few purple and red stage lights. The full stage lighting popped on and we were transfixed by the outstanding instrumental music by the band. Then, out of nowhere, Martin took to the stage.
THE PARISH | ANAHEIM CALIFORNIA
“Down to the Bottom” filled the room and the crowd went bananas. Martin – with her curly hair, sunglasses and a great dark colored outfit – looked like a rock and roll Beyoncé. It was such a rad sight to see.
Dorothy didn’t talk much; they just really jammed out. So many great songs were played, including one of their most recent releases, “Rest in Peace.” We also got to hear “Ain’t Our Time to Die” and “Raise Hell.”
I really enjoyed how Dorothy showcased their band members’ talents. At one point, we were gifted with a phenomenal drum solo by Jason Ganberg.
Dorothy finished their set with the mellower songs “Fearless” and “Freedom,” which seemed to make a perfect night cap. Bottom line, there are bands that are hyped for promotion, and then there are the bands that actually deliver and live up to the hype. Dorothy definitely lived up to the hype and then some.
Although this was the last show for this tour, this isn’t the last show for Dorothy. They will be playing at BottleRock in Napa this Friday with other bands Greta Van Fleet and Metallica (Wow!). They also have a few more festivals later this year.
Be sure to keep up to date so you don’t miss out on Dorothy.