by Dom Jones
What happens when a West Coast band comes to Boston for the first time? When I checked out Seattle-based band, The Flavr Blue, at The W, I was able to see the reaction. They were promoting their new EP, “Love Notes,” and had performed to warm reception the night before at Brooklyn’s “The Knitting Factory” in New York. Their Boston event was very low key (and low lit), offering free beer to curious event-goers. While the show was promoted to start at 7pm, with The Flavr Blue going on at 8pm, the show and the band didn’t start until around 9pm. I’m used to this kind of schedule from Bay Area shows, so I didn’t arrive until after the promoted start time. There was great energy in the room, and people seemed to be mingling with each other, while excited to check out tunes, new and old, from the band with growing popularity. Once the band went on, the lead singer, Grammy Award Nominated artist Hollis, asked everyone to move closer to the front (most were perched on VIP-esque couches towards the back of the room). Everyone happily obliged, and the show got started.
I appreciated that the band started with the first song they ever recorded together. It allowed the audience to immediately get a glimpse into their half-analog, half-digital style, and allow us to see how the sound has evolved over time (they remind me of a more modern and mellow Ace of Base). Hollis worked what looked like a looper machine in the front while singing lead vocals. Her bandmates, Lace and Parker, backed her up on MPCs, bass, guitar, and background vocals.
After the first song, the trio launched into songs from their new “Love Notes” EP, and I was pleasantly surprised by the unique combination of production consistency, lyrical depth, vocal passion, and all around fun that the project exudes. What this group has mastered is finding their harmonic synergy. One of my favorite songs from the night, “Supply,” exemplifies this excellence in the hook. Lace and Parker are unafraid to explore their upper ranges, making for an ethereal sound. The communication between the three also kept the show moving without long breaks in between the music. This seemed to keep the audience totally engaged. Each band member knows their role and respects it, with Hollis shining in the front, and the fellas building upon that leadership with supporting roles. Her voice is energetic without being shallow.
A highlight of the night, however; was towards the end of the show when Parker headed to the front of the stage to temporarily commandeer lead vocals. As he led the audience in a round of crowd participation singing, the energy went up a notch, and we could feel that this was his moment to shine. He has a great voice, which is more Timberlake than Thicke, and it was apparent that he was giving it all he had.
When the band performed their single, “Majesty,” at the end of the show, the bass drum in the music took over the club, making the song feel like a “turn up” moment, even though it’s a slower tempo tune. The audience all nodded, tapped their feet, a group of girlfriends to my right had their arms in the air for excitement and selfies. Ending the show on this high note, the band took a group photo with the audience, and then chatted everyone up for the half an hour that I stayed afterwards. They’re all very humble and personable, and when speaking with the lead singer, Hollis, she expressed how excited they are to promote this new project and to perform nationwide with it.
I have a feeling many more cities will be getting a lot of “Flavr” very soon.
Love Notes is available on Itunes, Google Play, and other online music vendors.