SPAIN AT HOTEL CAFE, LOS ANGELES, CA

Formed in the early 90s, Spain has had a successful career that has lasted well over two decades and has no immediate plans of slowing down. Son of Jazz legend Charlie Haden and brother of three talented sisters Petra (That Dog), Tanya (Let’s Go Sailing) and Rachel (The Rentals), Josh Haden has established his mark on the Indie/Rock genre well beyond most one-hit wonders of the last 20 years. Armed with lead guitarist Daniel Brummel (member of Ozma and The Sanglorians), Matt Mayall on drums and Randy Kirk on keyboards and guitar; Josh stands front and center, like his father, with a bass guitar.            

 

Coming from a skilled family like the Haden clan, Josh set out to impress the audience with a blend of new songs, some classics and a few surprises. The show launches with a somber tune “Ray Of Light” and sets the tone in the room as Daniel masters the six strings during the solo. Josh sings with his eyes closed and channels his inner crooner voice as he calls out “I gotta know you name… I gotta hear your voice” during the next song “Love At First Sight.” Josh’s lyrics romanticize about an infatuation for stranger that caught his attention.              

 

​After a short pause, Josh proclaims the unreleased song “From The Dust” from their forthcoming album is the first time they’ve played it live. The audience applauds, feeling a bit special for having the chance the listen to these songs before anyone else. The song has a bluesy touch and feels like something out of a Sergio Leone or Sam Peckinpah spaghetti western montage scene. “From the dust I come, to the dust I return,” Josh sings. Josh explains to the crowd that on the album, a full chorus sings background and beckons the audience to show up next Thursday with a chorus group and he’ll allow them to sing along with the band. It wasn’t established if any volunteers Tweeted to form a chorus for the next show.            

 

​After a quick plug of their latest album, The Morning Becomes Eclectic Session, the band follows up with the single, “Nobody Has To Know.” This catchy love song, about a secret relationship kept away from the rest of the world, has Josh proclaiming, “How can our love be so wrong… nobody has to know.” This song brings a smile to the crowd as if waiting all night to hear this ballad. Josh shares his own secret tale about a fan from Europe who told him that this was his wedding song. Josh says he wasn’t sure how to respond to the gesture. Good or bad, Josh says,  “He was glad his music could be the centerpiece at someone’s wedding.”            

 

If you think you’ve got the sound of Spain pegged, you may be wrong. This band is more than an eclectically infused journey towards soft melodic driven music. They rock out too. The song “She Haunts My Dreams” is an acoustic-based song on the album of the same name but when played live, the room lights up with heavy electric guitar enthusiasm and Daniel’s raw solo.            

 

 

​But just before the night came to a close and with one song left, Josh does something he claims he hasn’t done since he was a kid. He pops a string on his bass and doesn’t have a spare. But Daniel chimes in and offers to play a three-stringed bass guitar to save the show and finish off the night properly. Josh stands with the mic in hand and watches Matt, Randy and Daniel take the led into the last song, “Untitled #1.” The song’s narrative leaves a lasting impression as the outro gently brings the crowd in for a soft landing. Spain will remain at the Hotel Café for the entire month of January. This is one show definitely worth seeing live.

MARTIN SANTA CRUZ JR.