A Soulful Evening at the Belasco
The Belasco Theatre was opened in 1926 in downtown Los Angeles. Typing that sentence made me think of American Horror Story Hotel, and makes me a little more fond of the theatre, despite that Hotel is my least favorite season.
Anyway. The Belasco was once a place for Hollywood stars to attend great plays and musicals. Nowadays, it is mostly used as a club. Before and after shows, it dimly sits on a lonely part of Hill Street, towering across from a hookah bar that blasts hip hop and casts a slight glare of blue neon upon the marquee-less building.
Though, on the night of October 25th, I wasn't there to see a play or some DJ. I was there to see, and fortunate enough to capture a unique and talented musician named Tom Odell.
I arrived around 7pm to a line wrapped around the corner. I thanked my Uber driver and lugged my bags to the front, grabbed my media pass and headed inside. The design of the theatre inside is really something to behold; the ceiling, a dome articulately constructed, with a balcony that I unfortunately could not explore because it was closed off. I quickly scouted the area, then headed to the bar for a drink and a snack.
After waiting about 30 minutes for my mozzarella sticks, I gave up all hope for food and left the bar to shoot the opener, Barns Courtney. He was in the middle of his first song as I bustled my way to the pit, showed the security guard my pass and set up my camera. It was just the rock 'n roller Mr. Barns and his acoustic guitar onstage, with only a spotlight to light him.
Though he was by himself up there, Barns had the energy of an entire band behind those guitar strings.
I'd never heard of him before that night, but he had a fantastic set and I'd love to see him again.
After Barns, I went back to the bar and they finally brought me my mozzarella sticks. I finished my Amaretto sour and headed back to the photo pit.
The crowd had significantly thickened. I stood in the media pit and chitchatted with a guy from LiveNation about the theatre and such.
Finally, the lights dimmed. To my left, I watched Tom and his band walk onstage.
Tom's soulful performance proved that his songs were in no need of vocal editing in the studio. Two drummers pounded the heartbeat of his songs behind him as his guitarist in turn wailed his harmonies. The Belasco's lighting was far beyond on point. The lights would flare epic blue streaks during the songs that were loudest, and faded to a soft singular blue when Tom would serenade the room into a silence. At some points, there wasn't a sound in the whole house besides his voice and piano.
After the first three songs, I had to leave the pit. Shortly after, I joined the crowd.
Tom encored with "Magnetised". If you've seen the video for it, this shot is self explanatory.