Bob Moses performs to a sold out crowd at The Wiltern

Photos By Charlotte Johnson

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There is a lot of anticipation in the audience as the lights dim and the hazers kick into high gear. The only thing illuminated is the large Red Bull sign above the center of the stage. Small white pin lights cut through the blue, as Jimmy Vallance and Tom Howie take the stage. A drummer has been added to the performance to round out the sound and make their beats more organic. The bass is palpable when it kicks in.

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“Like it or Not,” the first song on Days Gone By kicks the show off with a live remix and an extended outro with Howie singing high harmonies over a fat bass beat that morphs directly into the next song, “Far from the Tree.” Vallance uses a sample of Howie’s harmonies from the last song, layering it over the melody as the lights throb red and purple.

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Lasers kick in on “Before I Fall,” swelling as the music builds. Vallance takes a moment between songs to exclaim how happy they are to be in Los Angeles and how excited they are to sell out The Wiltern. “All I Want from You” ties the blue laser light to the drum beat causing them to shimmer with every strike. They extend the outro, stripping it down to a heavy electronic beat, transforming The Wiltern into a massive rave.

Before they play “Keeping Me Alive” Valance tells the audience that they don’t play the song live very often. The stage fills with smoke and the lights dim to green and blue backlight, setting the mood. A ripping guitar solo is the centerpiece of the song, bluesy and raw, until the wailing guitar is the only sound left. Vallance sustains a note, bending it, letting it distort, letting the song die completely. They let the silence breathe a moment before bringing the song back harder than ever.

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They end the set with a slower, sexier version of  “Tearing Me Up” that sends the crowd into ecstatic spasms. The audience singing louder than Howie on the chorus, waving their hands in the air. This is the band in full command, owning both the music and the spectators in equal parts. They allow the song to live organically, teasing out passages and rushing others, as the lights strobe, timed perfectly to the downbeat. The song was over before it began and Bob Moses left the stage, thanking the audience profusely.

The crowd screamed for an encore and quickly the band was back for one more song, “Too Much is Never Enough.” Bob Moses’s power is in the deep bass. Their songs are downtempo but they are never chill out music, the bass won’t allow the listener to calm down. It propels them to move, to lose control, and when it is over, a feeling of satisfaction. Once they leave the stage, there is a void that the bass fills, and it leaves you wanting more.

Bob Moses has a select number of concerts coming up before the end of the year. For a full list of dates plus ticket information, click here.

Setlist:

“Like it or Not”
“Far from the Tree”
“Talk”
“Before I Fall”
“All I Want”
“Winters Song”
“Touch and Go”
“Keeping Me Alive”
“Hands to Hold”
“Days Gone By”
“Grace”
“Tearing Me Up”
“Too Much is Never Enough”

Photos By Charlotte Johnson [envira-gallery id=”2007″]