I was invited to see a “Melodic Hard Rock” band that just happened to have some “Screamo” thrown in. “Picture Me Broken” is such a band and I was invited to their open showcase in Los Angles a few weeks ago. Sure I live in the LA basin, but the show was at 7:00pm on a Friday evening in the heart of Hollywood and I just wasn’t sure I wanted to take the two hour ride with my husband and 14 year old daughter through the streets of Orange County and Downtown LA to get to the small studio to see a band belonging to a musical genre I am just not too into in the first place. But I went, because after a long week I thought it would be great to get out for a show that possibly (but unlikely) my entire family could enjoy and relate to… But I was so very wrong in my assumption… because all three of us had a blast!
As I said, I am really not a fan of Hard Rock – not to mention Screamo! The fact is that that music usually makes me want to tear my quasi-burgundy-dyed hair out from its roots using my bare hands! Another factor in my hesitancy in going was the fact that every band member in Picture Me Broken is still in High School; and I thought we may be seeing a bunch of well-off and spoiled kids with connections live out their Rock n’ Roll Fantasy-camp dreams by being part of a (for a lack of a better word) “Garage Band” who may not be able to musically hold their own in an adult world.
Surprisingly, what I learned that night is not all bands that are in the age range of my own daughter were there to simply live out some cheesy money and music-making fantasy… that there could really and truly be mature talent coming from suburban teenagers! It hasn’t really happened too often: young musicians with real talent hitting a scene and receiving true critical acclaim?
But these four talented musicians put on one hell of a show! Going to see them live let everyone who may have doubted that Layla Brooklyn Allman on lead vocals and synth, Nick Loiacono on guitar, Austin Dunn on bass and back-up vocals and Connor Lung on drums and backup vocals… actually have the chops to deserve to have won an MTV VMA! The passion the band makes their music with shined, from Layla’s moody and mature lyrics to her band mate’s masterful handling of their instruments.
As soon as they walked up onto the stage they were on and in a zone, cranking out songs from their debut EP entitled “Dearest (I’m So Sorry)”. With the raw emotion of musicians 2 (or 3) times their age they used their gifts the way only true pros could- with authority, confidence and carrying the attitude that they knew they were good. They lit up the gathered multi-generational studio and had ALL of us us rocking out. Layla has the beautifully haunting voice of a 70’s icon female vocalist who just happens to add a bit of screamo with a finesse that I truly never thought I would see in this music. Her backup singer and band mate Austin Dunn not only impressed me with his very tall stature, but his bass playing and screamo-style vocals complimented and worked perfectly with the angst Layla seems to naturally possess in spades. This IS a well-oiled machine which, with a few strokes of luck and getting heard by the right people, is one band that can bring a new brand of Hard rock to the masses in the currently messed-up music business.
It has been some time since I’ve heard or watched a band that can so effectively stomp on the current stale status of Rock music. I strongly suggest that everyone go to iTunes and get a hold of their 6 song EP “Dearest (I’m So Sorry) or find the closest place they are playing and experience what a NON-FLUFFED UP-NON- DISNEY- MACHINE MUSIC PRODUCT can sound like. This group simply rocks and don’t be surprised if you find yourself doing a little head banging, even if you go in listening to them when you rather be someplace else. Once there, chances are you will forget where it was you thought you wanted to be!
You can download for free Picture Me Broken’s Dearest (I’m So Sorry) courtesy of the band and the Rock and Roll Report!