Mason Proper, Live at the Troubadour

Mason Proper
Live at the Troubadour


First off, let’s recap. Last article written for this website: October 2008. Divorced from wife of almost 10 years, moved out of home of almost 10 years, new Jeep, new girlfriend. Still able to make killer pasta sauce. In other words, all is right with the world.

But how about the ability to still write a compelling review, especially about a less than compelling band? Obviously, the gears are a bit rusty. Timing’s a bit off, firstly, since the live act being reviewed played on July 31, and the review’s just being thought up now. Ah, well, such is the life of an erstwhile online journalist. Maybe it’s back to bad poetry on the blog.

Anyway, the week of July 26, this reporter was set with the task of ‘advancing’ the concert that was coming up that Friday. The band: Mason Proper, whose debut album Olly Oxen Free had just been released on Dovecote Records. They were opening for Stellastarr. An advance CD had been sent along the week before, listened to, and mildly enjoyed. Decent tunes. Nothing earth shaking, but the lyrics were rather compelling, the production was crisp without being overdone, the musicianship was solid, and the vocals were memorable.


The advance interview was not to be, however.

A few missed calls and a few ‘Sorry, we’re driving’ later, and what with the business of moving and having a life packed away in Box Depot’s finest, this reporter and the lead singer, Jon, were just unable to connect. Logistics, timing, etc, all were off. The guys were always friendly, but possibly the idea of their looming tour had their heads elsewhere. Regardless, it was fun leaving them voicemails and listening to theirs.

So, the show, Troubadour, Friday July 31. Having been in the new place for less than a week. The cats were still hiding in the chimney (seriously), and a rather large ant problem had been discovered. But there was a garden, not yet tended, that was still spilling forth chard, onions and tomatoes. The place had natural air conditioning, and it was honestly cold in the middle of the night. Nothing quite like using a comforter in July.

Oh, right, the show. Given a pass to the Troub’s ‘VIP’ area, or some such thing, even though the best beer they had was Heineken so one didn’t feel too important. The requisite shots of Bushmill’s were done, though it would have been nice to have someone there to do the other three with. So.

The band started up and so ventured downstairs. Not wanting to say anything bad is usually only remedied by saying nothing at all, but this is a concert review, and they’re grownups. Probably it was the nervous quotient, the idea of playing in front of a (very small) L.A. crowd, but there was a discernible lack of chemistry between the guys. It wasn’t a band we saw; it was four dudes playing their parts. Some of the songs (“Alone,” “Fog”) gelled, but most were rather dull. The crowd waned. More people drank to keep away their loneliness. John Anderson from the Hunnypot rolled in and we promised to meet up later at Beauty Bar. Went to Amoeba and got some records for Monday night’s set (at Beauty Bar, natch). Forgot about the show and then remembered Kabeer at Girlie Action had been promised a link when the review was posted. He’ll probably hate me for this and never send me anything ever again. I hope not.

So, to sum. Nice band, nice guys, decent album. It won’t kill you to buy it. Probably they’ll be more tuned up next time around, and hopefully that phone call will come through.

FYI, housewarming party in September…

SCOTT OTTO studied journalism at the University of Las Vegas until a fateful メcareer dayモ excursion with a crusty and bitter journalist turned him off from the profession. After giving up on this dream, he moved to Los Angeles and has lived there for the last ten years, writing things no one in their right mind would publish. Drifting along through the music and film industries, heユs finally settled into a comfortable rut, pursuing a burgeoning voice over career and, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, has decided to begin writing again. Heユs never been nominated for any awards, and heユs never saved anyoneユs life. On the plus side, heユs a really nice guy, takes good care of his family, and makes a pretty mean pasta sauce.