Nick Waterhouse is a terrific showman and always puts together a night of interesting acts. This time in Los Angeles at The Regent Theater during his tour for the new album Never Twice, was no different. Nick headlined and the stylish bands Cutty Flam and Sad Girl opened.
Despite the name, Sad Girl was not a bunch of girls crying but instead a trio of surf-style musicians who have a lot of fun on stage. Comprised of facial-contortionist frontman Misha, Dakota on bass and Paul on drums, these guys hold the promise of a warm SoCal day even in the dead of winter.
Sad Girl makes us happy. We’re fans of the tunes “Little Queenie,” “The Hand That Did the Deed,” and “Love Storm” in particular. Sad Girl’s music makes us feel like we’re enjoying a double feature of a 1950s western, followed with a romantic but nonsensical surf movie. Misha’s chiseled features initially lead one to believe there’s a movie star quality about him, but any thoughts of that disappear when you see his puppet-like, maniacal expressions as he plays his fuzzy guitar riffs.
Cutty Flam a rock and roll-inspired band, impressed on several levels. They’ve got a gal on the skins named Bang Bangs who is extremely accomplished despite the foofy bad prom-date dress. Bang Bangs is worth the price of admission on this night. Cutty Flam bassist Chewy Lewy is stylin’ with his rockin bass lines, cool suit and slicked back hair. Frontman Cutty is a big guy who’s got the moves like Elvis. He really interacts with the audience and the crowd enjoyed the band’s ’50s-style sound.
Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots present their big band sound in a similar vein. “The Cards Don’t Lie” proclaims the banner hung behind the band during the night. This is absolutely true. Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots are true blue rock and roll. The music is upbeat but some of it, like “The Old Place,” is tinged with remorse over the changes for the worse that modern society brings.
As we have written before, Nick Waterhouse is the thinking man’s musician. He produces, he writes and he performs his blues-influenced music to an audience that goes absolutely nuts for him. In the Regent Theater‘s bar — which boasts some of the best whiskey in all of Los Angeles — we were treated to some vinyl-spinning that included Waterhouse-prouduced records by The Allah-Las.
The new Nick Waterhouse album, Never Twice,was on the front burner on this particular night, but everyone in the crowded house knows the words to mostly every song Nick plays anyway. Favorites of the night were the haunting “Stanyan Street,” “It’s Time,” and the kooky “Katchi,” which always gets a smile out of the various bandmembers and audience alike.
1. It’s Time, 2. I Had Some, 3. Dead Room, 4. Holly, 5. I Can Only Give, 6. Straight Love, 7. High Tiding, 8. Stanyan Street, 9. Sleeping Pills, 10. Voodoo, 11. Tracy 12. Old Place, 13. L.A. Turnaround, 14. Katchi, 15. Is That Clear? 16. Indian Love Call, 17. Trouble, 18. Say I Wanna Know, 19. Some Place, 20. Game, 21. Time’s All Gone, 22. Pushin Too Hard, 23. Don’t You Forget
Nick, who produces all sorts of bands, has good taste. Last time in LA his openers were Pearl Charles and Paul Bergmann, who each brought their own cool style. Charles has been getting some air time on Los Angeles stations. Nick is going on tour in Japan and returns next year. Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots are worth checking out “live and in person,” where he and his big band shine.
Nick Waterhouse released his new video “It’s Time” and this outta sight musician, producer and bandleader will wrap his 2016 with a show at The Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles.
Waterhouse released his third album, Never Twice earlier this year on Innovative Leisure.
With Never Twice, Nick Waterhouse returned to his original collaborator, producer Michael McHugh (Black Lips, Ty Segall, Allah-Las). McHugh is well known in the Orange County, Calif., music scene. McHugh put Waterhouse on tape and to recapture the vibrancy of the Huntington Beach scene. The two worked well together and Waterhouse invited McHugh up to his current home of San Francisco to work the boards once again.
Waterhouse recruited his favorite players to the record on Never Twice. Jazz musician Bob Kenmotsu contributed flute, Tom Waits and Elvis Costello collaborator Ralph Carney plays sax, Dr. Lonnie Smith protege Will Blades is on organ, and a virtual who’s who of music team on horns, bass and guitar. Waterhouse also enlisted friend Leon Bridges on the lead single “Katchi.”
Music’s Innovator Taps Into Middle America Work Ethic
‘Never Twice’ is the new album from Nick Waterhouse
By DONNA BALANCIA
Nick Waterhouse has a lot on his mind.
He writes songs, performs them, and produces and collaborates with notable musicians. He’s continually working the next lucrative avenue so he can keep the machine rolling.
And he’s doing it all while following his dreams.
The California-via-Midwest rythm-and-blues rocker has a new record out called Never Twice. The record is the third strong album from a guy who is both creatively gifted and who is also a smart businessman.
“I’m a little more aware of that stuff than the average musician,” Waterhouse told CaliforniaRocker.com. “It’s a product of my upbringing. I have practical parents, non-artistic parents. It’s a constant war within me between being aware and having responsibility, and getting my ideas executed.”
The new album, Never Twice, released by Innovative Leisure is a collection of songs that reflect a lot that’s going on beneath the studied casual appearance Waterhouse sports. The tunes reflect an upbringing that blends the American experience with the roadmap of how to get where you want to go in life. He says the latest collection doesn’t have a theme per se, but instead the songs reflect the work Waterhouse has been doing for several years.
CHECK OUT NEVER TWICE HERE
“Making a record happens over time,” Waterhouse said. “With these songs there’s stuff as early as after Holly and and as recent as the last session before the album. Yes, I do my planning before I start recording but the hardest thing is scheduling space and equipment.”
Michael McHugh and Waterhouse Co-Produce
Michael McHugh co produces Never Twice with Waterhouse, Jazz musician Bob Kenmotsu is on flute, Tom Waits and Elvis Costello collaborator Ralph Carney plays sax, and Dr. Lonnie Smith protege Will Blades is on the organ. Leon Bridges is on the lead single “Katchi.”
Waterhouse has made a serious imprint on live music in a relatively short time. He recorded his first single, “Some Place,” in 2010 with a pickup group, the Turn-Keys. He has played — and still does play — with Ty Segall and pals the Allah-Las, whom he produces. Time’s All Gone, his first album, was released on Innovative Leisure Records in 2012. His second album, Holly was released in 2014.
As for his latest work, one of the singles off the new album, “LA Turnaround” has been released on video, when director Laura Lynn pitched him.
CHECK OUT NICK WATERHOUSE VIDEO LA TURNAROUND
“‘LA Turnaround’ is a story about being worn out,” he said. “I’s not a literal narrative. Willie Nelson was talking about how these country singers would do a deadhead drive from Texas to LA.”
Nick Waterhouse ‘Never Twice’
The rest of the songs on Never Twice are upbeat and funky, with saxophone blaring, backup singers groovin and cymbals crashing. The beats and rowdy style may bely the romance that drives each of the songs. “Stanyan Street” tells of unrequited love from afar; “Katchi” is a rockin’ tune about a loving touch and “I Had Some” — complete with great vocals and a gritty urban feel to it — tells the story of the common problem: Nobody’s got dough.
The new record has the rough audio style Waterhouse is known for but as he continues his artistry is developing into a more sophisticated sound.
“It’s grown through working with great musicians,” Waterhouse said. “It’s nice to have them on the record. Sounds like the inside of my head. I produced and the engineer is the orginal engineer I’ve been working with, Mike McHugh. I learned how to record from him. He taught me about getting the sound I want. That’s the magic of making records, it’s like unfolding.”
Waterhouse says he’s all about the real experience and the collaborations, and his performance choices run the gamut. He collaborates with a range of musicians, like LA-area songstress Pearl Charles, or Paul Bergmann, whom he’s produced. His show at the Teragram Ballroom last year packed the house.
In addition to playing with today’s contemporaries we caught a show of his at the Observatory a couple of years back, where his band performed with both the renowned wild man King Khan and also the grande dame of demure, Ronnie Spector.
“I’m interested in music, I’m not that interested in making myself a star or an act,” Waterhouse said. “It’s not a matter of working with people who are so well-known, I work with people I like,” he said.
His legacy-style music doesn’t stop at the sound and style of his music. He travels with a large band and he’s devoted to his team, sometimes to his financial detriment.
“I’ve had the odds against me in that I write music for a large ensemble and I get paid the same way a one- or two-person band gets paid,” he said. “I’m given the same value in the system – when you’re given a budget that’s the same as one guy with a computer, you seem expensive.”
Thus the commercial licensing.
He’s smart about his music. Likely he made more money from the Lexus CT commercial than many musicians make over the course of their years solely touring and selling merch. But again, he was smart and put his band front and center in the commercial, where viewers can see his band in action.
His songs have also been licensed for PlayStation games, he’s got the commercials, he’s toured Europe, and played festivals, but still maintains a down-to-earth manner.
“When you lose money the first couple of years touring, you learn you need to find a way to make it work,” he said. “Doing commercials is the way I keep going.”
Waterhouse advises that musicians who say “I’d never put my music in a commercial” may want to re-think that statement.
“I think every band that thinks that is incredibly naive because the entire music business is an affront to any artist,” he said. “I don’t want companies I object to, philosophically, to be using my music. But the corporations are the ones paying for the songs. It should be the music companies paying the artists. I don’t compromise in making my records. The record is the thing that matters.”
Emotional Connection = Success
Waterhouse said it’s the emotional connection to the song that drives the commercial success. He referenced a band whose superhit also hit TV commercials. When we saw Modern English, they remarked that “I’ll Melt With You” — used for many commercials — is “the song that pays the bills.”
“They were referring to having a top-40 hit,” Waterhouse said. “People have experiences with that song.”
He added that since the music industry changed the way it does business, smart musicians have to fend for themselves and that includes reaching out to corporate America.
“Corporations are not taking artists for granted,” he said. “Businesses have played into an artificial revolution because the music industry is giving away free music.”
Capturing A Disappearing Era
Waterhouse is subdued, but underneath there’s a lot of stuff going on. Yes he’s from Huntington Beach, but that comes by way of Illinois and Michigan where his parents lived before the family moved to Orange County. Even in his young years — he’s 30 — he’s seeing a way of life slip away and he doesn’t seem happy about it.
“My parents are from Illinois and Michigan and moved to an affordable beachside town,” he said. “Who wouldn’t love that? It was the way it was then. But that way of life is all gone now.”
What does he think of vinyl?
“It’s a great chemical compound,” Waterhouse jokes. “I make my records on tape, so it makes a lot of sense to press them on vinyl. It’s what I like. It’s like some people like mushrooms, or some people like leather.”
Waterhouse recently added Texas dates to his tour. Why Texas?
“It’s just real big,” he said. “I’ve played Texas and those markets are great. The difference between playing El Paso and Houston is like LA and Seattle. I love Austin and I love Texas in general. I have a Texan in my band, Johnny.
The renaissance player knows his sound sets him apart. And being the realist, he knows he’s committed to his throwback R and B style. It’s the rare aspect of his life that he can’t control. He’s different from all the others in at least the aspect that he values a different style of performance than many of the other bands today.
“I play blues-based music that’s a little beyond the language of independent rock, so to speak,” Waterhouse said. ” I’ve listened to rythm and blues Rock ‘N’ Roll my whole life. I didn’t choose it – it came along and influenced me. It’s the music that’s in my dreams.”
By DONNA BALANCIA — Nick Waterhouse blew away the packed house at the Teragram Ballroom Saturday night, giving an uncharacteristically rowdy crowd an upbeat show that the fans went crazy over.
Waterhouse brought his Orange County swagger — and his pals — to downtown LA in one of the most dynamic performances in a long time. He works with great musicians and he has good taste. He writes catchy tunes and creates a good time for all.
But Waterhouse is more than a cool guy on the stage with a guitar and good songs.
The spectacle-sporting Waterhouse, 29, has the looks and sounds of a rocker, but the mind of a keen businessman. He knows a good opportunity and that’s clear from his business decisions, and the artists he produces and promotes.
The excitement of the evening was marked by a lot of audience participation in the form of dancing and singing. Clearly, the Waterhouse fans are devoted, with the majority of the people in the audience singing along with Waterhouse word for word on each song.
There was even a brief — and stupid — fight that caused Waterhouse to halt the performance as security guards jumped in and broke up a ridiculous argument allegedly caused by two women and then whose boyfriends jumped in.
“It’s so weird to have a fight at a Nick Waterhouse show,” said one concert goer in the lobby after the show. “I think they continued the fight outside afterwards.”
Security had the matter well in hand and Teragram Ballroom is equipped with high tech cameras that are so good someone said “The video equipment they have makes a picture so crystal clear you can see their fillings.”
Waterhouse is so compelling it’s hard to take your eyes off this Buddy Holly-esque hipster. The audience ranged in age from early 20s to late 50s, which is to be expected as the music from Waterhouse is appealing across the board.
The resemblance is where any comparison to Buddy Holly ends, though, as Waterhouse, one of Southern California’s favorite sons has built his career to major success, much in a succinct businesslike fashion.
His song, “Time’s All Gone” is used on the Lexus CT Hybrid commercial and that spot is played over and over again, many times a day.
“He is so smart that he did that,” said a fan. “That is the thing that we dream and hope for today. It’s so hard to make a living as a musician or an actor. To land a major commercial, that is a lot of money.”
SEE THE LEXUS NICK WATERHOUSE SPOT
And apparently Waterhouse is using the money for good. He’s writing with other artists, with two of them — Paul Bergmann and Pearl Charles — playing on the undercard of the Waterhouse headliner.
Pearl Charles has a nice quality and her band carries through in almost a country rock sway. She has a melodic voice and her All-American style was appealing to the audience.
Bergmann’s tempo was mellow, but the talented guitarist-harmonica player-singer is an Echo Park local who admits, this gig was probably the biggest he’s played. He is on the Fairfax Recordings label.
The Nick Waterhouse show at Teragram Ballroom was upbeat, exciting and among the most fun evenings to be had in a long time.
The Teragram Ballroom, by the way, is a hit on all levels: Courteous staff, great sound, good food and a fun time. It’s downtown LA, but there’s parking across the street, on the street when you can get it, and there are a few other parking lots in the area.