Last night marked another of the free concerts at the Santa Monica Pier as part of the Twilight Concert Series, presented by MySpace on Thursdays this summer. We headed out to see Innovative Leisure singer-songwriter Hanni El Khatib.
See also: Our feature profile on Hanni El Khatib
The wind was heavy, but that didn't deter droves of folks -- thousands, really -- from packing the pier. And navigating the dense patchwork of blankets and bodies on the beach was often worse than traffic on the 405. Still, the atmosphere was friendly and the liquor? Flowing.
Accompanied by drummer Ron Marinelli, bassist Adrian Rodriguez, and guitarist / keyboardist Hayden Tobin, Khatib wasted no time with introductions, setting down his beer and picking up his guitar. But before he could play one note, girls in the front of the crowd were screaming his name. The man is easy on the eyes.
While the crowd was amped throughout the set, jumping, rocking, head nodding, and tossing around beach balls, Khatib seemed a bit lackadaisical at first. Sure, his bone-marrow wail was on point. But he seemed stuck in first gear.
Then, out of nowhere, about two-thirds of the way through his set, everything changed. Khatib was all over the place, his movements and guitar playing manic and wild.