KCRW launched its first installment of its Summer Nights series in Pasadena with a
concert by artist Diego Garcia this past Saturday. KCRW DJ Anne Litt introduced Garcia
and his well-dressed backup band of musician friends to an adoring crowd that packed
the European-style courtyard of the One Colorado shopping area.
The show, Garcia's last in his week-long tour of California, covered every track off his
freshly-released solo debut album, Laura, as well as a cover of The Kinks "This Strange
Effect" for good measure. Amidst the setting sun and gentle breeze, Garcia poured his
heart out as he shared the pain of lost love, the comfort and release provided by time and
maturity and the triumph of love regained.
"I started writing these songs to deal with the heartache when you lose someone you care
about," explained Garcia before the show. "The sessions were cathartic and helpful to get
through that time." That time being the years he and Laura, his then-girlfriend-now-wife
who the album is named after, lived separately. "I was without her for about four years
so these songs justified my existence during that time. It's a romance record but it's also
about me growing up a bit."
The music is a departure from his work in Elefant ( and a welcome one
here at LA Weekly) as Garcia goes unplugged with acoustic and classical guitars and a cello alongside the bass/drum rhythm section. He tosses every bit of the New York post-punk scene aside and trades it for the old-school romantics of his parents' era.
"There's a thread of romance in all the music I used to do in Elefant," he explained, "but,
in this project, it's more blown up. Aside from the message and being an extension of my
life at the time, the arrangement is very true to my roots. My parents are from Argentina.
I was born in Detroit, grew up here, and I wanted to make something that was true to my
"I was singing to get my girl back," he continues, "so it only made sense to pick up where
they left off and when I say 'they' I mean late 60's, early 70'singers like Julio Iglesias,
Sandro and Fabio from Argentina. We went all over the globe. We went early Julio
Iglesias before he got tanned and before the 80s. If you listen to his stuff from the early
70s, it's really dope. It has an early Neil Diamond type of production."
The influence of these romantic crooners flows heavily in songs like "Stay," "Separate
Lives" and "Inside My Heart," which had the crowd begging for more. Translate any
of these songs to Spanish and Garcia could easily make a huge splash in every Spanish-
speaking country in the world.
The show went over great with the crowd especially with the women who outnumbered
the men nearly 3:1. Garcia could hardly end a song without someone in the audience
proclaiming her love for him (I'm looking at you, redhead-in-the-white-top-in-the-
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Garcia ended the night with the album single "You Were Never There" to a standing
ovation and cries of "uno mas! (one more!)" while curious onlookers late to the party
wondered aloud if they missed the latest Latin heartthrob. You could say they did.