Saint Motel

Tarfest at the La Brea Tar Pits


Better than… going extinct by drowning in tar.

The weather was beautiful on this Sunday afternoon. The early autumn festival Tarfest featured painting, non-profit booths and several kickass bands, including local indie pop favorites Saint Motel.

Singer A.J. Jackson and guitarist Aaron Sharp remain as enthusiastic as they were during their days at Chapman University. Reworked versions of their most popular songs — “Butch” and “Dear Dictator” — were well received, despite the crowd's not immediately recognizing them. Drummer Greg Erwin and bassist Dak Lerdamornpong laid the punchy foundation that allowed for Jackson and Sharp to move around the stage effortlessly.

The band is known for themed concerts, like their annual Zombie Prom, and while there was no such theme yesterday, several hundred people came to their late-afternoon set. Jackson is particularly charismatic. The Minnesota-born singer's charm makes him very easy to like. “You know this place has a ton of history,” he said. “So let's have fun, sink into the ground and stay here for a couple of million years.”

During the group's 60 minute set the adults sipped on craft beers while children spun hula hoops. I'd say the rockers' catchy tunes were the perfect soundtrack to the autumn afternoon.

Los Angeles is a tough place for a new band to launch a career, but Saint Motel has been able to entertain industry folk, families, hipsters and diehards alike with their infectious tunes.

Personal Bias: I wrote my graduate thesis on these guys and am a huge fan. They could play a nursing home and I'd be there.

Random Notebook Dump: The only thing missing from this festival was a castle bounce house.

Set list:

Eat Your Heart Out

You Do It Well

Do Everything Now

At Least I Have Never

(New Song)


Puzzle Pieces

To My Enemies

Dear Dictator



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