Jonny Craig and Kurt Travis at the Glass House in Pomona
It was 6:30pm in the summer heat, as a line was forming around the Glass House in Pomona. The line of kids with an excess of piercings, glasses, dyed hair, and red lipstick stretched all the way to the next block, anxiously for doors to open. As the crowd began to trickle in, and others waited in line for will call, Jonny Craig and Kurt Travis walked by the box office together, but the fans were surprisingly unresponsive.
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The night began with a five piece band called City of Lions. I hadn’t heard of them before, but I was impressed by their sound and energy. What stood out the most was the vocalist’s soulful Jonny Craig-esque voice, the energetic keyboardist, and the guitarist’s infectious smile. Girls in the audience must have appreciated their good looks, as I heard a scream from a girl at the barricade when the singer locked eyes with her. They announced that they have a new album which is now on iTunes; “If our songs get stuck in your head,” singer Chad Nathaniel said, “the best way to get them out is to listen to them.” At the end of their set, they brought out a ukelele for a love song, and had a guest vocalist, Katie Peters, join them on stage.
The second opener was an interesting three-piece called Tygers of Wrath, who greeted the crowd with a friendly, “Hello kiddos and buckaroos!” They quickly dived into some of their fast-paced tunes with unique vocals. I couldn’t help but notice the bassist’s goggles, and sweet beard the enthusiastic drummer rocked. Lead singer and guitarist Ahmad Ibrahim mentioned that Ramadan was beginning tomorrow, and joked, “If you have any Muslim friends, make sure you eat a sandwich in front of them. And a Coke…but out of the glass bottle, because those are better.” They continued on with a song about the desert, and before closing their set with an instrumental, jokingly thanked the crowd for not leaving while they played.
Next up was the beloved Kurt Travis, who clearly had a multitude of fans in attendance. Nonstop “I love you!!!”s came from the audience as he got ready to start his set, and he blew a kiss to the crowd. A boy at the barricade ask for a high five, and Kurt gladly reached over the stage to quickly give him one. He began with a few songs from his recent solo EP release, Wha Happen? Before playing “Let’s Remember Time,” he instructed the crowd on how to sing back to him and echo the lines of the song. After a several songs, he moved on to a few covers, one of which was “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel. Halfway through the cover, he drew a blank and bashfully announced, “I forgot the third verse!” and fell into slightly embarrassed laugher. The audience cheered and joked with him as he continued to laugh and finally said, “I’m gonna just jump in, because I remember this part,” and finished the song. His calm voice brought chill vibe to the crowd for his half hour set, but once he mentioned Jonny the audience went wild. After another cover, Kurt ended his set by playing two songs which he said will be on his new album. Throughout the entire set he maintained his friendly smile, and was extremely gracious, giving endless thanks to all of his fans for their presence and kind words. After his final song, he moved along the barricade to give hugs and handshakes to the excited fans in the front of the crowd.
Piercing screams filled the venue when Jonny Craig danced his way on stage. After some suggestive dance moves, he cracked a few jokes about the huge size of his left hand, which he had broken and was wearing a brace on. He began the set with “7AM, 2 Bottles and the Wrong Road,” from his 2009 release, A Dream Is A Question You Don’t Know How To Answer. Despite the pain he was feeling with his broken hand, his singing was unaffected. His soulful voice filled the venue, and the crowd sang along excitedly. After a few songs, he addressed the people watching from the balcony, and told them to come downstairs. At first they were not compliant, but once he said he wouldn’t continue his set until they came down, there was no one left upstairs. Jonny took some breaks between songs to give some words to the audience. He said, “I love who I am, I love what I do, and I love the attitude I bring to every fucking song.” He later went on to express his appreciation to his fans for sticking around, despite the events of the past few years. He told the crowd, “I love you, I will always love you, and I’m gonna put my heart into each and every song.” When he announced that he would only play 2 more songs and then a few acoustics, the crowd seemed disappointed that the set would end so soon. Although the set was only half an hour long, it ended amazingly. Kurt Travis came back out with his acoustic guitar joined Jonny for his final 3 songs; “This is my best friend Kurt Travis, and we are gonna play a few songs for you.” They began with 7 minutes of freestyling, in which Jonny praised Kurt Travis for his talent and friendship, and said that he was going to stay clean for all his fans. The pair walked off stage, and fans reluctantly filed out of the venue, clearly wanting more.
Jonny Craig and Kurt Travis are both amazing musicians who always put on a great show, without a doubt. Their interactions and bond with each other are priceless, as well. I would definitely suggest to anyone to go see Jonny and Kurt next time they play a show. These two will never disappoint!
Source: Flickr / amymlane