Review + Photos: The Imaginaries Make Music That’s Very Real at Hotel Cafe

Review + Photos: The Imaginaries Make Music That’s Very Real at Hotel Cafe
October 11, 2021
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The Imaginaries at the Hotel Cafe – Photo by Luis Moreno


















Review and Photos by LUIS MORENO

The Imaginaries and their music are honest, simple and real. 

The Imaginaries are the husband and wife team of Maggie McClure (keyboard and vocals) and Shane Henry (guitar and vocals). They’re on a journey around the country from one tiny little stage to another celebrating the release of their self-titled debut album, The Imaginaries, which released earlier this year. 

What I loved about them is the sincerity in their music and their desire to do it well. You can definitely hear the Oklahoma influence and the southern sounds in the roots of their revival  swampy style music.  

The Imaginaries at the Hotel Cafe – Photo by Luis Moreno

When the husband and wife team walked out on to the stage, I thought a perfect size stage for those two.  But then four more musicians including the drummer came out.  So, there they were, six on a stage at the Hotel Café that was probably meant for maybe three people. 

The Imaginaries played the entire album on a shuffle setting if it were on your iPod. They started with a ramblin’ song titled “Enough of You.”  Then straight into a real bluesy “Geronimo” with a slide steel guitar sound that let you know this song had Muscle Shoals written all over it. 

The Imaginaries at the Hotel Cafe – Photo by Luis Moreno

The evening closed out with “Revival” a very swampy wet sound like it was straight out of the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou. Then Maggie’s voice came sauntering as a sultry siren lulling you into her mood. The percussion then took command, driving the track into a powerful and expressive rocker track.

The Imaginaries at the Hotel Cafe – Photo by Luis Moreno

The Imaginaries, complete with their cool southern rock sound, good nature and humble presence, play music that deserves to be heard by music lovers everywhere. And though it may take a little time, there’s no doubt they’ll accomplish that goal, one tiny stage at a time.

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Review: Talent for Music a ‘Definite’ for Singer-Songwriter Ava Maybee

Review: Talent for Music a ‘Definite’ for Singer-Songwriter Ava Maybee
September 2, 2021
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Ava Maybee at Hotel Cafe – Harriet Kaplan photo


















Photos and Review by HARRIET KAPLAN

Ava Maybee has the “It Factor” based on the strong and captivating set she delivered like a seasoned veteran at the Hotel Cafe.

The 20-year-old singer/songwriter has powerful original material that combines various musical styles together with a retro R and B, rock and indie genres while making a unique sound all her own. Her fearless vocals possess a maturity, inner strength and resolve and bit of world weariness beyond her young age. Those characteristics are the necessary ingredients and hallmarks that give her songs authenticity and believability.

When Ava Maybee sings, she taps into listener’s emotions on a soul level balancing that seriousness with a wry sense of humor. The pretty and edgy singer wearing offbeat vintage clothing  already has a following. Maybee has performed at The Whisky, Staple Center, and Dodger Stadium, where she sang the National Anthem for a Lakers game and a Dodger game. The enthusiastic crowd sang along to the numbers which she has released as singles.

The eight-song set list included “Lay Low,” “The Less I Know, The Better,” “Bite Me,” “Lately,” “Red Light” and outstanding and moving cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Love Is Blind.”

Ava Maybee impresses at Hotel Cafe – Photo by Harriet Kaplan

“Colors” is about Maybee’s cheating ex-boyfriend and the personal odyssey of that experience and how she dealt with it to reveal her perspective. It was done in ironic and clever way with an eclectic arrangement that is catchy as hell with a lots hooks and a melody that doesn’t quit and “See Me Now.”

To match her compelling onstage persona, Maybee had a equally robust band to provide the right backing and spark to the memorable set. The musicians also have a hip image to match and to compliment Maybee. Dario Comuzzi played lead guitar and provided backing vocals; Jack Severino was on bass, Liza Kaye played keyboards and Grayson Ellis was on drums.

The fun and energetic show also was a platform to raise awareness for the Childrens Hospital of LA of which Maybee is their junior ambassador. She spoke appreciatively about the staff at the hospital and her gratitude for the doctors who performed scoliosis surgery on her at 14. She also added that every one is a human being and deserves the proper care.

The engaging and likable artist translated that creatively into developing a special and impactful common touch/connection between her fans with her music at a Hotel Cafe.

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Juliana Riccardi and her Blues Band Bring ‘Full Cup’ Sound to Hotel Cafe

Juliana Riccardi and her Blues Band Bring ‘Full Cup’ Sound to Hotel Cafe
August 31, 2021
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Photos and Review by HARRIET KAPLAN

Juliana Riccardi and her big blues band proved that the second stage at a Hotel Cafe continues to burst at the seams with talent. 

The New York-based singer-songwriter-guitarist Riccardi and her accomplished eight piece band sandwiched themselves into the smaller stage area with some musicians overflowing onto chairs directly off to the side. 

Riccardi had a chance to show off a range of music including her latest single, “Full Cup.”

Juliana Riccardi – Photo by Harriet Kaplan

The backing group featured Kyle LaLone on electric guitar, George Karpasitis on acoustic guitar, Lauren Stolkner on bass, Max Naseck on keyboards, and featured Nathanial LaGuzza on drums and Barbara Laronga and Sarah Bauza playing trumpets.

The earnest music was warm, low key and mid tempo in range, for the most part, with a few dramatic flourishes that offered flashes of, more let’s say, peaks of high energy and passion. 

Juliana Riccardi at Hotel Cafe – Photo by Harriet Kaplan

The touching show was an intimate showcase for Riccardi’s most current and her newest tracks, showing off her lovely soul-influenced and blues-accented vocal range. On her latest effort, Riccardi ruminates on the personal journey on her life to date and ongoing changes in different viewpoints and reflections along the way. 

The eight-song set list included songs “Beam By Beam,” “In My Soul,” “Mad,” “Full Cup,” Hold, “Wire,” and “Bartender.” The petite brunette singer has a confident attitude and engaging personality. She spoke easily to the audience between songs and had a natural and easy charisma. 

The crowd was very receptive to Riccardi and company and really enjoyed the pleasing music and her strong and winning performance at Hotel Cafe.

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EXCLUSIVE: After Turning Down Trump, Moby To Play ‘Anti-Inauguration Show’ at Hotel Cafe on Jan. 20

January 13, 2017
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By DONNA BALANCIA, California Rocker
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Entering the Los Angeles Rock Scene: What You Need To Know

Entering the Los Angeles Rock Scene: What You Need To Know
June 2, 2021
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LA Rock Stars – Courtesy


















By JOHN DALY

Do you have dreams of becoming a huge rock star? Is it more than just some far-off dream, rather it’s something you want to actively start working towards right now? Are you confident in your talent and have the drive to go after your dream? Have you recently made the move to, or were already located in Los Angeles with the hopes of taking advantage of the robust rock scene that exists in the city?

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then you’re likely looking for a way to start on your music career journey and wondering which steps you need to take.

While there is no playbook written in stone that lays out all the steps you need to take to make it big in the LA rock scene, there are tips and advice that can help you to be a lot more successful in your endeavors. So, let’s take a look at what you need to know about entering the LA rock scene.

Los Angeles – Courtesy

Find the Ideal Rehearsal Space

Because you’re going to need to be practicing a lot, it’s wise to find rehearsal studio space as soon as possible. Rehearsing at home will certainly be helpful, but it simply won’t be enough if you’re trying to launch a full-blown music career. A professional studio space is able to offer a lot more necessary amenities and equipment than your home may have.

If you’re searching for a Los Angeles rehearsal studio, Pirate.com is well worth looking into. They make it possible for artists like you to head to a Los Angeles rehearsal studio 24/7 and take advantage of and make use of high-end equipment, space that accommodates up to six people (ideal for bands), spaces that are acoustically treated, and plenty of other features. You’ll get the full pro experience with the studio space.

It is so much more than just a professional space to practice and create music in; booking studio space helps to add an air of professionalism to your career goals. It makes it that much more tangible and can be quite motivational when you’re sitting in a dedicated studio space.

Rehearsal Studios – Courtesy

Take the Time to Learn About the Local Rock Scene

Simply saying that LA has a lively rock scene isn’t enough; this is an opportunity for you to truly immerse yourself in it and learn from it.

Plenty of iconic musicians have hailed from LA and there are many music hot spots scattered throughout the city. These include places like the Black Rabbit Rose, which has attracted some of the top talent in the city, the Hotel Cafe that provides an intimate vibe and is known for pop-up performances from some of the biggest artists out there, and The Sunset Jam, which takes place on Mondays and is meant to give up-and-comers a chance to get in front of an audience; and plenty more.

One of the best ways to learn about where the hot spots are and which ones are worth checking out is to make friends with people in the city and who have a shared interest in music. Find out where they go and tag along to check it out.

Expect to Work Hard

Now just because LA has a robust rock scene it doesn’t mean you are guaranteed instant success. In fact, quite the opposite is true. It’s important you enter into the mix with the notion that it’s going to take a lot of hard work and time in order for you to build a name for yourself and realize success. For some artists, this can mean years and years of hard work before they start to see it pay off. You need to stay focused, motivated, and confident in your skills and talent.

Rock star drummer in LA – Courtesy

Take Up Any Opportunity to Perform Live

Once you start to get opportunities to play live at various venues, you want to be sure you say yes to everything. You never know who may be in the audience, what connections you may make, and there’s the fact you’ll be growing your sound, getting live experience, and having a chance to interact with people and get their feedback.

It’s also important you don’t wait for these opportunities to come and find you. Instead, you make them happen. Get out there and actively look for chances to play. Open mic nights aren’t uncommon and give newbies like you a chance to get up on the stage.

Look for Inspiration

The final tip is to make sure you also feed your creativity and that can be done by looking for inspiration. Inspiration can be found in all aspects of your life. It may just require you to get out of the house, explore different sights and sounds, and allow that creativity to hit you.

It’s a Journey that Can Have a Huge Payoff

If you’re looking to enter the rock scene in LA, these tips and advice can certainly help you on your way. 

The LA Rock scene – Courtesy


















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