CANDY EYES, burger/lollipop records, 2012 | Wyatt Blair on Myspace
Alex’s Bar sits in the middle of downtown Long Beach. It is like walking into a time capsule from the 1950s. The smoke that fogs the room tells tales of triumph and failures and after 15 minutes of wall-gazing I realize that this golden-years pool hall is not Alex’s Bar. The patrons blend into the background like antiques. They shoot pool and spitball stories from eras long ago. I leave.
I leave to find Alex’s Bar. The real Alex’s Bar. I find the divey tavern on the backside of a dark alley, and there are maybe 10 of us in attendance on this lonely Tuesday night. Orange County can be a venue’s worst nightmare. It’s a too-common reality that amazing bands play to an audience of one. These evenings are glorious black holes, eating up a lucky few and spitting them out at the end of the night into a new universe.
I arrive in time for the opening band, Wyatt Blair, playing in a time slot that usually sees a small, early-bird crowd that’s far too sober and self-conscious to get wild. Their disinterest saps the band’s energy. But Wyatt Blair runs through their short list of songs, each one more intriguing than the next. They have such an innocent, fun sound, so minimalistic for a three-piece. They are having the time of their lives and now I am too. This is what separates the jaded from the fun-loving, I think. Like this county itself — Orange — I wait for you to be comfortable inside your own skin. Get up from your chair and dance. No one is going to bite you. –Peter Taras