jess williamson photos
Photo by Sarah Millender

Being from Vegas, it was my first time turning up to School Night at Bardot, which apparently takes place every Monday. It definitely will not be my last.

After reviewing Jess Williamson’s debut album here at Grimy Goods a few weeks ago (click here for the album review), I had to check her out in person. Though I only got a brief taste of her due to playing a shortened set, I left that night with my live music fix fully satisfied.

Opening the evening was Jess Williamson tour mates RF Shannon, who have traveled with Williamson on her tour. Also from Austin, RF Shannon only played three songs, but it has me keeping my ears peeled for them. Singer Shane Renfro has a Thom Yorke quality about him, but the songs are much less downtrodden than anything involving the Radiohead frontman.

RF Shannon backed up Williamson on her short four song set. Jess told Grimy Goods after the show that Bardot was overbooked and they shared a slot. It was only due to these circumstances that she played with the band backing her, as she usually plays a stripped down raw set all on her lonesome. Though I do prefer that sound of Williamson’s, the band setup worked rather well. Her track “Blood Song” played like an early track from former SoCal favorite Rilo Kiley, complete with the too innocent looking Williamson dropping an unexpected f-bomb the way Rilo Kiley front woman Jenny Lewis became known for. She proved that her talent may one day extend beyond her solo work if she so desires, as her folksy songs did manage to fit a more traditional rock vibe that RF Shannon set behind her. The only letdown was getting to only hear four of her songs as she was who I ventured out to see that evening.

The remainder of the bill made up for the tease that preceded it. L.A.’s Scavenger Hunt brought that 80’s sort of nu-wave sound, playing like a polished group.

meg myers photos
Photo by Amanda Rae Stephens

Burgeoning L.A. songwriter and performer Meg Myers stole the show. Not previously aware of her, she provided a great contrast to the other acts as she brought a dark and ominous sound. She bookended her set with the two tracks that resonated most, the somewhat upbeat in tune but not lyrics “Adelaide” and the all too haunting “Heart Heart Head”. The latter featured Myers building towards a crescendo that featured her nearly blowing out her vocal chords with an emotionally charged series of screams. It’s obvious that Myers once dealt with unbelievable pain from a significant other and she expressed it in such an honest and memorable way that it had me searching her on Spotify before I made it to the Hollywood/Vine Metro station.

Finishing off the evening was Public Service Broadcast. This isn’t meant as a slight but a compliment, but this group has figured out the way for nerdy white guys to reel in some groupies. A blend of straight rock and club sounding DJ work, PSB had everyone on their feet moving, and in some cases, rocking out hard. Though void of lyrics, the ambience had a Beastie Boys “Body Movin'” type vibe to a handful of songs.

The Bardot School Night gets an absolute recommend from me after my first experience with it. A number of attendees told me that this is their go-to Monday night activity, though those $7 bottled beers can add up quick. It’s an intimate venue that is more substance than hipster style, with most people there to enjoy some up-and-coming artists. There was only once or twice I thought the crowd was too late with their chatter while a band was playing, but other than that, there was little to complain about.

It’s A School Night at Bardot captured that exciting feeling of a good house party when you were in college—minus the keg and “bro behavior”. Sometimes, things do get improved on with time.

Words: Mark E. Ortega