Valentine’s Day is one glorified holiday. It’s devoted to love, cliché greeting cards, affection, and romance. For the lucky ones going out for a magical dinner, perhaps a lovely beachside stroll to follow (depending on geographic location), with the anticipation of sexy-time to culminate the night seems like the perfect way to spend the 14th of February. Ladies, for me the day was Singles Awareness Day — let’s not have a repeat next year. At any rate, for those that needed auditory stimulation and musical enchantment the Roxy delivered with Los Angeles’ very own valentine, Papa.
Upon entering the Roxy a plethora of pink and red balloons filled the landscape. Young kids, middle age hipsters, and someone’s beloved granny made up what would be the crowd for a very intimate, heart-felt evening on the Sunset Strip.
The first band to give the crowd love was another native Los Angeles group that went by the name Harriet. Opening up their set with a track that was strictly vocals and piano put the audience in a mood that made most professionals at publically displaying affection. For the remainder of their time on stage the band masterfully crafted the art of captivating their fan’s attention. And let’s not leave out the fact that they covered the Doobie Brother’s “What A Fool Believes” to the point where the 60+ year old front-of-house mixer was jiving and reliving his late 70s.
Ten o’clock came and went, the time in which the headliner was scheduled to play. The crowd didn’t seem to mind as they continued enjoying each other’s company and lips. Shortly after half past ten the notorious Roxy curtain rose to what seemed like the innards of a flagship Hallmark shop. Red and white heart-shaped balloons filled the stage alongside large glittery hearts. Behind the backing vocalists were four large flirting metallic balloons that spelled out “Papa.”
Darren Weiss is the drummer, the front man, and universally the face of Papa. As most concert goers would agree, the drummer is located in the back of stage, sometimes on a platform, sometimes not. But we can all admit when the drummer pulls his kit to front and center of the stage it’s a sight and experience to behold. That’s precisely the way Darren did it up at the Roxy. It was loud, it was intimate, and it was exactly what the night called for. The crowd couldn’t get enough when such hits as “Put Me To Work,” “I Am the Lion King,” and “Ain’t It So” rang throughout the venue. I’m pretty certain someone became pregnant, with emotions. Emotions! To step it up to the next level Papa decided to do a cover of one of the all-time greatest love songs ever crafted. Yes, they played Aretha Franklin’s coveted classic “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Not all 20-something year old men can belt out the way Aretha can but Darren and company made a valiant effort and capitalized. Where do you guys do karaoke? Can I be on your team?
After the encore came to a close I left the venue feeling full on great music, hope for couples, and humanity. Even though I didn’t find love at Papa’s show I was able to witness a night that will be played out in my head again and again. For now, I guess I just need to keep swiping right.
Photography & Words: Timmy Farmer
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