Back in May of 2012, I had just moved to Los Angeles from the Bay Area. I moved for work and in a nutshell, didn’t know anyone. I was hoping to get settled in with my new job and with some of the free time, go check out some things that I had only seen in movies and so forth. During my second week in Los Angeles, I saw that one of my favorite artists, Rachel Platten, was doing a show at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. I had recently discovered Rachel’s music only a few months earlier but it was music that helped me transition through a period as I was preparing to move to Los Angeles.
As I was at the venue helping set up for Rachel and her show, the opening act of the night was this artist I had never heard before. Madi Diaz was on the stage with a guitar playing some very cool tunes. It was a nice setting of music to listen to as I started preparing the merchandise table. I really took notice when she covered a Bee Gees song. I know that anyone who covers them is real cool. I knew that she had something going and I was actually pretty surprised at how friendly she was after the show, just full of joy.
Fast forward to last night, nearly two and a half years later. I’ve settled pretty nicely in LA and things have been good. I’ve been keeping an eye on Madi’s career since the first time I saw her and recently she dropped her newest album “Phantom.” I had been listening to it almost daily during my drive to my new job and it’s just a great sound. I was so glad to see an artist continue to grow and evolve in her music. Last night was the first time I was going to see her perform since that weekend way back when I first moved here.
The location was at the Tower Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. I had never been to this place before but I looked it up and could take the Metro there (with some walking) to the spot. I also found out that the Ace Hotel was only a couple blocks away. I know where that is. I saw the “Back to the Future” screening there in June. So I was at least in part of Los Angeles I knew.
I was curious to see what this venue looked like. I couldn’t really miss it. After all, the lights were really bright. The show was set to start at 8PM but I was told that was not really true. It would start at 9PM but they would let us in at 8:30PM. After figuring out the will call situation, I made a B-line for the front of the stage. It was general admission and it was all just on the floor, so I knew I had to get a good spot right up close since Madi was opening the show.
Standing and waiting for half an hour wasn’t the best, but it was cool. There was a buzz of excitement in the air. I knew most of the crowd came to see Miniature Tigers and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., but I was all up front to make sure I got to see Madi again. I was kind of lucky that the lady in front of me, who was right at the barrier, was aching and actually sat for most of the first half of the show, peering through the barrier. That was nice since my view wasn’t blocked off.
Madi hit the stage and started off with “The Other Side,” which I thought sounded great on the album but it was a whole new level live. The heavy drum and the echo of her voice really was spectacular. I think the common theme for all the songs she did was that they sounded so amazing live. I love what the CD album version gave me, but something about hearing those songs live was so much better.
These songs aren’t easy to perform live and some parts, they had to get creative. Replacing some heavy bass parts with drums was a delightful sound. The echo of her voice filled the place and I can tell that most of the crowd was just warming up to Madi’s music, most of them likely hearing her for the first time. But after every song, a loud applause. They were digging it. I was digging it big time!
It was really cool for me to see her perform again. Her music has evolved so much and it was still a nice throwback for me, just remember my first concert in LA and how much I’ve changed. It was just a nice trip down memory lane.
Following her impressive set, I stopped by her merch table to say hi. Still sweet, still with a great smile and full of laughter. So happy to see that her music career is blossoming and she’s enjoying it.
She signed my copy of her newest album “Phantom” and even posed with a couple of silly photos with me. Awesome! She was just chatting up with anybody and everybody who stopped by her table.
Up next to the stage was Miniature Tigers. I had never heard their music until that night. (That seems to be a familiar theme with me and becoming fans of artists.) I kind of like their style. It was a nice combination of a little heavy guitar but still pleasurable to my ears. What a cool band.
After them was the main attraction, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. I noticed by then the theater was starting to fill up, and people were still getting their tickets scanned to get inside the venue. I actually don’t listen to their music either, but the week leading up to the concert I went on to Spotify to give them a listen. I actually like them. It’s kind of a very catchy tune they produce and watching them during the show, I can tell that they know how to get the crowd into it.
I particularly like the big ball they had in the middle of the stage that fixated images, even a face that sang along with them. It was a pretty fun show. I really enjoyed it. I got to see one of my favorite artists and check out two acts that I actually dig.
One of the great things about these kinds of shows is that it’s just excitement everywhere. There is a certain crowd of people that attend shows like these. Way different than the crowds I encounter with the hip hop and classic rock concerts I normally attend. But with this, I can still meet the artists, take a photo, get an autograph and just see these great talents just be themselves.
I hope to see Madi in concert again in the near future. I am so happy to see her career grow and she’s still so down to earth. I remain a fan for life.
Check out her newest album right here: