Seeing Tess Henley perform live (again) was all kinds of amazing and nostalgic

Before I even tell you about it, let me preface this.

When I moved to Los Angeles in 2012, I was not particularly in a good state. I was alone living in a place I am unfamiliar with. I was starting a new job and even though things were coming to me, I had a rough schedule and I was basically having a little hard time adjusting.

But a couple weeks into my new life in Los Angeles, I attended a show at The Hotel Cafe to see Rachel Platten (and also ended up discovering Madi Diaz). For the first time sine I moved to LA, I was actually happy. I was in a good mood. I was enjoying my new life. So to me, this specific venue holds a lot of meaning to me. It meant so much, I ended up using it as my backdrop to one of my greatest writing achievements with my legendary Ami Mills story.

I had not returned to the venue since then for various reasons. But last night was my first night back and I would get a chance to see Tess Henley. This really excited me!

A while back I found out that a music artist named Tess Henley followed me on Twitter. Curious about this artist, I gave her music a listen on Spotify. I was hooked (and inspired to write my Pickles story with some of her influence). I followed back and started following her career. The journey culminated with me checking her out live at Revolt but not getting much of a chance to do much since I had to rush to work right after.

When I found out about this show at The Hotel Cafe, I bought my ticket not even sure if I could make it. But I made sure that I would make time for this. I had to return back to my favorite place and to see Tess Henley perform live and to actually meet her.

I finally got to meet Tess!

Getting to the venue was a piece of cake. I’ve driven around Hollywood enough to know where everything is. But the greatest part about it was the rush of nostalgia that I encountered when I walked through the door. The merch station on the right. The lobby stage (which is now a seating area). The glass doors (as you can see in the above picture) and the small intimate setting with a small stage with a bar off on the left. I actually got a little emotional. I was back at the place where I was first believed that I could make it.

I got to the seating area and saw that all of the tables were filled up. So I ended up standing throughout the entire show. But it was all good. I got a great view of the stage.

Tess set up the stage and started her set. The crowd was really digging her. But what made the show fun was that she was so interactive. She was cracking some jokes, keeping it light and fun. That’s one thing I like about these smaller intimate shows. You can really get to see the artist up close and experience their personality.

As you can see from the above video, she did a cover of “Come Together.” (She said it was the music she grew up with at her house — just like me!) That made me really happy. She performed some of her classics from her previous album and did three songs from her newest EP. She even did a cover of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody!” Really awesome show. It was a great time.

After the show, Jon McLaughlin hit the stage and he has a great sound. This was my first time listening to his music. Pretty cool stuff. I might check out his music more down the line.

As Jon was wrapping up his “encore” time, I was wondering where Tess was and hoping to see if I could get her to autograph the CDs I was going to buy. I checked in the “talent room” and we chatted for a bit. OK, this is one thing that really meant a lot to me. Last year when I went to see Nikki Lane perform, she remembered my name (almost, she called me Stan) because of the Twitter interactions. But the fact that she remembered was kind of special.

Tess instantly recognized who I was. She remembered my name and knew that I had seen her perform at Revolt earlier this year. Now that’s cool. We chatted for a bit — a little bit about her going back to Seattle to see family in the middle of a tour and me just sharing a little bit of what I like in music and so forth. This was before Jon’s set was finished, so we got a chance to just chat it up, get her to sign the CDs and to get a picture. Really down to earth and totally cool in every way. I’m glad I got a chance to go talk with her. Makes me even a bigger fan now.

I do hope to catch her perform soon. Great music, great atmosphere and just totally fun.


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