A Silent Film = Robert Stevenson (vox, piano), Karl Bareham (guitar), Ali Hussain (bass) and Spencer Walker (drums)
Their stop in Los Angeles at the Troubadour on February 28th was a sold-out one and- along with Australia’s Gold Fields– fits perfectly into A Silent Film’s nefarious master plan of being (according to Spencer) the “only English band on the road” in a respective tour. Even so, they do admit to being open to the prospect of possibly touring with fellow countrymen and High Voltage favorite, the Chevin. I may have planted an extra seed of potential for such a thing to happen by heartily endorsing the Chevin as really nice guys and reminding them that both bands chose to record their current albums in the same studio in- of all places- El Paso, TX. “I do really like that song [“Champion”],” mused Spencer.
Collectively from Oxford, England, the guys of A Silent Film make beautiful music: the kind that is heartfelt with uplifting, thoughtful and exploratory narratives that pretty girls love to sing along to. And what they deliver live cannot be mistaken for anything other than a rock show as they translate the beautiful into damned fine energy. Touring on their second album, Sand and Snow, and with the radio-ready hits “Harbour Nights,” “Danny, Dakota and the Wishing Well” and “Anastasia” under their belts, they’ve made a healthy impression on this side of the pond, certainly in Los Angeles: this is their fourth tour visit. Their initiation into the City of Angels, their very first LA show, turned out to be at none other than the infamous Viper Room in 2010: An experience categorized as “crazy” and “a bit of a blur.”
Robert: “That was our first opportunity to play LA. The coolest thing about it was when we finished sound check and we had to put our gear somewhere and the guy said ‘Put it in Johnny’s [Depp] booth’. That’s pretty cool.” And the show was a good one, complete with pretty girls singing along so cheers all around.
As far as ‘LA moments’ go, A Silent Film were surely gifted a high quality one that evening, but you’re not truly one of us until you’ve been subjected to when things get just a little awkward.
Karl: “Oh, when we went to that party…”
Spencer: “OH THAT WAS SO LA! That was amazing.”
Robert: “We get invited to this party, we went all the way to the top of Beverly Hills…in a van and trailer [at this point Spencer is giggling, Karl is shaking his head]. There was a valet at the party, so you know what kind of party it is, at a really, really big mansion. Spent ages trying to get the van up the hill to the party! All these fancy cars and there’s our van with a trailer. When we actually did get to the party there were about 15 people there?”
Spencer: “If that. Basically the person whose party it was wasn’t there and there was just a bunch of people like…who just when you walk in immediately look at you, don’t recognize you and go back to their non-conversation while looking over the shoulder of the person they’re talking to. It was the weirdest night.”
Robert: “Actually there was a DJ in the corner just spinning records to nobody. Just being paid to be there. It was so LA. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some great nights in LA, but that’s probably the most ‘LA’ night.”
On the flip side, Karl offered up what he considers to be an ‘awesome’ night in Los Angeles: “I like to go to Swingers (West Hollywood diner). Just hanging out.” Robert and Spencer are in wholehearted agreement.
Band formation can tend to be a fluid process as, over time, members may come and go and A Silent Film has been no different. Coming from different bands and moments in time found a way to conspire so that Robert, Karl, Ali and Spencer would eventually and fortuitously meld in 2010. “The nice thing about this band,” Robert says “is that it’s come together like gravity pulled us together. Some benevolent force has got the four of us together to make music because it’s happened very naturally.”
Spencer adds, “It’s evolved into this. Which is a great feeling rather than the four of us just being together and trying to make it work just for the sake of it. This is what’s stuck.”
From here A Silent Film continued their co-headlining tour with Gold Fields in the US, ending their road trip in March at South By Southwest in Austin, TX. There I caught two of their festival sets and, even though it had been a long few months and they were a little road-weary, their shows were no less endearing and vibrant than in Los Angeles. A nomadic and rock and roll lifestyle is not easy. It may be a dream come true, but it’s hard work and sometimes there’s just nothing like sleeping in one’s own bed.
After SXSW, they headed back to the UK for a few weeks of rest in those beds of theirs before resuming life on the road in the US. They’re coming back for you, America, so check out their tour dates HERE.
Speaking of beds…
Robert: “Oh my goodness it feels so good when you finally get out of the van and you have somewhere to call ‘home’.”
Spencer: “We don’t say that word, actually, because it’s too emotive. So we don’t use the “B” word in relation to the possessive. It’s too much to handle.”
I’m almost positive that Spencer whimpered.
Spencer: “I’m going to start welling up. I’m gonna be weeping uncontrollably on the floor if you start talking about my bed.”
I had no idea they were so sensitive.