I had the pleasure of taking in Lyn Saga’s show at The Roxy last week. It’s been a long time since I entered through the doors of The Roxy (I think the last time I was there I wasn’t even legally able to drink) and it was quite a throwback for me to be inside the walls again. My memories of the venue consist of really great music, good times with friends, and basically groupie stalking singer/songwriters that I was in love with before I knew that musicians were bad news (dating wise, anyway). And so, years later, I returned to witness really great music all over again, courtesy of this powerhouse musician.
I was introduced to Lyn’s music through some music-related side work I do, and when I was told she was playing and I was welcome to come out, I honestly couldn’t wait to see Lyn work her magic in person. Her power-pop, rock-infused music is chock full intricate harmonies, crazy guitar solos and bits of pieces of her influences, from Weezer to the Foo Fighters, you can hear them breaking out in each electrifying chorus.
Although she didn’t grow up in California, she has our sense of beach-y rock, eclectic sounds and attitude fueled lyrics, completely down. On songs like “Venice Beach,” she effortlessly captures the laid back attitude that all of us native Californian’s are pretty much born with. Even when we’re working our 9-to-5’s we seem to be wistfully dreaming of sitting out in the sun. As the opening number, it worked well to define who she is an an artist, an excellent introduction into what was to come. Somewhere in the middle we got a hint of where she came from with the “This Way,” for me a real turning point in the set where she settled in and got comfortable on stage. Her set is put together in a way that almost seems to tell her life story, including throwbacks like her Grease-inspired tune from a band she played with in High School, which I thought was so rockabilly and unique to hear. Not only was it something I hadn’t heard from her before, but it really gave me an idea of her beginnings as a musician, in a quirky sort of way. She’s a phenomenal guitar player, a true highlight when you’re watching her on stage, especially on songs like “I Believe.” As the closing number it really blew me away, with a rousing and inspirational chorus, she forces you to find that part of yourself that is defiant in your beliefs. It’s one of my favorite songs on the record but there was something so dynamic about it in person, it was a perfect way to end the show; proving even further that she not only knows how to tell a story, but how to end one.
Lyn Saga leaves no doubts about who she is on stage, she plays like she knows exactly what she wants to say, and it’s refreshing to see that sort of confidence shine through. At the same time, there’s a sort of timidness in her that’s hard to pinpoint, like she doesn’t quite understand that she’s written these great songs and plays circles around most other women who perform with guitars on the Sunset Strip. This is the sort of thing I love in an artist, confidence mixed with uncertainty, it makes for truly inspiring songwriting.