Orange County’s best venue for reasonably priced indie shows, the Detroit Bar, was treated to the sweet and sunny sounds of Los Angeles-based musical partners, John Dragonetti (of the band Jack Drag) and Blake Hazard (the great granddaughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald), better know as the Submarines. The Submarines’ music has been featured on Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl, and most notably, a commercial for the iPhone 3G. The wide use of their music shows that the Submarines are well-respected and known among the media world, though it seems they’re still discovering their audience.
This was only the second stop on the Submarines US tour with the Morning Benders, but the bands’ mutual respect for one another was already apparent. They both have covers of each other’s songs on MySpace and both bands made mentions of their tour mates during their sets. The show started late with the Morning Benders going on a little after 10 PM. They played a short, but entertaining set of pop music that displayed their excellent musical abilities. The guitarist/lead singer, Christopher Chu, was very appreciative of the audience’s positive response to their music.
The Submarines went on at around 11:30 PM with Blake Hazard attaching flowers to their microphone stands. They played a short, but sweet selection of 11 songs from their debut album Declare a New State! (2006) and last year’s Honeysuckle Weeks. Backed by a Bob Ross-like drummer and a laptop to fill out the sound with extra instruments, the Submarines both played electric guitars, though Hazard occasionally also played xylophone, tambourine, and a small keyboard mouth flute. The new and old songs mixed well together with fans responding well to most songs.
Opening their set with the upbeat “Submarine Symphonika,” the crowded club was instantly entranced by their impressively full sound. Next, was the more downbeat “1940,” with a sound that reminds one of an old spy movie. The band brought back their upbeat sound with “Swimming Pool” and “The Thorny Thicket,” with its almost classical sounding backing instruments and uplifting chorus. Dragonetti took over lead vocals on the next songs “Vote” and “The Wake Up Song,” which features a great hook and some interesting lyrics that really stick in your head.
“Modern Inventions” is another symphonic sounding song with Dragonetti and Hazard alternating vocals and then singing together. The slower and more thoughtful song “Darkest Thing,” is one of those well-written relationship songs that the Submarines do so well. Another of these was “Peace and Hate,” with it’s beautiful lyrical imagery and seeming self-reference to the last song. “Xavia” was next with its upbeat lyrics and alternating vocals. Closing the show with the radio-friendly and iPhone ad background music, “You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie” brought a huge response from the audience, who sang and danced along to the bouncy track.
Not long after they finished their set, the venue was clearing out and Blake Hazard was already at the merchandise stand selling Submarines shirts, stickers, and CDs. For those of you in the LA area who missed this show, you’ll still be able to see them on the last stop of their tour at the Troubadour on Saturday, February 28, 2009.
Check out our full set of The Submarines concert photos.
The Thorny Thicket
The Wake Up Song
Peace and Hate
You Me and the Bourgeoisie
– By LIANE CHAN