Written by Brenda Ortiz, Staff Writer
Nestled in a quiet, unassuming street in downtown Los Angeles is the Teragram Ballroom, a one-stage venue known for presenting rock and indie artists. On August 21, the Phoenix-based folk punk band AJJ performed to promote their latest album The Bible 2.
Had it not been for the line of technicolor-haired, black bandanna-sporting punks eagerly waiting to enter, it would have been easy to miss.
Doors opened at 7:00 p.m. giving show-goers time to purchase band merchandise, sit in the café, and order drinks. The two opening acts, ROAR and John Congleton and the Nighty Nite, began the night by getting the crowd to dance.
As the night went on and the crowd rolled in, the scent of weed and cheap beer lingered. One look–or whiff–at them might have lead someone not familiar with the genre expecting chaos. The usual stereotype.
However, while the crowd danced non-stop, the entire show felt surprisingly intimate. Perhaps it was the small size of the venue or the candid lyrics that AJJ are known for, but it felt much more welcoming than the typical concert experience.
AJJ, simply put, creates music that resonates with the more neurotic and emotionally overwhelmed.
“Brave as a Noun,” a song from their previous album, talks about the courage it takes to get out of bed on a bad day. The song “Rejoice” was a more welcoming and frighteningly relatable change of pace from more popular music. “No More Shame, No More Fear, No More Dread” from their new album captures feelings of unlikely hopefulness despite the cruelty and madness of the world.
Near midnight, the show ended just as quietly as it began. There was a sense of melancholy in the air after the energy dissipated. However, AJJ’s message to be kind to others made one feel not so lonely.
At the exit of the venue facing towards a wide empty street, a sign read: “Please be mindful of our neighbors.”