If Tom Waits and Ella Fitzgerald had a baby, it would be Golden Afternoon.
The Huntington Beach band performed a set of unique and creative songs, as well as covers, to an intimate crowd at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa on Monday night.
The band kicked off its set with "Jameson Blues." Singer Elizabeth Messick showed off versatility in her voice as she moved from a melodic Regina Spektor-like sound to feminine rasps. Her sound commanded the room as she also showed off a range from low alto to high soprano notes.
Messick laughed as she said she needed her glasses to read the lyrics of the next song, showing off her quirky personality, which she mentioned frequently in an interview with the Independent earlier this year.
The group then began playing "Celebratory Demons," which Messick said was a new song. Instead of the first song's bluesy genre, this one had more of a country twang and sounded similar to "Sugar Daddy" from the rock musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch."
This mix of sound showed off Golden Afternoon's versatility in genres and proved its uniqueness, as no two songs sounded alike during their nine-song set.
Messick dedicated Golden Afternoon's next song, a cover of "Get Happy/ Happy Days Are Here Again" by Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland, to Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter who died in 2002 during a terrorist attack.
"His philosophy was that music builds bridges and brings different cultures together," Messick said before playing the song with a blues twist.
Messick's parents also played a big role throughout the set as she constantly referred to them, either by speaking directly to them or dedicating songs to them.
"This song is about my mom and she has to dance to it," Messick said about "Mirna's Revenge."
Her mom responded from the crowd, "I'm a nice person, I promise!"
The crowd, comprised mostly of regular Golden Afternoon fans and friends, laughed as Messick danced on stage and her mom danced in the crowd to the salsa and tango tune.
The crowd continued to be interactive with the band as a couple began dancing to "Counting Sheep."
"These are my friends," Messick said of the couple. "And they just got engaged, and I'm so happy."
The couple continued dancing into Golden Afternoon's second cover of the night, "I Wanna Be Like You" from Disney's "The Jungle Book."
For the cover, Messick was joined on vocals by guitarist Adam Churilla, whose raspy voice sounded similar to Louis Armstrong.
Many people in the room, from the band to the crowd, danced to the song. Messick and bassist Daniel Stonebraker ended the song in the fashion of the Isley Brothers' "Shout" by moving lower and lower toward the ground until they finally ended lying down.
When the band played Patsy Cline's "Crazy," Messick showed raw emotion. Dressed in a black cocktail dress, her performance was very moving, and the crowd fell silent as Messick let out a mix of soft notes and powerful belts.
Golden Afternoon ended its set with its cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," which Messick said was requested by the venue's "sound dude." Messick was theatrical during the song, which she said usually wins her karaoke competitions.