Power outage zaps Letters to Cleo show at the Roxy

Letters to Cleo at the Roxy (Photo by Notes From Vivace)

Someone blew a fuse Saturday night on the Sunset Strip. So the Los Angeles stop of Letters to Cleo’s Homecoming 2022 Tour became an answer to the question: Where were you when the lights went out?

Early on, the night was buzzing with lines of fans waiting for the doors to open at the Roxy, the Viper Room, and the Whisky a Go Go. Prince Street Pizza was packed with pizza lovers. The bars were crowded.

Inside the Roxy, the venue was filling up with an all-ages crowd to support Letters to Cleo. Opening up for the band was Los Angeles-based Broken Baby. Amber Bollinger entertained the crowd with her dynamic performance that was combined with catchy songs such as “Manic Panic” and “Make Manager.” She interacted up close and personal with both friends and strangers.

They were clearly energized by the chance to open for Letters to Cleo for this show (and Friday’s in San Diego). “Being able to play these couple of shows with them has been a dream,” Broken Baby said. “As a ’90s kid, Letters to Cleo were the soundtrack of my teenage years. The whole band is gracious and kind and seeing them perform and being able to just share the stage with them was a whole other level of cool for us. Kay is the real deal … She’s down-to-earth and supportive and a true badass. I mean, she wore a Broken Baby shirt on stage! How fucking cool is that?”

Before the curtains came up for Letter to Cleo, those over 40 as well as those under 20 packed the front of the stage. People had come from Northridge, Pasadena and Riverside to catch the band. The house photographer for the Roxy was from the U.K., on vacation in Los Angeles. The crowd was singing aloud as the DJ spun some Generation X’s R.E.M. tunes back to back. When the curtains rose, lead singer Hanley showed the band was ready to rock the crowd as they launched energetically into their opening tune, “Go!” They got the crowd to clap along with “Awake.” Guitarist Michael Eisenstein was warming up his legs for his patented hops.

But in the middle of “Sparklegirl,” the lights and sound cut out inside the venue. The crowd carried the tune briefly, and the song ended with an extended drum solo. Then one of the Roxy staff used a megaphone from the back to inform the crowd that the electricity had gone out on the block. Hoping it was only temporary, Hanley suggested they play an acoustic singalong song. The band settled on “Cruel To Be Kind.” A member of the Roxy staff came on stage with a flashlight and there was a fun moment to be had by all.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a brief outage, and the Roxy asked for safety reasons that everyone leave the venue. Members of Letters to Cleo came outside and chatted up various individuals in the crowd. After another 45 minutes, the Roxy asked everyone to go home.

Per the band, the year 2008 was the last time they played The Roxy. The year 2022 will be a night to remember by all.

Also impacted by the electrical failure was the Whisky a Go Go and the Rainbow Bar and Grill. The Viper Room was spared from the failure.

Setlist: Go!, 4 Leaf Clover, Awake, Sparklegirl, Cruel To Be Kind.

What was missed: Big Star, Acid Jed, Find You Dead, Veda Very Shining, Anchor, Demon Rock, Fast Way, Hitch A Ride, Disappear, Because of You, Here & Now, Pizza Cutter. Encore: I Want You To Want Me, Rim Shack

Photos and recap by Notes From Vivace