“Hardly Dangerous” takes over the Hollywood House of Blues 6/15/12

A funny thing happened to me on the way back from the Bush concert at Staples Center last night. I ran into the most ass kicking hard rocking, mostly girl rock band I have ever seen. Hardly Dangerous was one of several bands on the bill at Rick Ortiz’s Summer Metal Onslaught 1 at the Hollywood House of Blues last night. With all due respect to all of the excellent performers on the bill, Hardly Dangerous owned the stage on this night.

Hardly Dangerous is lead singer Tomi Rae Brown, guitarist Chris DeClercq, drummer Sheri Weinstein and bassist Beth-Ami Heavenstone.

Born in Las Vegas, Tomi Rae left home at an early age seeking her fame and fortune in Hollywood. Along with three other fledgling local musicians, Hardly Dangerous was born. Tomi Rae would go on to hone her skills as featured performer and wife of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

Chris DeClercq moved from Switzerland to Los Angeles to attend the prestigious Musician’s Institute. In 2007, Tomi Rae spotted the young DeClercq performing in a club and was so impressed by his skills that she immediately offered him a position in Hardly Dangerous.

Drummer Sheri Weinstein was a successful touring musician with the band The Pandoras when in 1990 she was discovered by Tomi Rae who would announce, “You are going to be in my band”, and the rest is history.

Photo gallery after the jump.  

Bassist Beth-Ami Heavenstone moved to Los Angeles from NYC to attend UCLA. While waiting to establish residency, she would meet Tomi Rae who would then lure her from college to a life of rock and roll. She has been with the band since 1989.

After watching their 50 minute set last night it left me wondering why this band had not been found and signed to a record deal. At sound check drummer Sheri Kaplan Weinstein slammed the skins putting the audience on notice that a hard charging rock and roll band was in the house.

It’s difficult to put this group in any particular genre. Simply put, it’s ass kicking rock and roll. Singer Tomi Rae bounced around the stage with frenetic energy busting out bluesy and powerful vocals. More importantly she was a dominating presence on the stage. She mugged and posed all night and was captivating. While the singing styles of the two are polar opposites, she has a kind of Grace Slick coolness about her.

The sole male member of the band is a young fresh faced guy who, for me, evoked a young Johnny Frusciante sans heroin look. DeClerq is an exceptionally skilled guitar player whose solos were as good as you are going to hear.

What’s to say about the magnetic Bass Player Heavenstone other than it’s good to be Mr. Heavenstone. She handles a massive Fender Precision Bass which is no light weight piece of gear. As a Bass man myself I was more than envious.

It’s not hard to tell that drummer Weinstein has been playing forever. She was a member of the 1980’s all girl band, The Pandora’s at it’s Zenith. The Pandora’s were a widely acclaimed act in the late 80’s. Taken under their wing by the legendary L.A Disc Jockey Rodney Bingenheimer of KROQ, the band had a record deal, videos and a steady following until the lead singer died, tragically, of an aneurism.

Hardly Dangerous is hardly mediocre. Not just another garage band trying to find their way on the Sunset Strip. They’ve been there the whole time. We just missed them. For Hardly Dangerous it’s never too late to be rock and roll stars.

With much thanks to Rick Ortiz and the Hollywood House of Blues.

Brian Michaels

About Brian Michaels

Brian Michaels is grew up in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles in the glory days of the late 1960s and 70s. Only a stone's throw from the Sunset Strip, Michaels had an early education in rock music. Michaels attended his first punk rock show at the age of 14 at the Whiskey a Go Go and has been going strong ever since. Brian is a defense attorney by profession but adds photography and writing to a list of his many passions outside of the his job. Brian can be found on the web at www.exlaprosecutor.com.
This entry was posted in Music, Photo Essays, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply