Concert Review – Jon Batiste at No Name Club

Jon Batiste plays impromptu solo show in Los Angeles to aid Hurricane relief

Jon Batiste, internationally renowned musician and bandleader of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, was in Los Angeles this past week for the Emmy’s. Batiste took a little time out from his schedule to help support the victims of Hurricane Harvey by performing an impromptu solo show at the eclectic No Name Club in L.A.’s Fairfax District.

Ahead of the Emmy hoopla, Batiste brought his musical prowess for an intimate solo in-the-round performance, a rare treat for the 100 or so people lucky enough to attend the evening’s performance. The No Name Club is known for hosting impromptu performances and even has a permanent stage in the small venue. In the center of the dimly-lit club sat a Steinway baby grand surrounded by comfy couches, limited tables and booths hearkening back to supper clubs of yore. The venue is a rich history of musical relics displayed as antiques, a centerpiece of rare amplifiers as sculpture adorn the bar, records and record players as art on shelves, and unique art pieces on the walls.

The audience arrived and made themselves comfortable sitting on couches or standing in clusters around the room. Batiste joined the party, seated behind the baby grand. He welcomed the audience and said it was going to be a night of impromptu music, whatever came into his head, and everyone was welcome to participate. Batiste started playing jazz, improvising on the keys, and diving into well-known classical pieces. The audience respectfully abstained from cell phone or camera use and, in fact, the crowd was so quiet footsteps could easily be heard.

Soon, Batiste was moving into popular music playing “Californication” as he encouraged the audience to join him singing the Red Hot Chili Peppers classic, “Dream of Californication…” The club was so dimly lit, it was difficult to see Batiste’s face, but it did create a rare and unique ambiance for listening to the music. He amazed the crowd with a rendition of the Beatles classic “Blackbird” and Cab Calloway’s “Hi- De-Ho” with more than willing crowd participation.

Towards the end of the 60 minute performance, Batiste grabbed his melodica and played it to the crowd’s excitement. He then made his way to the stage, where he grabbed a set of drum sticks and started playing the drums while singing a cappella. Unbeknownst, musical artist Leon Bridges was in attendance, and when he started singing with Batiste, the crowd went wild. At this point, it was a jam, with audience members dancing, cheering and clapping along. Afterwards Batiste hung around to take photos with friends and fans.

All Photos by ©2017