A Service of Saddleback College and
California State University, Northridge

BAILEN and John-Robert at the Troubadour

Near the head of their three-month tour, New York City’s own BAILEN gave Los Angeles a night they wouldn’t forget. Joined by musician John-Robert, the band made their long-awaited stop in West Hollywood’s renowned Troubadour. 

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John-Robert’s faithful fanbase truly showed out Friday night, with an eager crowd continuing to flow in. Since his debut in 2019, the musician has shown his talents in the form of three EPs, the most recent being 2023’s Garden Snake. His complex guitar plucking mixed with a strong voice and confessional lyrics proved to be a fully realized, heartfelt combination. 

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The last song of his set, “Come Pick Me Up”, was reinforced by even more talent when the Thistle Brothers, clad in stringed instruments, joined the stage.

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As BAILEN’s set was gearing to begin, the crowd was arm to arm, brimming with an infectious excitement.

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The group, composed of guitarist Julia, bassist Daniel, and drummer David Bailen, come together in a dynamic and multi-dimensional form, with the trio sharing the duties of vocalizing. After receiving a great response from their 2019 debut album, Thrilled To Be Here, BAILEN struck back this February with the deluxe edition of their sophomore album Tired Hearts (2023). The deluxe edition, featuring 6 additional songs, includes a feature from icon Amos Lee.

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The energy was palpable and spread from the very top of the balcony to the front of the stage. The Bailens never missed a beat. Some may call it sibling telepathy, but it was a clear feat of talent and communication between the group. The storytelling continued outside of their melodies, with the musicians taking time to explain why certain songs exist. Their inspiration, like so much art, often stems from less than pleasant circumstances.

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For instance, “BRCA (Nothing Takes Me Down)” is inspired by Julia’s health diagnosis, while “These Bones” was written in 2020 by Daniel as a response to having multiple loved ones in the hospital. The song’s central bassline, which strongly carries the melody throughout, is a direct result of Daniel being away from his siblings, with his only instrument at hand being the bass. 

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The band’s current US-Canada tour, which started in Michigan in late January, will culminate in Columbus, Ohio during mid-April. It’s clear that the trio are a unique force to be reckoned with, and they will surely win the hearts of even more fans along the road.