[phlipcam video] The Morning Benders @ the Paradise

California cool can't be faked. You either got it or you don't. And if you try to manufacture it, you can come across as a try-hard. So even before  singer Chris Chu filled us in, it was pretty obvious that the Morning Benders hail from the Golden State -- the group of young 20-somethings had a densely packed Paradise crowd, of chicks and bros alike, devouring their seemingly effortless brand of laid-back rock. Hell, while resolving mid-show issues with the bassist's amp, they busted into a three-manned impromptu cover of "Garden Grove" by Sublime. Soooo Cali.

There wasn't a review of their most recent album, Big Echo, that didn't mention the production lent to it by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor. Cavernous and anthemic were two descriptors much bandied about. But live, the guitars aren't as crisp and the vocals don't pop as much and this wasn't a bad thing.

Besides the fact that it makes you appreciate how wonderful the production on that album really is, it also contributes to that aforementioned laid-back vibe. A band that doesn't take themselves super seriously -- urges everyone to sing-along, greets fans at the merch table post-show, and aren't afraid to cover Sublime. Wow! A pretension free indie rock band!

Above is a phlipcam'd video of Big Echo standout "Promises." And below is a cover of "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac. Bizarrely as it may seem, I was convinced that Chu was miming along to a backing track of the original, until he started up the next song and still sounded like Stevie Nicks.

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