Review: A Packed Night Featuring Madison Cunningham at The Bootleg Theater (LA)

Madison Cunningham, the 21 year old singer songwriter from Orange County closed out last night’s heavy hitting bill at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles’s Historic Filipino Town. Four talented artists performed in celebration of Anna Vogelzang’s 34th birthday, who played her set second to last. Cunningham released her debut EP Love, Lose, Remember in 2018 and is gearing up to put out a new album this coming year.

The night began with the wonderful Rett Madison who you can see on again on March 8th at The Hi Hat (LA). Next to hit the stage was Jamie Drake. She bantered with the crowd comfortably and commanded the attention of everyone in the venue with her powerful voice. Drake evoked the spirits of Joni Mitchell’s Song To A Seagull and Ladies of the Canyon but with her own unique warmth. At times some of her unexpected minor notes which she plucked on her acoustic guitar brought the strange landscapes of John Fahey’s bluegrass to the stage. Drake begins a Monday night residency at The Bootleg in March.

The venue was blessed with Anna Vogelzang’s dream lineup for her birthday party last night- four powerful female artists bringing smiles to the audience with their artistry. Anna was backed up by her band which added happy folk songs to the night as well as expansive fantastical quiet ones. Vogelzang’s second song was a “slow jam about the patriarchy” and her set covered the experiences of being pregnant and finally what it is like to be a mother with that child in the world. The guitar, mellotron, and bass notes cascaded over one another throughout the set with Vogelzang’s beautiful voice riding their wave. Anna invites you into her world of love, wilderness, and to the natural world of human emotion. She has a new album coming out soon which was created during her pregnancy- you can expect to hear about that special experience on the tracks.

The night ended with Madison Cunningham, who took the stage with a dreamy number. Her husky voice reached all of the notes with a natural ease and her guitar playing was formidable. Cunningham kept her eyes closed for a lot of the set, drawing all attention to the stories she sang about. Cunningham possesses some of young Sheryl Crow’s rawness which comes across live more so than on the record. She began a song in the wrong key and laughed mentioning that she was coming off of a long week of traveling. Somehow this was endearing - it brought the crowd closer to her emotionally. Ranging from blues rock to folk, her set covered different ground from song to song. Towards the end the band played a number she called “LA”. This one was unique; the drums and bass were in a time signature which took us to the happy place of Paul Simon’s Graceland. Cunningham sang about walking on Eagle Rock Boulevard and driving down the 5. Cunningham closed out the night with a cover of Radiohead’s "No Surprises" which she deemed “ambitious”. Her bandmate Tyler played on piano and she swung her guitar aside and sang the song with power and vulnerability. Madison wants everyone to “look alive”- and for her music we shall.

#MadisonCunningham #RettMadison #AnnaVogelzang

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