Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Briana Buckmaster’s Album Release Party – Live at Hotel Cafe

Photo by Ash McClintic

Last Monday, I had my socks completely rocked off when Briana Buckmaster graced the stage of the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles for the release party for her album Begin. And it – was – AMAZING!

I arrived right on time to the little club off of Sunset Blvd with plus one for the night, my awesome mom. Inside, the low lighting had the room nearly pitch black, which made it difficult to order a drink while my eyes adjusted. But soon I was recognizing familiar faces, both in online/fandom friends, and cast and crew members from Supernatural there to support Briana. It wasn’t long before the opening act took the stage – The Station Breaks.

Photo by Ash McClintic

If you haven’t gotten a chance to listen to Station Breaks, you should stop right now and pull up their album on Spotify or iTunes. (“Gone” is a personal fave of mine!) The band, made up of two members of Louden Swain (Rob Benedict, Billy Moran), Jason Manns, Rob Humphreys and Cooper Appelt, provided the perfect opening energy to the show. By a few songs in, we were all singing along and cheering as Billy played some sick guitar riffs, Rob Benedict busted out a bagel shaker, and Rob Humphreys wailed on the drums.

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One of the best moments of the night was when they played “Hallelujah”. It’s a song a lot of us know and when the chorus came up Jason and Rob stopped their beautiful harmonies and just sat back, smiling, listening to the crowd sing as we sang it back at them. It had a little of that same energy you get at a Supernatural convention during the Saturday Night Special – the feeling of family and togetherness, even when surrounded by a hundred other people who are otherwise strangers.

Photo by Ash McClintic

And then, looking every bit the kick ass rock star she is, Briana took the stage wearing pleather and her million-watt smile. The screaming around me was deafening in the crowded, dark lounge. Joined by members of Station Breaks, she played songs from her new album, Begin. (Which you should also go grab on Spotify or iTunes. I mean it – go now.)

The truth is, there wasn’t a rotten song in the bunch, but I’m gonna talk about my favorites from her set. First of all, as great as ‘Gunpowder and Lead’ is on her album, Briana blew the roof off the place performing it in person! She pulled Jason up on stage with her to sing ‘Have a Little Faith In Me’, with beautiful piano accompaniment. She was also joined by Rob to sing ‘Wave’, which they sang to each other with huge smiles on their faces. But she really knocked me out with her gentle rendition of ‘How Will I Know’ – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. With each song she brought her crazy, passionate, contagious energy that filled the room. It was like we were all up on that stage with her.

Photo by Ash McClintic

The journey of watching Briana perform at conventions during Saturday Night Special, to creating a kickstarter for the album, to now headlining her own show has been so great to watch – not only because it’s so heartening to watch her succeed in her dream, but because she does it while reminding the rest of us to never give up on our own. I was a mixture of proud and excited (and maybe a little weepy) seeing her take the stage. Even my mom, previously unexposed to any of the music performed at the show, danced her feet off with the rest of us!

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I can’t wait to make the drive to Los Angeles the next time Briana performs, and you should make sure not to miss it! Do you have a favorite song from Briana’s new album? Tell us in the comments below!

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Becky joined the staff of Nerds and Beyond in 2018, but she's always been a nerd. From her first fandom to her current, her passion has always been writing and engaging with the media she consumes. When she's not writing, you can find her reading (everything in sight), traveling (the world, but mostly Texas), sewing (costumes and clothing), or just basking in the California sun she loves with her spouse and two cats, Gob and LooseSeal. Her superpowers include being an extroverted introvert, and keeping orchids alive (and killing every other type of plant). Find Becky on twitter at @hello_minky

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