Bruno Major at The Regent Theater (Noor Aldayeh / L.A. Times HS Insider)
South Torrance High School

Concert Review: Bruno Major encapsulates the complexities of human emotions

“I’m in the process of making a new album. And I’m taking my time with it, and I’m sorry for not releasing it, but I just don’t want to put it out until it’s ready and that’s that. You wouldn’t eat a microwave meal unless it was cooked, you know what I mean?”

This was just one of many witty anecdotes delivered by British singer-songwriter Bruno Major during his concert. On May 17, the artist made his way to the Regent Theater in Los Angeles, California in one of the stops on his North American tour.

 Concert Review: Bruno Major encapsulates the complexities of human emotions
Major and his band perform at The Regent. (Noor Aldayeh / L.A. Times HS Insider)

Major is known for his melodic pop/R&B sound with jazz undertones, and he quickly rose in popularity after his release of the album “A Song for Every Moon.” The album was released in a bit of an unconventional fashion, where Major posted one song every month for a year, eventually resulting in a final twelve song piece. Shortly thereafter, he made his way around the UK as an opening act and band member in Sam Smith‘s “Thrill of It All” tour.

Since then, Major has garnered enough of an audience to go on his second headlining tour. The Regent was a perfect venue for Major’s LA stop; an intimate room with a laid-back feel that matched the energy of the artist himself. Accompanied by band members Eloise Alexandra on keys/production, Slim Gabriel on drums, and Henry Guy on bass, the artist delved into the night. Major played a multitude of fan favorites throughout the set, including “Easily,” “Fair-Weather Friend” and newly released single “Old Fashioned.”

The artist also included teasers from his (previously mentioned) soon-to-be-released album, a notable one of which being an unfinished song titled “Nothing.” With lyrics that joke about watching “The Notebook” seventeen times and playing Nintendo all day, Major perfectly encapsulates the feeling of enjoying one’s presence so much that there’s simply nothing that feels like spending time with them.

Though we might not be dancing by the light of the moon / There’s nothing like doing nothing with you.”

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The beauty of Major’s music can truly be found in its simplicity. None of his songs are overwhelming in their sound, with a majority of his music being a mixture of soft-spoken lyrics and soothing instrumentals. This isn’t to disregard the handful of pieces played with epic jazz breaks, however. Major and his band are very apparently seasoned artists with absolutely astonishing skills in their field. It was simply joyous to watch as Major, Gabriel, Alexandra and Guy would jam out at the end of more upbeat songs throughout the night. These dynamics combined resulted in a show that was perfectly balanced, ensuring a steady mix of both high and calmer energy pieces.

True to character, Major joked after one jam session: “alright fun’s over, back to being dumped.”

His stage presence aligned perfectly with his music: confident and strong, while also remaining full of soul and intense emotion. Major proved himself as a well-rounded performer, skillfully nailing all of his vocals, strumming perfect riffs on both the electric and acoustic guitar and even playing a handful of songs on the keyboard.

His anecdotes in between songs were an especially endearing addition to the night. The quirky stories behind how he came up with certain songs, perfectly thought out metaphors for common feelings we all experience and insightful perspectives on somewhat random philosophical issues effectively kept the audience in a lighthearted mood throughout the show, while also allowing viewers to feel closer to Major himself.

“I think the reason that almost all songs are about love,” he said, “is because love is probably the closest thing that there is to a meaning of life.”

Love is definitely a common theme throughout Major’s music. Analyzing the emotion on many levels, his lyrics contain a relatability that’s hard not to connect with.  

On a similar note, Major’s opening act was one that only accentuated such feelings during the night. Later joining Major onstage on keys, Eloise Alexander delivered a powerful — albeit short — solo set at the beginning of the show. Singing a handful of her original songs, Alexander had a sweet and lovable personality with an angelic voice to match.

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What was perhaps the most prominent element of this show had to be its contrast from the “traditional” concert experience. While there were the production elements that all good shows have (see: lights, fog, disco ball, etc.), there was no relentless screaming of fans, constant shoving or everyone living the concert through their phone.

Rather, audience members remained entirely respectful, and in fact, almost completely silent while Major performed. His interludes of commentary insured that there was only good energy going around throughout the night, and the talent of both Major himself and his band members was nothing short of a treat. Ultimately, all of this combined allowed for this show to feel just like one of Major’s songs:

Home.

 

Setlist:

  1. Wouldn’t Mean a Thing
  2. Fair Weather Friend
  3. Like Someone in Love
  4. Cold Blood
  5. The First Thing You See
  6. Old Fashioned
  7. Tapestry
  8. Just the Same
  9. Places We Won’t Walk
  10. Giant Steps
  11. Shaky Ground
  12. There’s Little Left
  13. Easily
  14. Home
  15. Nothing
  16. Second Time
  17. Going Home

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