latchkey kid

latchkey kid


Laid-back grooves with a mellow, melodic tone. Music for Saturday night AND Sunday morning.


Expect to hear a lot of Jack Johnson comparisons when discussing the southern California rock outfit Latch Key Kid. They boast the same laid-back, unhurried charm of the surfer-cum-singer-songwriter Johnson’s tunes, in a style best and most concisely described as surf- or beach-rock. The inevitable comparison is, however, one that fails to convey the range in musicality that Latch Key Kid demonstrate in their live set, as was made clear on a relaxed June night last week on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip.

Sandwiched between two loud, aggressive bands in a rather motley lineup at the world-famous Whisky A Go-Go, Latch Key Kid provided a welcome respite amidst the cacophony and proved that rockin’ the house does not presuppose juiced-up amps or angsty guitar distortions. Starting off with the breezy “Turn It Out,” the first half of their set showcased a barebones, stripped sound guided by frontman Gavin Heaney on guitar. The acoustic strummings and folk rhythms recalled a hint of Simon and Garfunkel, but their incorporation of a muted trumpet added a dimension not often explored in the modern rock scene. A bit reminiscent of ’40s-era improv jazz, the horn lent a sound at once retro and new.

Despite somewhat indistinct vocals from the soft-spoken Heaney, Latch Key Kid performed with a vim and vigor that energized their easygoing casual-ness, keeping it from lapsing into the realm of the overly loose, the aloof, the vaguely indifferent. The song “Reckon Ball” prompted my companion to utter, “It’s like reaaaaaaaally mellow ska!” Mellow, yes, but played with a vitality that rendered it simultaneously intense.

With a mid-set switch to electric guitar, the latter half disclosed a sultrier, bluesier musical sensibility. Harmonica licks, vocal harmonies and unmuted horn let loose upon the freer, unrestrained feel of the last three songs in a vibey experience that pushed them beyond the boundaries of clean and simple surf-rock. I’d like to see these guys jam.

Latch Key Kid avoided wearing out their welcome and left the stage after a short-and-sweet set, leaving one wishing for more as the next, unremarkable group took their place onstage with some more pedestrian aggro rock.


slackstring - self titled
latchkey kid - come down songs

Set List

turn it out, mary mary, stranded, lend me your love, world of misery, wednesday morning, game of love, leaving in the morning, little lady white, out of place, give it some time