Bishop Briggs, Madi Diaz and more tug at heartstrings at intimate Hotel Cafe show

Bishop Briggs has a sold-out show at the Fonda Theatre this May. Little did some know there was an opportunity to see her play a couple stripped-back songs Monday night at the Hotel Cafe as part of a benefit for ALS Research.

Titled Songs For Mama: ALS Charity Event, the show featured Briggs, Madi Diaz, Landon Jacobs of Sir Sly, Dan Wilson of Semisonic, Tiffany Gouche, Wrabel, Paris Texas, and Yazz Alali. The show was for Alali’s mother Nedda Hammoudi Alali, who was recently diagnosed with ALS.

Tiffany Gouche is an Inglewood native whose voice is smooth like butter. She played a brief but powerful set with deep lyrics, the highlight being the song “Pillowtalk” from the EP of the same name she released in 2015.

Sir Sly has been on an upward climb since dropping their album Don’t You Worry, Honey last year — which is why they are one of our 10 Coachella undercard acts we expect to have a big breakthrough. Lead singer and primary lyricist Landon Jacobs sat behind the piano and played a set featuring Sir Sly songs that don’t get played anymore because “they’re too sad” he said. Two of the songs were “Ghost” and “Helpless”, which are certainly a departure from their more upbeat recent stuff.

You may know Dan Wilson as the lead singer of Semisonic, who churned out one of the megahits of the late ’90s, “Closing Time”. They had many more awesome songs than that (“Singing in My Sleep” was always a favorite) but Wilson has made it as a songwriter and producer in recent years. Along with playing “Closing Time”, he performed the Adele hit he co-wrote “Someone Like You” and put everyone in their feels.

Madi Diaz is one of Los Angeles’ most prolific musicians. I first became enamored with her when I saw her perform as a member of Riothorse Royale a few years back, but she made a name on her own as a talented singer-songwriter. Her piercing voice is a perfect contrast to her light strumming and she left the crowd speechless when she played “Burn”. She also brought up Wrabel, who would perform later in the evening, for a song they had just written a few weeks prior.

Bishop Briggs was her usual jumping-bean self in her Adidas track suit and her hair in buns. Just her and her guitarist, Briggs delivered stripped-down versions of her hit “River” and her cover of the INXS classic “Never Tear Us Apart” from the latest film in the 50 Shades franchise. She is a powerhouse who is truly remarkable to watch and it’s no surprise that her Fonda Theatre show this May is sold out (hope you got tickets!!!). She also debuted her new single “White Flag”, which drops this Friday. Holy hell, it slays.

Closing the night out was Stephen Wrabel, known as Wrabel. He became emotional as he spoke about the night’s cause in raising money for ALS research, and delivered heartbreaking ballads “Bloodstain” and “Ten Feet Tall” to cap the evening.

Please visit the ALS Association so you can find out more about this disease that afflicts so many people.

Photos and words by Danielle Gornbein