The Troubadour‘s side door whisked open on Tuesday night and a storm was in the air as The Scarlet Opera took the stage, debuting new music for a sold-out crowd. Without a single song to be released, the LA glam band devoured the stage and caused utter chaos for fans with spectacle and spontaneity that felt in moments familiar but also otherworldly. It was quite simply the show of the year, manager Scooter Braun was in the house and based on the response from the crowd, this five piece will never ever play The Troubadour again.
Lead singer Luka Bazulka was the consummate showman, draped in a red Victorian cape, with a white ruffled shirt, a powdered face and an energy that could make you nervous in the best way. The back wall of The Troubadour shimmered with a silver backing and a mirrored chandelier set the tone for this rousing evening of glam, rock and danceable pop music. The packed crowd was roaring once Bazulka made his grand entrance through the side door, standing atop a lone chair in the middle of the venue for the iconic opera piece “Nessun dorma”, like we’re talking Pavarotti, people. It was daring and unexpected and high notes were hit, setting the mood for theatrics, mischief and antics that were thrilling from beginning to end. The completely decadent “Riot” offered belting moments for Bazulka, a tune (like many) that would make Freddie Mercury proud, as he danced for a hot second with fans on the floor, working the stage with his flowing white sleeves in the air.
“This is live theater, brought to you by The Troubadour”, said Bazulka, in a silly voice to the crowd. The Scarlet Opera continued with the rousing pop/rock tune “Waiting For You”, delighting fans with electric guitars by lead Chance Taylor and bassist Daniel Zuker. Bazulka wailed away and belted in a big way during the danceable song, on the floor singing to his guitarist at one point. If you’ve never heard a cover of Tina Turner’s “The Best” before, you’ll never hear a better one than what the band pulled off, reinvigorating the 1989 hit with an incredible guitar solo and “oh oh ohs” that turned up the energy.
“Little Bit of Love” was elevated with multi-colored lights with Bazulka leaning an arm on Zuker’s shoulder, as the bassist tipped his head back, really feeling the moment. The danceable, anthemic song had a slight “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”/Elton John vibe, with the lights and strobes flashing in white while Bazulka enjoyed one of his many moments with his arms out —because a superstar knows how to pose. Bazulka belted on “Star” and was accompanied by incredible guitars, looking fiercely out into the room at the song’s end. The disco-flavored “Can’t Stop Falling” included powerful vocals as well and kept the room grooving.
An acoustic song was next, with guitarist Taylor seated next to a now shirtless-with-a-metal-harness Bazulka and it was a surprise cover of Britney Spears’ 2000 ballad, with the frontman performing an excellent vocal yet again with wonderful falsetto at the end. “This next song is coming in three fucking days and we have waited a long time for this”. The band played their soon-to-be iconic debut single “The Place To Be” which will be released tonight, Friday, September 16. The inspiring line from “Place To Be” is “now or never”, and it’s a stadium rock song that is as much inclusive as it is timeless. It was highlighted by a stellar guitar break, standout piano from Colin Kendrick, driving drums from Justin Siegal and harmonies to top it off.
An 80s-inspired “Woman” had Bazulka pacing around the stage, standing at one point on the speaker overlooking fans with his hands out, for a song that make most anyone want to raise their hands up and shake their ass —despite the pronouns. Perhaps another nod to Queen is the tune “Big City Thing” in which Bazulka sang “Mama, fight all night with me”, drenched in sweat, with the band encouraging the crowd to clap along and you bet they did, with final moments that sounded a bit like the togetherness of “Hey Jude”.
For The Scarlet Opera’s encore, Bazulka in true form and clearly dedicated to the art, wrapped himself back up in the red cape though he was sweating head to toe. “Thank you so much, you’ve been a wonderful audience”. He thanked The Troubadour and the openers and ran around glistening in sweat while the band played “Alive”, which started off as a ballad and concluded as another stadium-ready hit. Bazulka eventually dropped the cape, and finished the tune which was a delightful cross between The Killers, Mika and Queen. Upon exiting the stage, the bass from the speakers blasted ABBA’s epic “Dancing Queen” obnoxiously loud (and no one cared) and not a soul left the room until belting out the final note, and having the time of their lives.
Words by Michael Menachem
Photos by Tim Aarons