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Live Review: Thee Sinseers with The Altons @ Rams Head On State — 6/6/24

Between DC and Baltimore, the DMV boasts a variety of organic music scenes. But it can’t claim its own healthy supply of Souldies.

Another term for Chicano, brown-eyed or Latina soul, this form of rhythm and blues — a style of music that originated decades ago in communities in Texas and Southern California — is however currently thriving in LA and San Diego thanks to bands and record labels devoted to it.

Turned on by the likes of Thee Sinseers and The Altons, two of the acts on Daptone’s Penrose Records roster, waves of new fans are being drawn in and absolutely swept away by the warmth and longing in these sounds.

At Rams Head on Stage, the night of June 5 provided a rare local opportunity to see both these East LA outfits on the rise. Touring in support of the group’s first full-length album, Sinseerly Yours, Thee Sinseers visited Annapolis, and they brought The Altons along with them for what turned out to be an unforgettable night of music.

Listen to the newly released premiere studio album from Thee Sinseers, Sinseerly Yours, released on Colemine Records, via Spotify:

These promising bands are closely knit as label mates and pals — the core members of Thee Sinseers also make up most of The Altons — and so the Wednesday evening offered two unique Souldies flavors as well as a healthy dose of East LA culture that each act worked into its friendly engagement.

Led by the spectacular Joey Quinones, Thee Sinseers features a big lineup. Joining Quinones on vocals, Adriana Flores decorated so much of the group’s sound and presence with her grace and beautiful tones, and the multi-talented Bryan Ponce also played electric guitar and added to the harmonies as well.

The group packed the small platform, as Francisco Flores played another electric, Christopher Manjarrez handled bass and Luis Carpio banged the drums and added vocals, too. A complete brass section, the heavy heaving was done by Eric Johnson (tenor sax), Steve Surman (baritone sax), and José Luis Jimenez (trombone).

The Altons are fronted by Ponce, and at Rams Head On Stage he was assisted by Quinones, Flores, and Manjarrez, along with other talented players, and this unit also tested the capacity of the modest stage.

Much like a family of entertainers, the members of the two groups fed off one another’s energy to wow the Naptown crowd, not only sharing gorgeous songs but treating those there like friends.

Some of Thee Sinseers stepped right out onto the floor to play to and mingle with folks on hand, even greeting some in Spanish.

Over the course of the set, the West Street venue heard gushing takes on songs that have made this band a rapid hit since it formed in 2019.

Tracks like “Seems Like” and “I Don’t Mind” were sugary and shimmering — overflowing with soul and showcasing the assortment of stunning voices. Sharing choice selections from the new record, Thee Sinseers delivered with the marvelous and stimulating “Hold On” and the fast-favorite “What’s His Name.”

At various points during the show, folks stood from their seats to enjoy the groove or to cheer triumphantly.

“A crazy dinner show, crazy dinner show,” said Quinones as he and his mates relished the moment. “Like dinner at my house, everyone’s yelling.”

Playing songs in Annapolis for the first time, Quinones spoke for both groups in thanking the crowd. He likened any performance to being “a destination” for musicians, and he said it was the support of ticket and record buyers that encourages him and his friends to work hard and to seize such opportunities.

Listen to the 2019 studio album from The Altons, In The Meantime, via Spotify:

“We’re blessed to be here, grateful to be here,” said Quinones, who played electric guitar for The Altons set and then dazzled in leading vocals for Thee Sinseers.

He pointed to a far wall, where he could see framed photos of famous artists who’ve played Rams Head On Stage before him, and said it was “intimidating” to know so many successful performers had come through the place.

“PUT HIM ON THE WALL,” demanded one booming fellow in the back. At that point, agreement would have been unanimous as fans were rejoicing and swaying in their seats to every thoughtful tune Thee Sinseers presented.

Appreciating the spirit of the those in the room, the band openly celebrated with them.

“It’s a vibe,” Quinones said. “A good feeling. … Thank you guys for making it a pleasure.”

Thee Sinseers

The Horse
I Don’t Mind
Can’t Do That To Her
Give It Up You Fool
Can’t Call Me Baby
Right Girl, Wrong Time
Hold On
Gone 4 Good
Seems Like
It’s Such A Shame
What’s His Name
No Need
Like I Can Give
Big Blazers Only

The Altons Setlist

I Try (intro)
Darling Girl
I’ll Be Around
Soon Enough
Float
In The Meantime>Thankful
Medley
Tangled
Gotcha
When You Go
Over & Over

Below are images of The Sinseers and The Altons, as well as opening act Benny Trokan, performing at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis the night of June 5, 2024. All photos copyright and courtesy of Casey Ryan Vock.

The Sinseers

Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers Thee Sinseers @ Rams Head On Stage Annapolis MD 06.05.24 Photo by Casey Ryan Vock

The Altons

The Altons The Altons The Altons The Altons The Altons The Altons The Altons The Altons The Altons The Altons The Altons The Altons @ Rams Head On Stage Annapolis MD 06.05.24 Photo by Casey Ryan Vock

Benny Trokan

Benny Trokan Benny Trokan Benny Trokan Benny Trokan Benny Trokan Benny Trokan Benny Trokan Benny Trokan Benny Trokan @ Rams Head On Stage Annapolis MD 06.05.24 Photo by Casey Ryan Vock