Saturday, Oct. 21 in Santa Ana, behind the glass display of a local music shop known as Beatnik Bandito Emporium, Ryan Alexander of Civilian begins to set up for an intimate night of heartfelt music. Among the classic vinyl records and dust settling on collectible guitars, most of the crowd decided to sit on the floor of the claustrophobic music shop.
Civilian is the moniker of permanent members Ryan Alexander (lead vocals & guitar) and Dan Diaz (bass & guitar). Their first album was released in 2012, titled “Should This Noose Unloosen.” They gradually started to realize how impactful their sound was and followed up with a few singles before releasing their sophomore effort, “You Wouldn’t Believe What Privilege Costs.”
This was the last show on Alexander’s two month tour run. “If this was my last show, I think I’d be okay with that. I hope it’s not though,” he told the modest crowd. All the songs played were acoustic renditions, but the stripped down nature brought forth something that made it all the more special to hear.
Before playing “Cut & Run” off of his second album, he pointed out that he had just moved to California that very day. Most of his songs’ subject matter deals with the struggle of love and self- loathing.
“Most of my songs either have to do with Donald Trump or my girlfriend,” Ryan told us before diving deeper into his set list.
The song “Skulls” explains how distracting the presence of someone can be. Intricate picking patterns coupled with light strums to accentuate the emo-rock lyrics finished the night off right.
The Beatnik Bandito vibe reminded me of hometown shows, where it is just friends supporting friends. So, the next time you think life or love has got you down and you need some words of encouragement, or need hard hitting rock music to let your rage out, check out Civilian’s albums.