Melina Mae Duterte is a real SoCal kid, and writes like one. As Jay Som she revives the sunny West Coast sound we tend to associate with laid back guys like Ned Doheny, though in her case the songs service a much more personal, circumscribed world. She calls herself a bedroom singer-songwriter because that’s literally where she produces music, and even with a full band in tow at the Red Marquee on Saturday afternoon, she looked and sounded like a lone soul: dressed ultra casually in camo cargo pants, a loose-fitting khaki T-shirt and floppy white hat, she could have been a wannabe army reserve slacker.
Her music would have been perfect in an open air setting with the sun shining, but it was raining again, and while the shed preserved the illusion of fair weather, it put a damper on the sunny feelings. The crowd dug the groove — this is just the kind of ’70s style music Japanese kids seem to like, and while the volume and hardness of attack came and went, the melodic impact never wavered. A few people were even dancing, though Jay Som doesn’t play what you would normally call dance music. More like sway music. And every so often there was nice soaring guitar line to add that requisite rock rush. It must get real crowded in that bedroom sometime.