Back from a triumphant tour in New York, the Greek-British goddess of song, Athena Andreadis, celebrated returning to her adopted home of Los Angles with a sprawling 18-song set at Genghis Cohen’s concert room featuringsongs from her album and contributions by a brace of great musician friends. Backed by Deron Johnson on keyboard, Michael Ward on guitar,and Jimmy Paxton on drums – all stars in their own right–Athena was in a lively mood as she danced, bounced, laughed and crooned through the evening, carrying a very happy standing room only crowd with her.
Joining her over the performance were Warner-Chappell blue-eyed soul singer Conner Pledger, Angela Parrish – known to millions from her song “Another Day of Sun,” which opened the Oscar-winning film musical La La Land, folk-singer Sarah Melson whose music is familiar to fans of Grey’s Anatomy and other TV series, and singer/songwriter Joy Autumn who recently released the Sunny Lemonade album about her move to LA from Washington State.
Dressed in black silk shorts and top, with her golden hair and earrings framing a mile-wide smile, Athena was practically bubbling with grinning energy. Banter between the star and her band before opening up with “You Mean Everything to Me” from her album, Ready for the Sun, engaged the crowd from minute one. Everything about Athena telegraphed that this is going to a night to sing,laugh,and remember.
And it was. She gave us songs from the album including “Ready for the Sun”, “Stronger”, and “You Bring Me Luck”, often with audience members singing the words to themselves sotto voce. Moving from the microphone to the keyboard,Athena told the story of her collaboration with Leonard Cohen on his latest album, You Want It Darker, where she is featured on the hauntingly beautiful, “Traveling Light” produced by Leonard’s son, Adam. She mused what it would be like for Cohen to return from 10 years of meditating and write and sing again, and then she quieted the room with a single line, “wild horses” in as haunting a voice as I have ever heard from her.
Powering through the slightly tinny sound system that filed some of the smoothness from her normally gold-silk voice, Athena took us through the beloved “Start Again” and new tunes like “Asleep at the Wheel”, interspersed with songs by her friends (she paired up with Joy Autumn and Angela Parrish on duets). She wrapped a perfect evening with my favorite from Ready for the Sun, “Autopilot”.Welcome back Athena, and thank you for a night to remember (and please, give us more).