Show Review: Justus Proffit & Jay Som @ Starline Social Club on 11/30

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An excited buzz lingered in the air as a large and bustling crowd waited for Oakland native Jay Som, aka Melina Duterte, and Los Angeles based musician Justus Proffit to take the stage for a sold out show at the Starline Social Club in Oakland on November 30th, 2018. This was the first stop on Duterte and Proffit’s tour together to promote their new collaborative five-track EP titled Nothing’s Changed.

The show opened with the hard-hitting Los Angeles rock band, Heaven’s Blade. Their short set replaced bedroom pop Oakland band TONER who were scheduled to play first originally. Boy Scouts, a four-piece alternative rock band from San Francisco, followed with an emotional 30 minute set. Their performance was extremely raw and vulnerable, and I would describe Boy Scouts as sad and acoustic bedroom music similar to Lomelda, Soccer Mommy, or Frankie Cosmos. The band features solo artist Rose Droll who recently signed to the San Francisco label, Father/Daughter Records. This is not my first time seeing Boy Scouts perform, and they are definitely a must-see, up and coming local band.

Finally, Jay Som and Justus Proffit took the stage, and the crowd could not be more excited to bob their head and tap their foot in time to the music. Their stage set-up included Justus Proffit and Melina Duterte front and center like co-lead singers, while Duterte’s touring band - which consisted of Oliver Pinnell on guitar, Zachary Elsasser on drums and Dylan Allard on bass - filled the rest of the stage. Fun fact: Jay Som’s drummer Zachary Elsasser is a UC Berkeley student! Duterte and Proffit played through their entire EP, as it is only 11 minutes long, as well as playing together on each other’s solo material. Jay Som and Justus Proffit connected well with the audience as the crowd sang along to some of the songs, and a few people, including myself, even had the courage to dance a little — I was utterly zoned into the set. I saw Jay Som open for Courtney Barnett back in May at the then-new August Hall, and I am not sure if anyone in the crowd even knew who Jay Som was. The only person I had to fight over the setlist for was the stage crew cleaning up her and her band’s equipment.

Duterte’s show at the Starline Social Club was refreshing, and it was incredible to see the immense love the crowd had for this local band. Their set was short, but sweet, and a great start to a brief tour around major cities across the United States. I must say that Jay Som and Justus Proffit’s tour merch was more than stellar and featured a red centipede and children’s toy blocks as well as both of their names on either a white t-shirt or baby blue pullover sweatshirt. Overall, it was a great Friday night and the perfect way to end November.