Posts Tagged ‘Maggie Szabo’


With her brilliant smile, athletic body  and mischievous eyes, the diminutive Maggie Szabo put on a show Friday night at LA’s premier showcase club this Friday that topped even her high-energy performance  record.  Nobody sat still as she rocked  through  11 songs – mostly new material including the new, soon-to-be-a-hit “Paralyze”,  along with favorites like “Sweetest  Heartache” and the solid pop-anthem, “Slow Fire”.

Having seen her live four times,  I  could tell that there has been both a creative burst and a lot of hard work in her career since I started following her about a year ago. New songs  blended smoothly with her audience’s established favorites, making the evening  seem like a  party  with old  friends;  there were no dissonant  notes, no “where is Maggie going?”, questions.  It  just all worked.  Even when she took to the old  upright piano in far stage left and shifted mood for “Touch the Ground” and “Take Your Time”,  she was  on  target both as a singer and as  a performer. Plus she gave a preview of some of  the new songs on an EP  she is now wrapping up a new EP, Truth.


It was the performer side of Maggie  that really seems  to have grown.  A consummate  relationship builder online, with tens of thousands of Facebook and twitter  followers, Maggie has always been able to transfer that likeability to her performances – a skill I marveled at last February  when I attended her album release  party on the same stage.  But this Friday night she brought a  new confidence and a new capacity to connect personally with individual  fans  – the way Bill  Clinton does  in a crowd.  She was singing to you, personally.

A Canadian-born,  Nashville-trained soul-pop singer with ferocious energy packed into a compact, constantly moving frame, Maggie  has moved from an online hit wonder to full-blown top writing, signing and touring performer.  In the short time she has been in LA, I have watched her tighten her song-writing, elevate her command of the stage, and pull her current band – Steven Shook, Sam Campbell, Frank Grande, Sonny Kennelly, Aaron Aiken, Chantel McCrary together into a well-oiled and joyfully focused machine.

Stepping up to her trademark pink mic stand and microphone, dressed in formal short black dress with a bare  midriff that let the rhinestone in her belly button flash as she moved, Maggie was  confident and energized.  She kicked off the evening with a new song, “Tragedy”, telling  the song’s recipient of her attitude, Cuz I’d be the one who would make you feel/Like a million dollars every day of the week while letting us know she would make us feel  like a million dollars that night.


And she did,  introducing us to the new song, “Paralyze” and then  upshifting even more to her full-tilt dance cut,  “Slow Fire”.  The room bounced  and swayed as she told us Baby, we can burn all night-  and we were ready to do just that.  As she moved through the set list, including the two  songs with her at the piano and back to the band with “One Sided”,   her command of the performance and the audience expanded, like the lens on  a spotlight opening up to illuminate a growing circle.  When she gave the band a downbeat and launched into the pop-constructed “Sweetest Heartache” with  its ultimately singable hooks, people  in the back of the room couldn’t  restrain themselves and started dancing, clearing a tiny  space  in the standing crowd.

“Relapse” and “Forgive and forget”  kept  the energy up.  Maggie finished on the highest note  in reparatory, her  hit single “Tidal  Waves and Hurricanes”.  It was over too soon.

Early on in the performance Maggie told us that the Hotel  Café is her favorite venue in LA and she rocks it wonderfully. But  I would love to see her in a larger space, either solo or opening for a national  act where she could bring in her legions of fans and give them room to dance. Her pop  constructions can easily cross from iPod Playlists sand Pandora  downloads to into  room-filling anthem/dance music  A larger space as a solo or big tour warm up act would also give her the freedom to lengthen her songs from radio-ready 2 to 3 minutes to concert length, 5 – 7  minute cuts.  She has the energy and the material – “Slow Fire” and “Tidal Waves and Hurricanes”, for instance – and her current band  could easily kick it up even more with drum and guitar solos.  But  most importantly, Maggie has  the authority on stage to translate to a larger venue  and a growing audience. She deserves it and so do we.

~ Patrick O’Heffernan. Host, MusicFridayLive!


Maggie Szabo

Hotel Café, Hollywood CA



Maggie Szabo left fans at the Silverlake Lounge with a lightning bolt of a parting shot before heading off to a recording session in New York Monday night.  A high energy, beat-driven eight-song set, finished off with her hit single “Tidal Waves and Hurricanes” kept the packed club moving and dancing.  Sparks and flames were practically flying out of Maggie and her band she was so on.

I have seen Maggie live three times, most recently at the Hotel Café in February, and she has grown and improved orders of magnitude – and she was top rated to start with.  Her band  Monday night–  regular drummer  Sam Campbell, the kick-ass Kyle Calvillo on lead guitar, Steven Shook on rhythm guitar and Sonny Kennelly on bass – were so tight they moved with Maggie without a nanometer between them.  They showed a Grammy-level of professionalism that was a joy to watch.


Maggie was among friends at the Lounge – part of her huge and constantly growing fan base – as she shouted out to various people in the audience by name  and told us mischievously about one song from a  night she spent that she was, well,  a bit embarrassed by.  We loved it,.  Maggie has always mined her Canada-Nashville-LA-New York travels for her lyrics, but Monday night she seemed ever more intimate, more open as she rocked, swayed, writhed, waved her arms in the air and in general gave us a show that could have read well in Staples Center. A tiny blonde solar chip in a black dress that exuded energy, she filled the venue with her presence.


Maggie  kicked off with new songs  “Tragedy” and “Paralyze” and then went to the familiar “Slow Fire”  from her Hear Me Out album, with its fast-rhythm guitar skip beat and addictive hooks.  The crowd was fully engaged, bouncing and shouting.  They loved it and they obviously loved Maggie. She shifted to new songs “Blame it on the Moonlight” and “One-sided”  and then returned to the Hear Me Out collection with “Love Sick”, a more popped-up  tune but with a kicked up energy not on the recording.


After delivering the new “Forgive and Forget” with a level of emotion that was surprising even for her, Maggie wrapped the show with her hit single “Tidal Waves and Hurricanes” to an ecstatic audience.  It seemed that everyone in the venue knew the words and were singing along.  For a few moments, Maggie created a single, singing,  living being in the Silverlake Lounge and it was so much fun to be part of it.


Maggie returns from New York at the end of August with her new EP in hand and has announced a release party in Hollywood on September 4 – watch her website and twitter feed for the place.  This little blonde chanteuse from a small town in Canada is emerging as one of LA’s signature talents and I for one am so happy she has put down roots in my hometown.  I fully expect to see her on the top of the Billboard charts and filling major venues on her own by this time next year.


Patrick O’Heffernan

Host, Music Friday Live!


Maggie Szabo