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Rockabilly group takes Fair to the '50s

Lead singer Ismael Loza and bass player Julian Johnson of the band Jonny Come Lately play rockabilly reminiscent of the 1950s to get fair goers moving. The band plays original songs, as well as covers of songs by artists such as Johnny Cash, the Stray Cats and Sublime. / photo by Christopher Guzman

Lead singer Ismael Loza and bass player Julian Johnson of the band Jonny Come Lately play rockabilly reminiscent of the 1950s to get fair goers moving. The band plays original songs, as well as covers of songs by artists such as Johnny Cash, the Stray Cats and Sublime. / photo by Christopher Guzman

Marla Bahloul
Staff Writer

Local rockabilly band Jonny Come Lately performed this Labor Day weekend at the Los Angeles County Fair in the Family Market Place.

The stage was accompanied by a number of audience members, all ranging in age.

Children and adults joined together to enjoy the group’s performance.

Jonny Come Lately includes Ismael Loya, lead vocalist and guitarist; Julian Johnson, stand-up bassist; Adrian Johnson on guitar, harmonica, and accompanying vocals; and Angela Ross on drums.

Though only freshmen in college, these 18-year-olds have already established themselves after performing on “America’s Got Talent” in the summer of 2007.

Saturday night’s show began with a prompt cover of Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock.”

Loya emulated a 21st century Elvis Presley, bearing a pompadour and vintage attire, which like the rest of the band, gave a presentation of his/her individuality.

Jonny Come Lately’s diversity is not strictly limited to their style.

Their songs brush up on a number of different genres, infusing ska, blues and alternative.

“We don’t play a singular genre. We don’t like to be classified,” Loya said. “Music is more of a united thing.”

“Music is music. It’s beautiful,” Adrian Johnson said.

“We go to venues and are expected to play rockabilly, but then we throw in some ska, and see that people really like it.”

Their performance exuded a certain youth with sophistication. Covering bands like The Clash, Stray Cats and Sublime, Jonny Come Lately proved to be capable of entertaining audience members of all ages and musical preferences.

From their experience on “America’s Got Talent,” they learned the many secrets of reality television and were also happy to get the opportunity to perform alongside other artists and musicians.

“My favorite experience was being able to see how reality shows actually work behind the scenes,” Ross said. “(I also) enjoyed meeting such talented and interesting contestants.”

Despite their stint on “America’s Got Talent,” the band collectively agreed that the Los Angeles County Fair was by far their favorite place to perform.

“I like performing for a number of people and spreading a wide variety of music to them,” Julian Johnson said.

Jonny Come Lately provided the audience with even more entertainment on day two of the Fair.

Loya was first accompanied by his girlfriend who sang a cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s, “Put your Records On.”

He was then joined by his younger sister, whose voice blew away the audience.

Their young age has not proven to inhibit them from reaching such high stature in the community.

The band will play at 5 p.m. on Sept. 15 at the Claremont Colleges.

They will also be performing at 6 p.m. on Oct. 3 at the University of Southern California’s Ground Zero Performance Cafe.

Jonny Come Lately is also available for private booking. For more information, visit jonnycomelately.com.

The Los Angeles County Fair runs through Oct. 4 at the Fairplex in Pomona.

For more information, visit lacountyfair.com.

Marla Bahloul can be reached at marla.bahloul@laverne.edu.

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