A Few Bands That I Saw During These Crazy First Weeks Of January
My nocturnal occupation is not always compatible with my daytime job and I sometimes go to so many shows, that my writing and posting can’t follow! The year has barely started and I have already accumulated a few gigs I haven’t find the time to post about. I have to say that the Echo is spoiling us, as they had a full week of free shows to start the new year — it was their FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) week. If I had already seen most of these bands before, it’s always good to remind everybody how effervescent the LA music scene is. So during this first part of January, I got the chance to see once again (for most of them) Cat Scan, POW!, Mad Walls, OGOD, Deth Crux, Death Hymn Number 9 and Cheap Tissue, and I haven’t had the chance to tell about the experience:
Cat Scan: They are a hot trio playing surprising angular music with plenty of surprises and freak-outs. They have creative dissonance, groovy tempos and mad accelerations, they are odd in a good way, and often inject some recognizable power riffs in the middle of their weird guitar-bass-drums collage. Quincy Larsen made a few acrobatics with her bass, and some songs reached a hardcore punk speed, while they played with the loudest distortion and rawest energy of the night. Cat Scan are always fun and leave you a bit out of breath when they are done.
The Mad Walls: They blend styles and influences and twist them into their own post-psychedelic garage rock while leaving plenty of space for Christopher Mercado’s half-fierce half-desperate vocals. They can have a punk energy or a more VU orientation with plenty of mellower variations, from a Ray Manzarek vintage organ sound to a Brian Jonestown Massacre druggy type of vibe.
POW!: They are probably the oddest of all the bands playing right now, with a sound going from a cyber attack to an UFO landing. Their unique and strident sound has been described as fuzzy futuristic, but can be born from the fusion — or the clash depending how you see things — between the mad distorted guitar of singer Byron Blum and the glitch keyboard of blue-haired Melissa Blue. They have style and creativity, and nothing in their noisy songs is predictable, which makes each one of their sets enjoyable and repeatedly interesting. And there is a certain madness to what they are doing, like a guitar rebellion against the inexorable groove of the cyborg machines.
OGOD: A force to reckon on, an hurricane of riffs so loud they can make your eardrums explode as soon as they start. They must have songs which last 15-20 minutes while they pile up an Himalaya of riffs, with more distortion and pedal effects you will hear in the entire year. I believe they have picked this funny moniker after hearing people saying ‘Oh my God’ at their shows, while facing their live fury, but in fact OGOD means Over Gain Optimal Death. Their metal power annihilated the place like a second head-banging generation of Motörhead on acid and all I could say was ‘oh my f…. god’.
Deth Crux: They must be dark crows announcing the apocalypse or flirting with the occult, I am not sure, but the lugubrious tone of the singer belling over their blend of death-black-doom metal could have been perfect for the opening of a black mass or a Satanist celebration. This was certainly their intention and since they played with an antic candlestick on the keyboard, the band knew out to build the most gothic and anguishing ambiance.
Death Hymn Number 9: These zombies play a possessed psychedelic blues led by their devilish singer Paul’e’wog who never stops gesticulating and bouncing. The whole set is an exorcism of the ghosts of rock and roll with violent assaults, an insane tempo and a forever-increasing mad violence. Speed, rage, chaos, excess and rawness are their territory, while their guitarist sits on a chair during the entire time of the set, but regularly falls down as if he was carried away by the insane flow of their speedy punk boogie rock ‘n’ roll.
Cheap Tissue: They look like the British invasion on speed, and sound like a CBGB early wave of punk. They play fast and their punk pop sound will make you bounce all night-long. Their set is filled with high energy and a repetition of fuzzy guitar assaults while their screamed harmonies combine the rawness of an early punk band like the Stooges and the sweetness of a girl group.