Babylon, Walter, Prettiest Eyes, Mind Meld At The Echo, Friday, July 29th 2016
Four numbers for a Friday evening, that was the deal for another night at the Echo, and a series of very-guitar-oriented bands, playing heavy riffs throughout the night, in other words, a good way to start the weekend.
Babylon played first with a heavy psychedelia born in the 70’s and I almost heard bits of Zeppelin or Hendrix in their loud rock & roll all impregnated by proto-metal. It was as if the quintet was playing an extended version of fuzzy guitars from the magical rock & roll years, with sludgy heavy parts, stretching into long guitar solos and rocking out through decades of stoned distortion. There was a surprising harmonica during a new song, and long hair whipping the fuzz as singer Gabriel Flores was screaming ‘Freedom’. Now, what about Babylon? Was that a wish to get banned à la Bad Brains? There certainly was a furious and angry rawness in all this, which was coating a sweet nostalgia.
The next band, Walter, had also huge guitar solos although their sound was quite different. The classic trio guitar-bass-drum had a sort of doom-heavy sound with loud and deep bass, turning all poppy with quieter moments and light vocals. It was a bit strange, part heavy on their numerous pedals, part light and strident with unexpected and always changing soundscapes. They suddenly could go on a sort of madness, installing a distorted chaos with a speed frenzy of super technical crunchy guitar solos, then they could be almost quiet the next minute, before launching a part with metal-like sludgy bass-drum. It was inventive and crazy in a good way. The trio, made of Patrick Nolan, Misha Lindes, and Ross Chait who come from different LA projects (Meatbodies, SadGirl, Ducktails) brings up its powerful sound with abrasive outbursts and subtle pop meets erosive classic rock.
I had already seen Prettiest Eyes at one of these mini festivals (FOMO 2016) earlier this year, and they had left quite an impression on everyone with their bold and distorted fuzz. And they did it again last night, starting a mini riot with the aggression of punk, the oddity of electronic noise, combined with a sexy and menacing cowboy dance, charging from every stage corner. It was deafening and a bit crazy, wild and fun, with a loudness jumping at your face like a zombie attack, or hypnotizing the audience with an almost mechanical precision. They brought a smell of danger by their constant moves, bassist Marco even moshed with the audience, while drummer Pachy didn’t stop screaming with echoing vocals over Paco’s electronic buzzing weirdness. Their fast-paced and throbbing music unleashed some sweaty madness, so that people got loose and inevitably forced me to move to the side of the stage.
Another trio with a a wild energy closed the night, Mind Meld played some fast-aggressive upbeat psych pop rock, but you could certainly not ignore their melodies, interpreted through a loud fury that would have made Ty Segall proud. They were that energetic, but very poppy at the same time, experimenting with heavy and foggy riffs to better reveal their sweet core. I even had a hard time taking good pics of them as their explosive and restless set combined with blinding flashing yellow lights caught me moving back and forth around the stage, but they were faster than lightning and louder than thunder. People were cheering at their arm wheels, empowering psychedelic swirls of distortions, and guitar-versus-amps battles… Mind Meld recorded a debut ‘You’re Not Free’ 7″ which sold out almost immediately, and that speaks volume. I realized very soon I had seen them before, opening for Kim the Created’s residency at the Echo last year, but this time they were headlining, proving they surely hadn’t slowed down their catchy garage-psych rock. Before we could breathe, they were out of here, before coming back for a one-song encore, way past midnight.