Bloody Death Skull, The Fuzzy Crystals, Part Time At The Echo, Monday July 10th 2017
A Bloody Death Skull show is an adventure, they are a new age ukulele kind of band with an absurd obsession with accessories and useless percussion-like objects, so don’t expect to make sense of what’s happening on stage,… it’s as unpredictable as it’s insane, and you can be sure that there won’t be two similar nights during the month of July. The eclectic ensemble has currently a residency at the Echo, and on Monday night, two other bands opened for them: The Fuzzy Crystals and Part Time.
The Fuzzy Crystals were a large ensemble (they were seven on stage but I have read they can be up to10), producing thick layers of psychedelia with beautiful vocal harmonies and a large dose of atmospheric guitars. Now psychedelia is a large musical umbrella and a lot of bands can be qualified of psychedelic, and if the Fuzzy Crystals were sometimes (or most of the time?) inspired by the 70s, they also had some spaghetti western Morriconesque soundtrack-like compositions, followed by a unique fuzzy funky track, and their songs were so diverse that they would certainly escape any simple categorization. I could hear girl-boy harmonies or bold vocals reminiscent of bands from the 70s, from Fleetwood Mac to Jefferson Airplane, prog rock guitar solos and a touch of jazz influences mixed with atmospheric almost Radiohead-scapes, in default of finding a more original comparison. Nevertheless guitars were dominating the game with the addition of an omnipresent tambourine. The Fuzzy Crystals have released a captivating album entitled ‘Crystal Magic’ produced by Gus Seyffert who has also produced Beck, The Black Keys, and James Supercave.
Part Time had also drawn a large crowd, and their sort of post punk nostalgia, often synth-driven with monochord vocals was very well received by many people, who already knew the songs. The vibe was a bit Ariel Pink without his excessive crazy collages, mostly lo-fi and one their most poppy song even brought the Kinks in my mind! Their bassist player was going into some crazy and intricate solos and the layered result was part intriguing, part melodically familiar, part nostalgic. The crowd’s response was honestly impressive, especially during the parts that made the most use of the organ-synth while frontman David Loca took the highest falsetto of the night.
A performance by Bloody Death Skull, fronted by ukulele player Daiana Feuer, is as crazy as their moniker sounds, you don’t know if you should call the songs childish or punk (some of them are really short), you don’t know why this woman sitting on stage is playing with all these toys, accessories, brushes, cups… she barely makes any noise but she is very busy, putting a necklace around her mic, drawing a star with fluo tape on the stage, manipulating a crystal ball or arranging dolls and teddy bears along her stretched legs? Was it supposed to complete the show? I don’t know but it sure was some entertaining distraction. Meanwhile, Daiana and her eccentric clique, which included a trombonist with wings, played her fast or slow, short or sprawling songs with a nasal high-pitch child-like voice, a looseness in the delivery, a laid back attitude and plenty of humor. ‘I like to play when it’s really hot’… she said as the AC was visibly not functioning. The result is a mix of weirdness (more visual than sonic) with 60s-inspired melodies played through an exuberant swirl of fog and way too many things around to be described here. Daiana Feuer can go slow or fast while the trumpets are always resonating in the back, then she suddenly puts a King Kong gorilla mask on to play the longest and most psychedelic of her tunes. It’s playful unless you listen to the lyrics, and then everything tumbles into a world of murder ballads,… but I have only scratched the surface at this level, and since it’s often served with a doo-wop envy, it goes very well with the absurd surrealism they want to incarnate.