Echo Park Rising, Day 2, Friday August 18th 2017
Friday night was another full evening at Echo Park Rising, where I decided to concentrate on the Echo/Echoplex… since the line up was truly great over there!
Spencer Robinson and the Wolf Spiders sounded like an interesting-enough moniker to check the band out at the Echo, and they played a muscular rocking set with a dark and dramatic country western vibe. Their songs, said to be ‘about drinking and dying’, may reveal everything you need to know about their favorite themes. The relatively new band includes members of the Lord of Altamont, Superbees, The Richmont Sluts and Cheap Tissues and there was definitively something about them which wanted to be heroic and memorable.
Downstairs, at the Echoplex, Cones played a sophisticated fresh pop, layered with a lot of keys and the frontman, with his curly hair looked like a 70s rock star. Upstairs, Cat Scan did an exercise in punk dissonance and originality… you won’t be able to find much on the web about them, which tends to make them look even more mysterious, but there was a fire burning in the middle of this quartet, with a Cramps vibe and some punch-in-the-guts abrupt chord changes.
If you missed The Schizophonics, which followed on the same stage, you certainly missed an amazing performance, but the Schizophonics are always amazing, I have seen them a few times, and they are the essence of rock ‘n’ roll, they breathe rock ‘n’ roll through every pore of their forever-inspiring-manic-energetic performance and they do it with such a wide-eyes approach! These are the eyes of a child in love with the idea of that rock ‘n’ roll means freedom, grace and salvation… and that frontman? He moves (although there is no correct word to describe his out of control stage antics) like James Brown meets the Stooges escaping a crack-house house on fire.
Nobody can follow such an act, but that was the difficult task of C.G. Roxanne and the Nightmares, who played a tight hard rocking sweating set, with giant hooks and a tough attitude. And talking about tight, that was also the case of Cheap Tissue, although they seemed to have a much more aggressive attitude, combined with muscle-assault guitars. They were forming a line of singers with guitars and there was something totally unapologetic about their high-energy set, bringing a sort of fight or flight feeling in the room.
At the Echoplex, Numb.er was a change of pace from all this punk energy, with more shoegaze and synth punk. They were dark and synth-heavy but their somber mood wave became far more aggressive toward the end, with even some krautrocky grooves.
Plague Vendor was next, and I have been a fan of them since their performance at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas. Their set was once again raucous, punk and frenetic, with a ferocious and unpredictable frontman Brandon Blaine looking for sweat and blood – Bloodsweat is also the title of their album. Their music, whipped by a vivid throbbing light and fueled by razor-like guitars, was enjoyable from start to finish, thanks to Blaine’s punk-hero antics and sick screamed vocals delivered with a manic enthusiasm. During this epic stage diving, he was spitting chaos as true punks can do.
Before I fled the scene, I checked out Jane at the Taix, an all-men band with a strong retro dance-scene vibe,… they were funky, disco, R&B, had a great energy combined with plenty of sensuality, thanks to their frontman singer, and they brought the crowd to its knees with some infectious grooves. I was tired but still fascinated by this unique festival, as the entire neighborhood was still noisy and booming with music coming from all corners of the streets, cafes, clubs and bookstores when I was walking on Sunset Boulevard past 1 am.