Egrets On Ergot’s Record Release Party At Blank City Records, Friday November 3rd 2017
Underground music in Los Angeles is well alive, and the best proof of this was the scene at Blank City Records on Friday night, with an enthusiastic crowd celebrating Egrets on Ergot’s debut album, ‘Surfeit of Gemütlich’, produced by Paul Roessler (The Screamers, Nervous Gender, Nina Hagen Band) and released via the band’s new label Cleopatra Records. The whole place was advertised as an art installation with a dark psychedelic vibe — with the help of plenty of Aluminium foil and black drapes — and the show stretched till a late hour with 3 bands opening for the Echo Park new post punk heroes, leaving the place sweaty and steamy beyond belief.
Fucked Forever opened the show with a tough and wild sound and a frontgirl as ferocious as a tiger, while impersonating all our hardcore heroes. She was spitting full rage over chaotic noise and a renewed aggression at each one of their sonic battles. With a bold and revealing outfit, she and her bandmates were contortionists, with attacks on repeat and a fury fueling a punk mosh dance in the crowd. The quartet incarnated danger and horror, while her scream became more and more horrific as they pursued their train-crash-like sound, probably barfing all the horrors of our troubled times, ending on the floor and scrawling with more anger and throat-slicing-worthy sound. This was the scene and if there was more to come, this girl may have been the hardcore queen of the night.
Solo act HØUNDS brought his own darkness, as this one-man band wandered in the middle of the crowd like a free electron detached from its orbit, randomly moving as if he was driven by a chaotic and invisible force. The music was pure electronic fuzz, coming from electronic equipment attached around his waist, and with moments of terror and black hole movements, he continued his chaotic and bizarre dance for a little while, producing a deafening noise, toggling and falling in the crowd as if he was a one-man punk band.
The third band Bastidas! was a noisy bunch of Latino guys masked like Mexican wrestlers and playing a thick experimental Tropicalia. Since the amazing success of Chicano Batman, it’s amazing to hear surprising new music, emerging with a sound borrowing equally from psychedelia, punk and rock in Espanol. As their aggressive psy-tempo mixed with surf-y assaults were increasing in ferocity, they somehow reminded me early Café Tacuba, but their explosive set of dense music, led by a furious drumming and the singer’s nasal scream, was a steamy scene to witness in this small room
But more sweat was about to come with the performance of Egrets on Ergot, which played in front of a packed room,… and I am not even sure it was legal to have so many people in this place, but I won’t tell the fire marshal. Led by Adam Brooks, a passionate frontman who looked like the angular punk version of a young Brian Eno, the band’s sound was the most elusive thing ever, moody, aggressive and artsy, but escaping easy description. At the first song, their goth-punk-funk chaos took over the place and the audience, while the temperature dangerously rose to muggy hot. Brooks kept on injecting sax licks into the cacophony of rumbling drums and thundering guitars, when he was not delivering dark poetry at the top of everything he could climb on, from drumset to someone’s shoulders. Whether you call Egrets on Ergot’s music, artsy post punk or experimental industrial jazz, the entire thing sounded like a furious protest, a revolution of an entire nation in crisis playing in the broken backyard of legendary bands – Joy Division, The Birthday Party and Christian Death have been name-checked in reviews.
It was amazing to see this crowd totally mesmerized by the performance, whereas there was nothing there close to a melody or a classical sounding song, the audience was transported into another dimension, out of time and out of space, floating and moshing inside a sonic riot haunted by strident distortions and sinister vibrations. Although I couldn’t understand or comprehend any of the lyrics buried in this untamed and unbridled layers of instruments rebelling against each other, Brooks’ voice was certainly the main force emerging from their disconcerting and creepy noise, echoing like a lugubrious alarm, leading the dance inside the sticky place, exorcising dark powers and spiraling over a sound that could have given an immediate heart attack to anyone used to a radio-friendly sound.