Lauren Ruth Ward With Liv Slingerland And Yip Yops At The Echo, Monday January 8th 2018
Lauren Ruth Ward’s residency has started at the Echo, and the event promises to be the hot show in town all January-long. She sang in front of a good crowd on Monday night, all ravished by her fierce charms.
Before Lauren, Liv Slingerland played an upbeat set of pop rock songs with a few occasional bluesy detours, whereas her strong and commanding voice was soaring above the music. She was definitively in charge during her short set, and despite an energetic style, she was executing her songs with charm and bright hooks. Being a past winner of the San Jose Jazz Youth Blues Band Competition, you could recognize here and there a classic inspiration, while her tunes sounded poppy enough to become sing along anthems. She demonstrated a stage assurance and maturity beyond her young age (she is just 23 years old) while her emotional tone expressed a certain kind of anxiety despite the brightness of the music. This culminated in angst with her last song ‘Come Back To Me’, a song with an interesting cinematic bluesy guitar chorus. And Liv effectively came back to us a bit later, since she is also Lauren Ruth Ward’s guitarist.
The young members of Yip Yops were next and I first should say that these kids know how to dress up and have a real sense of spectacle. After an electro-static introduction performed by an orange jumpsuit Dogman, they played a high-energy set of synth-guitar-driven music, going quite eclectic, but partly inspired by 80s dancefloors with some punk experimental parts. But should I first mention these shinny, flashy outfits they were wearing? Those were amazing, and frontman Ison Van Winkle was shining like a golden sun in the middle of the stage, while his theatrical antics moving along their infectious dance grooves were very entertaining. Their sound was dominated by Ison’s mature baritone, which was as visible as his radiant gold jumpsuit, and it’s not surprising that his dramatic deep tone already got him the greatest comparisons you can hope for such a young band, from INXS’ Michael Hutchence to Jim Morrison. Meanwhile, the more discreet Mari, standing behind her keyboards, was providing celestial backup vocals and was dancing like a young Régine Chassagne. ‘This is a happy song for sad people’ said Ison Van Winkle at one point of the set, while their electrifying brand of electro pop made people anything but sad. Yip Yops’ music remained interesting all set long, and their punk-dance electronica, while escaping simple description, even turned into a mad, furious and loud rock dance party toward the end of the set. Since they are from the Coachella valley – they have already played the festival – there are a lot of chances they may see their moniker higher in this famous poster in the future.
Lauren Ruth Ward has a Monday residency at the Echo all January long and I know a few people who will make their way to the front row each single Monday night. The songstress combines everything you would expect from a live performer, first she is not only good looking but incredibly charming, then her songs are catchy and interesting and she performs them with a voice carrying plenty of emotions while moving with dynamism and a rare grace that makes everyone fall in love. Yes, it’s difficult to resist to Lauren Ruth Ward, especially when her voice vibrates and breaks a little bit like a new version of Fiona Apple. She plays with your emotions while dancing like a long haired siren whirlwind, and suddenly leans over you while stretching her arm as if she was falling into the bottom of her song. There was a real sweetness in her style, while she was channeling a few Courtney Barnett tonalities, she was always looking as sexy as hell and even got a bit funkier with a Stevie Wonder cover, ‘Sir Duke’. As she was constantly dancing, smiling and flirting with the crowd, I guarantee you that the month of January is gonna stay very hot at the Echo.
Be Good (SLUGS cover)
Did I offend You?
Make Love To Myself
Sir Duke (Stevie Wonder cover)