Shannon Lay, The Pesos, Gun Outfit And Warm Drag, At The Echo, Tuesday January 2nd 2018
The FOMO days are upon us, the Echo has a week of free shows and I did attend last night first event with Shannon Lay, The Pesos, Gun Outfit and Warm Drag.
Who would have thought that the orange-haired punk rocker, who usually plays some head banging guitar with her band Feels, can also sit for an acoustic set of songs bringing a blend of melancholia and serenity? This is certainly what she did, alone on stage with her remarkably bright and beautiful voice in front of two mics, which gave a cathedral effect to her vocals. Everyone was watching and listening with great respect, as she played songs from her new solo album ‘Living Water’ and a song from Thee Oh Sees, which she managed to make sound like a Leonard Cohen type of hymn, with minimal fuzz pedal effect at the end. Her acoustic style, her dynamic finger picking accompanied by her pure vocals, the slow and striped down melodies were all at times reminiscent of singers like Angel Olsen or Cat Power, except that Olsen has never played in a ferocious punk band. It’s always an interesting dichotomy when punk musicians turn into this angelic ‘sad’ side, although sad is very simplistic to qualify this type of music, she brought a beautiful range of emotions with a vibrato in her voice, which was even more interesting than her vaporous melodies.
I had never heard of The Pesos, but they seemed to have a good following as the Echo got packed at that time. If their songs were first slow-paced and a bit on the sleepy side, there was something captivating about them, may be it was the heartfelt melodies, may be it was their lead singer’s charisma, or a combination of both. When he sings his quirky brand of psych-pop via Lollipop records, Yan Pessino can effectively be fun to watch. Between the fur hat he was wearing, some florescent tape he put on his eyebrows and lips, and a jump in the crowd among a few other stage antics, he was entertaining while the music, some upbeat surf pop sung with downer and slightly out of tune vocals, was a treat. Their set had something odd and seducing at the same time, Pessino looked like a Hedi Slimane Lollipop model playing another odd Ariel Pink blend.
Gun Outfit were more classical in their approach, they were a large band with a love for Americana and rootsy instruments. One of them was barely standing on stage but was using all kinds of intriguing home-made rural-looking string instruments, while the two singers Dylan Sharp and Carrie Keith, were alternating in a classic boy-girl exchange. They have released an album entitled ‘Out of Range’ at the end of last year, and their set had shades of the Grateful Dead or folksy Americana, Kurt Vile-style, as they played a mix of slow and fast songs exploring western roads, bluesy-country sides while keeping an eye on the openness of the west. They brought a breath of the Southwest, and if I hadn’t been read that they are based in Los Angeles, I would have thought their twang was coming right from Texas.
Warm Drag was another interesting surprise of the night, a fuzzed-out electronica duo with Paul Quattrone (Chk Chk Chk and Thee Oh Sees) driving an infernal machine freaking out in repeat, while Vashti Windish (Golden Triangle) was using the mic as if it was she was a stripper around her pole dance. She had the slow delivery of a seductress, an haunting voice habiting a mysterious darkness, and the result did remind me about another indie band I used to see a lot called VUM, although there definitively was a more pronounced degree of sexiness in Warm Drag’s experimental electronica. The songs may have become more aggressive toward the end but she never stopped making her sexy dance around the mic stand, while the loud and very layered sound was totally impressive considering the fact that Quattrone was alone on stage for producing this cacophonic dance floor of sampling and distortion. It was difficult to detach your eyes from Vashti Windish’s visceral moves around the mic, as she rocked through the night as if she was trapped in a sinister stripped club.