The Birth Defects With Cat Scan, Zig Zags At The Echo, Wednesday January 31st 2018
On Wednesday night, the Birth Defects had a party at the Echo to celebrate their recently released Ty Segall-produced ‘Everything Is Fine’ LP, and the night was pure rock ‘n’ roll fun.
Before them, Cat Scan gave us one of them spiky performances with their usual abrupt accelerations and puzzling punk songs. I have seen the trio a few times but their sets are always intriguing with bouncing and dissonant songs filled with surfy guitars and close-to-hardcore riffs. Although they sometimes exchange their instruments, their always upbeat and dynamic sets are led by guitarist David Evanko and bassist Quincy Larsen, whose high-pitched and scary screams punctuate the frenetic guitar with cuteness. Both of them shared the vocals for their devilish and inventive songs, and despite the pitch dark atmosphere and the red lights during their set, you could see smiles glowing on every face.
The next band Zig Zags could have woken up the dead with a high energy speed metal, determined to blow up the roof and your eardrums. The trio, made of Jed Maheu on guitar, Patrick McCarthy on bass, and Bobby Martin on drums, were very loud and as raw as a piece of the Stooges history – as a matter of fact they have recorded a Betty Davis cover with Iggy Pop a few years ago! They were mutants from another planet of rock, punk-metal hybrids playing like a Mastodon in a 10,000-seat arena inside the tiny Echo, and they even had a song called ‘Punk Fucking Metal’. Their music had the energy of thousands guitars at the same time, with big hooks and a debauchery of sonic assaults. If you want excess, listen to Zig Zags, they won’t disappoint you, they have been described as the band which can connect Black Sabbath, Black Flag and Motörhead in a single riff, and the rock spirit fueling each one of these mad solo guitars can’t certainly not deny this bold affirmation. The best proof of this is that their set let me completely exhausted but happy.
But it was the Birth Defects party, and they certainly delivered, with a monster sound and riffs to reach the sky, at least this could have been anyone’s impression, every time that bassist Philip Nielsen was holding his bass to the roof, and by that I mean every 5 minutes, may be? With the Birth Defects, you have bigger-than-life characters, especially embodied by Nielsen and lead singer/guitarist, Jason Finazzo who looks like the perfect reincarnation of a hard rock titan.
Their show and music was intense and a pure dose of heavy rock, with massive riffs and Finazzo’s intense and gravelly yells, and the result could have been raw enough to make you think about an entire pool of hardcore-garage rock bands, but abrasive enough to scrap the paint from the walls.
The hardcore bullet ‘YOLF’ was a guitar virtuoso hardcore number with the wailing promise ‘You’ll never die’, while a few songs later Finazzo screamed ‘I Should Be Dead’, just after a few distorted guitar assaults,… and honestly, you didn’t need anything else to understand what the Birth Defects were about. With the help of Anthony Drinkwater on drums and guitarist Tim Dawson, they trashed the place with their bastard blend of heavy punk-rock, plenty of distortion, noise and a lot of fun. ‘Dyelisium’ was raw and distorted with guitar riffs and rhythmic bouncing back over Finazzo’s beast metal yells while the band moved restlessly from start to finish. There was a real hardcore urgency in every song, and a rewarding one, with an abundance of dopamine-launching riffs.
They ended up the show with older songs like ‘Bad Shit and ‘Party Suicide’, from their first album ‘First 8 Mistakes’, and if every one of their song titles sounded like a painful emotion, echoing the title of their new album, the live experience was nothing but fun time and a series of ecstasy machine gun built to make you drunk head bang till the end of the night,
I Should Be Dead