The Bomb, The Dead Ships, Moon Honey, SWIMM At The Echoplex, Monday June 5th 2017
Moon Honey has started a Monday residency at the Echoplex/Echo, and based on what I have witnessed last night, they are trying to sell us a dream, a beautiful colorful and cloudy dream coming straight from a musical fairy tale,… and who isn’t in need of a dream these days? That’s why I may go back to see them during this month of June.
As it is the case so often, I stayed up late on a week night, ending up seeing three other bands beside Moon Honey, and it all started with the Bomb, a dynamic band fronted by the ferocious Rachel Fannan. It was an aggressive set filled with guitar distortion, reverb in the vocals and guitar duels between Rachel and her bassist Quincy Larsen, while the music was displaying certain shades of Black Sabbath at times, or some inspiration from the 70s guitar heroes, combined with howls going way bigger than you would expect from young women… Oh I hate this kind of pre-judgmental idea anyway, the two women were playing combatively, legs apart, while Dash Hutton’s powerful drumming helped them slay the place. Their set culminated with a real punk energy cheered by the crowd. The Bomb is a true power trio, but what else could you expect with a moniker like theirs?
The Dead Ships were next, and if I have seen them a few times before, I was still amazed by the amount of energy they unleashed in their pop rock hooky tunes and the love they received from the crowd. For the most part, it was an explosive set, completely guitar driven with ferocious chunks of their melodious garage rock, while all their songs were engaging people to move and dance, tap their feet very hard and bang their head even harder… just ask the guy next to me who was dancing his heart out and who had apparently played some role in one of The Dead Ships’ videos. Named best bands of 2016 by the LA Weekly, the Dead Ships have already played Coachella, so nobody should have been surprised by their big-arena sound played in a small club.
Moon Honey had brought a giant harp, an organ, lots of strings and some lasers on stage, so they surely want to have a very memorable residency. Dancing below suspended cotton clouds and foam planets, frontwoman Jessica Ramsey was wearing a 50s movie star gold lame dress with long fringed white glove, and when she was pushing these vibrating power-opera-house high-octave howls, she looked and sounded like a goddess or someone escaped from a surreal vision. Honey Moon is obviously a band with a very well-crafted aesthetic, which allows the listener to immediately infiltrate their world of wonder. The music was intense, multi-influenced, abruptly shifting from dreamy-freaky pop to some heavy hitting parts or glam rock bravado guitar by Andrew Martin, but always haunted by Jessica Ramsey’s vocal prowess. It was as if they were trying to reinvent dream pop with many detours above their cotton clouds, with an inventive and playful beauty, like the progeny of the Flaming Lips and Tiny Tim, fronted by a Disney princess with a moon tiara and Bjork’s orange cotton hair. Everyone, including me, wanted more of their dream.
SWIMM was the last band of the night, and even though I have seen them before, the music still felt elusive to a simple and accurate description, since it was going from poignant wobbling R&B keys to steamy dance floors, from clap-along folksy rock – they even brought an harmonica for one song – to psychedelic ethereal indie rock as if Prince was covering Tame Impala. One song stretched to some long road trip, reminiscent to a War on Drugs tune, but overall the music was never far away from a sexy R&B vibe, and this was mostly due to frontman Chris Hess’s undeniable sex appeal and his girlie cropped top. A new crowd of young and beautiful girls had suddenly gathered around the stage, and the Echoplex had really been so hot.