The Molochs, Traps PS And 100 Flowers At The Echo, Monday January 16th 2017
The young upcoming band the Molochs has a residency at the Echo, during the entire month of January, and on Monday, two interesting underground punk bands were opening the night.
First, Traps PS could only surprise you with an extreme and dissonant execution of their brand of punk. They produced an abrasive and noisy sound, all hurling vocals and all squeaking and grinding guitars, curiously staying captivating till the end. It may have sounded way too experimental for a Monday night, but the crowd was following each of their curious dissonant detour and saw-buzz-like compositions. They were a genre apart, beyond punk, regurgitating all the punk rock debris of a decade, fueled with energetic and shattering outbursts. The whole set was a complete assault to the eardrums, some projectile-like guerilla music on a punk war trail.
100 Flowers (previously known as THE URINALS) put so much energy in their set, that their guitars could go as fast as Bad Brains’, and the whole set boomed with a very controlled power violence, thanks to John Talley-Jones’ powerful vocals and aggressive bass, Kevin Barrett’s dynamic drumming and Kjehl Johansen’s complex guitar playing. They could have a hardcore ferocity, or some pure frenetic madness during a few of their bullet tunes, whereas their longer inventive songs were trending toward a pop sensibility with a 80’s UK post-punk inspiration. They surely had mad killing bass lines, oblique and unique, which reminded me what Mike Watt does so well, while incorporating noise and experimentation in their instrumentals, going all over the place with a rare precision, always driven by the same vitality and urgency. The Urinals have a long history in the Southern California punk scene, and unsurprisingly, the band is said to have influenced the Minutemen (Watt’s band), whereas they have appeared with famous bands such as the Go-Go’s and Black Flag.
Then it was the Molochs’ time to shine, and the large ensemble turned to be the poppiest band of the night, in a very good way since their songs were extremely catchy and toe-tapping at the first listen. There were many of them on stage, six musicians producing a very layered and psychedelic blend of guitars, tambourine and organ, something surely destined to make us dream once again about a beloved 60’s psychedelia, a busy buoyant assemblage wrapped around Lucas Fitzsimons’ monochords and nasal vocals, with the Velvet Underground not too far away at any moment. Many songs like ‘No More Cryin’ or ‘I Don’t Love You’ certainly evoked 60’s garage rock in all its upbeat glory, blossoming like a resurrection of the Byrds or any other 60’s bands, knowing that Syd Barrett or even the Rolling Stones (certainly their early recordings) have been cited in reviews. That said, it certainly doesn’t come as a surprise that the title of their new album is ‘America’s Velvet Glory’… although they could have been equal part American and English, and the fact that Fitzsimons looked a bit like Liam Gallagher makes the whole thing even funnier. I don’t know how many times you can reinvent the 60’s or the Velvet Underground? Ask the Brian Jonestown Massacre! Or better, ask the crowd that was around me, I could tell that everyone was having an excellent time, dancing and starting moshing like a good old Echo crowd… it was actually very easy to enjoy all their songs, each one was a little gem revealing a hooky melody. Probably the biggest strength of the Molochs lies in their ability to reinvent the 60’s without even writing one song that sounds like a cliché.