The Paranoyds And Moon Honey At Levitt Pavilion, Thursday June 14th 2018
Two familiar bands were playing one of the first concerts of the season at Levitt Pavilion, The Paranoyds and Moon Honey. Since they are both favorites of Echo Park Rising and other Spaceland-related event, I had already seen both of them a certain number of times, but it was a good occasion to see them again, as they are two young bands fronted by pretty young women. However, their styles could not be more different, when the Paranoyds scream with a punk dissonance, Moon Honey is all glitter with Jessica Ramsey’s operatic vocalizations, when the Paranoyds accelerate with fury and abandon, Moon Honey have a psychedelic weirdness which seems to be built around a dream… The two bands may have taken different paths in LA’s diverse music scene but they still had something in common, a taste for unruly punk music and a very colorful vibe.
The Paranoyds moaned their raw garage rock songs like men with reminiscence of the riot grrrl scene, but without losing any of their good looks – bassist and vocalist Staz Lindes is actually one of Yves Saint Laurent’s new muses. They always kept a large dose of darkness beside their punk accelerations, with harmonies (between Staz and bassist/guitarist Lexi Funston) staying on the dissonant side… the first time I saw them I got a sort of Cramps meets Excene Cervenka vibe. They also often slowed down with harsh drum hitting and an authentic heaviness in the guitar-bass duo. This time, their keyboardist Laila Hashemi was not part of the show, but this didn’t stopped them to play their self-described ‘dong gaze’, whatever they mean by this, a dirty punk-surf-pop genre mixing a very girlie esthetic and the aggressiveness of the ‘70s punk scene. After being the opening act on DIIV’s North American tour a few years ago, The Paranoyds were at Coachella last year, which can’t be a bad sign.
Moon Honey played a rollercoaster-like set with a few new songs between their familiar ones. Jessica Ramsey was wearing a golden jumpsuit and had put a moon in the middle of her forehead, which was almost giving her gentle horns, and there were still a harp and keyboards on both sides of the stage, making a large ensemble of musicians. Their peculiar and colorful psychedelia was as unpredictable as usual, while Martin’s major guitar solos were roaring with an inventive virtuosity, either getting furious or floating in a complete dreamy state. Meanwhile, Jessica, who has always plenty of stage confidence, was walking and dancing like an eccentric goddess or a wide-eyed princess, with Bjork’s red hair and touch of free-spirited weirdness. They always give me the impression they want to blend dream pop with epic punk rock, or inject an elegant opera into glam rock, and they do it in a very creative and shiny way, dominated by Jessica Ramsey’s high-pitched arias and Andrew Martin’s explosive guitar work.
Levitt Pavilion has 50 free concerts all summer long, from June to September, and you can check out the schedule here.