The Shrine’s Record Release Party At The Echo, Thursday December 7th 2017
The Shrine had a release party at the Echo on Thursday night and they simply destroyed the small venue, ripping what was left of the night after Cheap Tissue and Feels, whose performances I unfortunately missed, because I was attending another event that same night. I don’t know where the Shrine comes from – I know they are from Venice beach – but their sound is not your too-common-poppy-psych-surf-rock type we are used to in LA, they exude loudness and heavy guitar riffs, that they overuse as if they were a hard rock arena band… and do they dare these guitar solos! I swear some of them may have gone on for at least 15 minutes!
I had already seen them this summer during the Dirty Penny Fest festival at the same venue, and they put the Echoplex fire, metaphorically and literally, as their bassist Courtland Murphy had spit fire after jumping in the middle of the crowd, leaving everyone dumbfounded and scared. It’s probably not a good idea to mention fire right now in California, so they modestly stayed with the metaphor, although there is nothing ‘modest’ about the Shrine’s music.
Although their sound only came from three people, it was capturing and rapturing everyone’s mind with urgency and fun inside the small club, punk rockers and metal heads, all united inside a collective scream embodied by songs like ‘Destroy Us’! With so few people but big effects, they managed to bring the violence of punk hardcore with the theatricality of metal in the middle of heavy riffed hard rock, with Josh Landau’s guitar virtuosity balanced by Murphy’s badass attitude on bass and Jeff Murray’s thunder drumming. The music roared and exploded at our faces like a 70s rock revival or the good old times of 80s hair metal, and when they seemed to go all Black Flag on us, their music went into a Black Sabbath mode with more rocking guitars than you can imagine… Talking about Black Flag, Keith Morris, who was DJing the night, is the guest singer/screamer on their song ‘Never More Than Now’, the new single which was also the subject of the night celebration.
Their release party was a road trip, a disheveled one, with aggression and rebellion, with people moshing and pushing, while a lot of kids so fucked up that couldn’t even pick up what they had dropped on the floor. And can I mention their female bassist one more time? Tall, thin, all black leather and sweaty hair, she was the epitome of wild hard rock, spitting water (not fire this time) on the crowd before each song, moving around with a very manly demeanor, straight from some apocalyptic movie and looking like a survivor in a world that went to hell. Badass seemed an understatement to qualify her, although we were told she was ‘from the dirty South’.
Formed in 2008 in Venice Beach, the Shrine’s heavy riffed guitar assaults are equally fit for wolves and warrior skateboarders, and the merchandize on this Eliminator page will give you the tone: beside the new single, there are some Dogtown Skateboards and other Obey-approved items. I know that the Black Flag meets Black Sabbath thing had been done for other bands before, but there was also something playful and very theatrical in the Shrine’s performance, and in the middle of their endless guitar solos and photo op poses, I could have imagined them playing at the front of this truck in the last Mad Max movie: that was how over the top they were.