The Soft White Sixties With Guards At The Echo, Thursday January 18th 2018
On Thursday night, the Echo had quite an eclectic lineup, and after Veronica Bianqui (whose set I have already reviewed here), Guards from New York, and The Soft White Sixties from Los Angeles via San Francisco, successively took the stage, and it would be a shame to not mention them.
I was already a bit familiar with Guards, for having seen them before, as frontman Richie James Follin is Madeline Follin’s brother, whereas the brother and the sister also belong to other bands — either separately (Willowz) or together (Cults, Roxy) — which have played in LA in the past. Guards is a band which still believes in the power of guitar music and good pop melodies, and the music is power pop rock with Follin’s vocals surging through the fuzz of guitars layered with keys and drums. On Thursday night, they often had a climatic sound, offering victorious foot-tapping hooks and pleasant melodies, while their atmosphere oscillated between soothing and dreamy states. The happy bounce of ‘Don’t Wake the Dead’, combined with Follin’s falsetto even reminded me about a happy side of the Shins, while ‘Destroyer’ brought an unexpected dance-floor vibe. Guards played a combination of old and new songs, elegantly mixing a wide-eyed tone with an obvious determination.
I had already had the pleasure to see The Soft White Sixties before, and I could still visualize the amazing dancing moves of their frontman, months after. The band has a soulful spirit and a rocking sound combining multi-influences going from abrasive bluesy guitars (‘The Sky Isn’t Falling’) to some more R&B influenced tracks (‘The Overpass’), while their set abounded in clapping-along hooky choruses (‘Sorry To Say’, ‘Follow Me’, or ‘City Lights’). Singer Octavio Genera led the dance all night long with his restless and effortless sexy moves, and he easily demonstrated he is a natural frontman, gliding and moonwalking his way to the top, while announcing the release of their single ‘Brick by Brick’, a funky dancing floor song with the powerful chorus: ‘If you build a wall/we’re going to tear it down/brick by brick’. While melting some Spanish words toward the end, he explained that a portion of the sales will be donated to the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA), a local group that provides immigrant integration programs, legal services and educational programs. With their blend of infectious dance beats and soulful grooves, The Soft White Sixties can effortlessly conquer a crowd with a strong stage confidence, and songs that, even when they slow down a bit, never let you down.
I Know it’s You
Don’t Wake the Dead
Resolution of One
Setlist (The Soft White Sixties)
The Sky Isn’t Falling
Sorry To Say
Brick by Brick
Tell Me It’s Over
Don’t Lie to Me
Queen Of The Press Club
No1 Like U BB