BobVillain, Foie Gras, Brass Box, And Thief At The Echo, Monday June 24th 2019
The Echo had one of his dark nights on Monday evening, and I am not only talking about the dim lights which were kept to a minimum all-night-long in order to match the sound experience. LA goth band Brass Box had another residency night, but three other bands completed the show with a spectrum of shades and somber territories.
BobVillain was probably one of the most intriguing performers I had seen for a long time. Part Freddy Krueger, part Edward Scissorhands, part scarecrow, he was playing guitar in the dark with long branches extension attached to his fingers, the face hidden behind shades and a hat while moaning with a dark croon over electro distortion and sparse beats. You could not see much of him but the long shadow he was casting on stage was all about mystery and creepy surroundings. Accompanied by tapes, the sound was slow and tenebrous, almost building a minimalist vampire castle ambiance, while slowly moving his tree fingers along the guitar strings, like a long agony in a horror movie, or a seducing nightmare. The set became a bit more upbeat but was still interpreted with the same gloomy wail, while he even did a spectacular and stormy cover of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Video Games’ which fitted very well his baroque and romantic sonic universe.
Foie Gras, a duo from San Francisco, captivated the audience with a passionate set and plenty of yearning in the attitude and breathy voice of the chanteuse. Self-labeled ‘dronescapist’, their interesting and vibrating soundscapes were marrying a classic beauty with a more modern electronic approach, as their bio mentions Patsy Cline and Brian Eno. The ambiance stayed obscure, the moaning remained mysterious over melodious drones, while organ synths were sometimes adding an almost religious layer to their experimental electro-folk music. They stayed in rich-red darkness for most of the set, only receiving foggy rays of light during their last song, shifting the mystery but keeping the ambiance toward melancholy, heartache, seduction and more
It was Brass Box’s residency and they continued the night with a fuzz-filled set oscillating between goth and dreamy shoegaze, between doom and gloom. Founded by Ammo Bankoff (Tête, Black Flamingo) and Neil Popkin (War Tapes, Rituals), this new musical adventure was led by Ammo Bankoff’s sweet vocals and layered by Matt Bennett on guitar and Pablo Amador on drums, building a full sound, both melodic and melancholic, which earned them comparisons with My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins. Surrounded by a light garland of red roses, their set had the echo of a foggy night during a full moon, while the lush and loud music was swelling into complex compositions, consistently aiming to a beautiful and tempestuous dream.
With a bright red light right on the face, the singer of the last band, Thief, gave a ferocious set filled with anxious beats and electronic deformity. It was haunted, with long drone sounds sinking either into despair or dancefloors. More experimental than the rest of the bands of the night, they carried the gothic tone of the night past midnight with their intriguing collages. As the first performer BobVillain put it, it was an incredible night of sonic depression.