Brekfest With Skating Polly, Liily And Starcrawler, At The Echo, Tuesday January 15th 2019
Brekfest is happening every Tuesday night at the Echo this month and it’s a big deal. Last night’s secret headliner (the almighty Starcrawler) was announced on Jonesy’s Jukebox on 95.5 KLOS, and the show, presented by Flush Records, 95.5 KLOS, Mr. Shovel, and The Echo, is totally free. But it’s also a January residency for the band Liily, as they play every Tuesday, sandwiched between 2 other bands, which are as wild as they are,… if it is possible. The threesome of last night, Skating Polly, Liily and Starcrawler, were obviously bands which don’t believe that staying still on stage is an option.
Moody, with plenty of ferocious outbursts following tender and melancholic moments, the trio Skating Polly was truly rebellious, with a large dose of riot grrrl and plenty of melodies drawing influences from many bands and a few angry chords from Nirvana. The two girls, Peyton Bighorse, and Kelli Mayo were sharing the vocals and the instruments (guitar and bass) while the music was filled by upbeat grunge power chords and some explosive drumming by Kurtis Mayo’s (Kelli’s brother). They looked as young as I remember (I had seen the band once before) and were as impetuous as ever, with plenty of leg kicking and a few feet on the neck of guitars. The crowd started moving at the sound of their riotous set, and soon it was chaos, on stage and off stage with a few quieter and poppier moments of girlie harmonies. Talking of pop, they have themselves baptized their sound (and guitar) ‘Ugly Pop’ and with the solid support of punk icon X’s Exene Cervenka (she is a friend and produced their sophomore album, Lost Wonderfuls) they have all the star power you can imagine. With thunder hooks, they rapidly rearranged the furniture, and this was especially true when drummer Kurtis Mayo switched to bass for a grand guitar-kicking ending.
I don’t know where the quintet Liily come from (although their bio let me know they are from the San Fernando Valley to the edges of the Inland Empire) but they are a wild bunch which immediately installed a fun atmosphere of pure panic. If their moniker suggests a timid flower, they couldn’t have been more in your face, with a buoyant approach and strangely discordant to menacing sounds escaping from their rebellious soundscapes. They played frenetic and high energy set with thunderous guitars and a punk flavor in their tempest as if they wanted to give a new name to alt-rock, blowing up a hard and loud sound with the anarchy flag floating high all-set long. Their first song almost gave me a Beastie-Boys-type-of-fun-chaos vibe, but no matter what, it was mayhem once again with people in the crowd moshing harder than ever. Altogether — singer Dylan Nash wearing an athletic yellow short and a wife beater, guitarists Sam De La Torre and Aaron Reeves, bassist Charlie Anastasis, and drummer Maxx Morando — they unleashed a wild energy that only youth can achieve, hitting hard, jumping hard, putting the place upside down with an anxious fever and a rocking fury. There was an insane tension in all their songs as if these five guys were unleashing years of frustration at once in one unique sonic outlet. It was a powerful set filled with urgency, plenty of emotions and influences from the greatest rock bands – Rage Against the Machine came to mind at times – although it was difficult to exactly pinpoint their many raging directions. Liily have a debut single ‘Toro’, out now on Flush Records, but I am certain we will hear from them very soon.
I have seen Starcrawler an impressive number of times, but they have gone a long way since I saw them for the first time. They have a new article in Rolling Stone for their Ryan-Adams-produced new song ‘Hollywood Ending’, just published 2 days ago, and they have just ended their first European tour. In other words, Starcrawler are local heroes and they are rising with true star power. As usual, they owned the stage thanks to Arrow de Wilde’s punk antics and Henri Cash’s ferocious guitar assaults, but I sometimes forget to mention there are actually 4 of them, as Austin Smith on drums and Tim Franco on bass complete the band for a sound resurrecting a raucous version of ’70s punk, glam, and chaos. The quartet played with their usual confidence, defending their territory as if their life depended on it, kicking people off stage, attacking with new riffs landing between T Rex, Dinosaur Jr, and if I dare to say, rockabilly, looking for a few poppy detours, ‘I Love LA’, without forgetting Arrow’s true love, ‘Black Sabbath. They were raw, catchy, unapologetic, while Arrow continued to freak-out, exorcise a few demons, fake masturbation a few times, do her unusual gymnastic with her Joey-Ramone long legs and arms while regurgitating blood and spitting water. ‘I am completely deaf’, screamed the young girl next to me, ‘but that’s all right!’ she added,… Starcrawler raced through their set with a DIY feather-thunderstorm ending and Arrow flying away through the white stuff, above the crowd.
It was a raucous show, from start to finish, with young bands that I wouldn’t mind seeing again and again, because they are fun to watch, interesting to shoot, but because they are young and still know about the true rebellious spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.