Dirty Penni Fest 3 At The Echo/Echoplex, Sunday July 1st 2018
Every year, at the beginning of the summer, we have Dirty Penni Fest, a collaboration between Dirty Laundry TV and Penniback Records, and a celebration of Los Angeles’ buoyant music scene,… its third edition on Sunday was a blast. With three stages, at the Echo, Echoplex, on the outside patio, and a total of 29 bands playing from 2 pm to midnight, the event obviously felt overwhelming for someone like me who has a FOMO obsession, but the kids didn’t care and moshed, surf crowded, stage dived their heart out for long hours.
Even though I was not able to catch everyone (and how could I have?) you have to check out this line up: Birote, Cotton Ships, Whadja Dew, Easter Teeth, The Exbats, Plumber, Big Fun, Kuromi, The Crudes, Sabrina Is Not In This Chat, Super Lunch, Indigo State, Clit Kat, Twin Tribes, Matter Room, Vice Cooler, Slay Squad, Espresso, Ariel View, Junkie, Katzu Oso, Potty Mouth, Mike Watt & The Jom And Terry Show, The Side Eyes, Feels, Frankie & The Witch Fingers, Mt. Eddy, Sadgirl and No Age were playing Dirty Penni Fest 3, and the whole afternoon/evening felt like one big mosh pit.
Despite a great diversity of bands, the young crowd was there to have fun and reacted with the same crazy energy whatever the band was playing, although the patio bands had a tendency to play some batshit crazy punk music. Over there, the place is so narrow that the scene looked even wilder, with a colorful bunch of young kids crowd surfing to the small stage with such energy that the bands and the audience looked like one same giant wave, spraying beer from their half empty beer cans, for the own good of the sponsor, Pabst Blue Ribbon .
Despite the abundance of bands, the mini festival is always a good opportunity to check out new groups before they blow up. Just to cite one example, Starcrawler played Dirty Penni Fest last year, and look where they are now, playing festivals in Europe, and even opening for the Foo Fighters in London last month! However, it’s somewhat difficult for me to decide whose bands were the highlights of the day, as I am far from having able to catch every act playing but for what it is worth, I would say that Mt. Eddy and Sadgirl stole all the young girls’ hearts.
But let’s recap this crazy day… Potty Mouth, an all-girl band rocked the Echoplex with bold riffs, some real punch and a sporty attitude. These girls seemed fearless and as oblivious as a reincarnation of a ’80-90s girl-power group or even the Go-Go’s progeny…. And talking about the Go-Go’s, The Side Eyes, fronted by the almighty Astrid McDonald (she is the daughter of Redd Kross frontman Jeff McDonald and the Go-Go’s Charlotte Caffey) put the Echoplex upside down, with a furious set and repetitive punk hardcore assaults (still very charming) which could have made Black Flag proud. Rock progeny was well represented with the familiar psych-punk outfit Feels, fronted by the great Laena Geronimo (she is the daughter of Devo’s Alan Myers) installing another set of powerful and rebellious music, bifurcating between melodic ballads and a raw wall of sound ravaging the place with grace… and since I am seeing a theme now, the last (and not least) famous progeny I want to mention is Jakob Danger Armstrong, Mt. Eddy’s frontman and yes, Green Day’s own progeny. He played a set of pop punk anthems, carried away by a forest of female arms trying to reach him. May be the ability to write catchy choruses is written in your DNA, but at only 19, Jakob showed a rare stage confidence, with a band which could have borrowed something from Parquet Courts, the Vaccines, the Regrettes and even Swimmers, the band of Jakob’s brother’s. When he had a problem with his guitar, he joked by saying ‘I’m an idiot’, which may or may not have been an allusion to his famous father, but started to play Vampire Weekend’s ‘A-Punk’ for some reason… He also did a sloppy cover of the Cure (they have a song called ‘I Luv Robert Smith’) and the rest was just a love fest, with Jakob diving among the adoring fans in a very rockstar crowd surfing move.
I had barely had the time to check any band playing on the patio, but The Exbats looked like a crazy bunch with pop harmonies, while Big Fun didn’t need more explanation than their moniker (with blue hair and a lot of skin in the mix). Kuromi was carrying the crowd at the sound of their aggressive beats, looking like Manga female superheroes. I caught the end of Sabrina Is Not In This Chat, but I know these girls are always good, and I also know that Easter Teeth, Indigo State, and especially the satanic girls of Clit Kat started a riot, but I would have needed more time or a few clones of myself to cover everything.
Inside the Echo, I also got a glimpse of hip hop aggressive collective Slay Squad and their propelling multi-voices flow, Espresso made all the cute girls with shirts crowd surf, and the ambiance barely cooled down at the sound of Ariel View’s gentle pop.
If the fest was young, Mike Watt and one of his several incarnations (this time, it was Mike Watt & The Jom And Terry Show) was returning from last year with the same weirdness, free style dissonance and apparent punk improvisations. As usual, they were wild and playing fast, as if they were running for their life in the middle of the afternoon. Headliners duo No Age (Randy Randall and Dean Allen Spunt) also looked like the veterans of the night, with an amped noisy set, and cuts of their new album, ‘Snares Like A Haircut’, released this year on Drag City. Their simple but punk textures, oscillating between noise and art rock, closed the punk fest with a loud guitar-drum combo, barely cooler than Metz and more accessible than Sonic Youth.
Beside Mt. Eddy, who was a big success among the young crowd, the inimitable style of Frankie & the Witch Fingers started to melt the walls of the Echoplex with his speedy retro fun guitar work…you can always count of them to put a psychedelic spell on the audience with Dylan Sizemore’s repetitive tremors and the euphoric jitter that follows. But Sadgirl may have been the true star of the night, with a female crowd going crazy for guitarist/vocalist Misha Lindes’ good looks… yes, I saw a bra landing on stage and he graciously distributed the red roses attached to his mic to the front row girls. But everyone was there for their music, a romantic blend of sexy surf-rock guitar, emotional ‘60s British invasion, doo-wop and punk accelerations. Once again, the Echoplex was one big heartbroken sing-along over timeless tunes and it was a damn beautiful thing.