Echo Park Rising, Friday August 17th 2018
I am still trying to figure out how to ride Echo Park Rising smoothly and I realize that there’s no real method and no real answer! If I manage to see 40-50 bands during the entire festival, that will barely represent 10% of all the bands playing during the 4 days, and it sounds almost ridiculous! I also have a tendency to go with familiar names, whereas the festival should be the occasion to discover new bands. But how do you decide though, when there are 10 different choices happening at the same time? Random is the key, and bands should also be aware that their monikers are gonna play a big part in the decision, The HolyCuts, Cunts or even Jeff & The Jerks or Pussy Tuesday sounded good in a bad-and-dirty kind of way, but I don’t have 10 body doubles to dispatch, and I had no idea what many of these groups sounded like, as there was no time to do homework about 450 bands!
So, Friday was another evening/night at Echo Park Rising with plenty of choices, and the constant thought in the back of my mind that I was missing out something good, and not necessarily witnessing the highlights of the day. Should I have checked out more small venues? Should I have visited a few of these sauna-like sweaty places where the lighting is not so great? Writing about this event is always writing about what you haven’t seen, and for what’s worth, I saw some familiar bands, a few unknown ones, and i left the fest with a few regrets at the end of the day…
The Birth Defects – they played just after Spencer Robinson and the Wolf Spiders, but I arrived a bit too late for them – always rocked to the core, transgressing genres of hard rock, punk and beyond, and when it was still too early to rock this loud, this invincible quartet delivered their garage punk with a ferocious and invincible tone and their usual ballet of flying bass and guitars,
Kolars, who were one of the few bands I caught on the main stage, are always a charming duo, with Lauren Brown standing on her drums and jumping with a bottomless energy while guitarist Rob Kolar plays their desert-glam-disco songs. Inside the Echo and the Echoplex, an endless list of bands played in succession, and I could catch a glimpse of the heartfelt pop of the Molochs, the hip-hop disco dancefloors of LA Qoolside, the dreamy trippy sound of Drugdealer, taking a break to see Theresa Wayman of Warpaint on the outdoor stage: she played the delicate and intimate songs of her solo album ‘LoveLaws’ under the moniker TT… it was all about vibrating soundscapes and languid yearning ambiance… ‘Why can’t you be next to me?’ she repeated many times during a lonely and Portishead-ish song.
Hooveriii put the Echoplex on pure fire, with a brilliant and dynamic set led by an unusual saxophone-guitars combo. Their 15-minute-stretching songs were like the new child of Ty Segall and Oh Sees’ John Dwyer and naturally triggered a head trip filled with plenty of moshing-stage-diving-crowd-surfing,… you know a band is good when all you can think of is, when do I see these guys again? Current Joys were a crowd riot, especially among young females who started pushing and screaming like they were witnessing another British invasion… This should not come as a total surprise once you know that the band is fronted by Nick Rattigan, of the very popular Surf Curse, and if the music sounded less joyful and more cathartic than Surf Curse’s material, it was building a beautiful tension for a long time in order to better explode into new sonic heights, for the crowd surfer girls’ greatest joy… The atmosphere inside the Echoplex became so stuffy and so crowded, that I looked for a short breathe of fresh air outside, before re-plunging into hell’s fire with Twin Temple and their Satanic doo-wop act around midnight…
At the end of the day, what each band is looking for, is a few pics to show they were part of the uprising event, but it’s not an event you can honestly cover like any other festival, it’s too huge, too dense, too spread out and too overwhelming for that, and writing about Echo Park Rising is writing a long apology letter for all the bands you have missed.