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BEDROCKtoberfest Curated By Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner, Saturday September 20th 2014

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Nick Zinner

I have driven by this large decorated building in Echo Park many times without knowing what it was about, but apparently, Bedrock-LA is like Disneyland for musicians, a giant 40,000 square feet music-service facility, located in the heart of Echo Park. And Bedrock has its fest, Bedrocktoberfest, which is a bit premature since we are still in September, but they probably wanted a good reason to sell good German beer… as Bedrocktoberfest is not your average Budweiser-sponsored festival!

I had several options on Saturday afternoon, but when I saw that the festival was curated by Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner (and that he would also play in a band) I decided to go to the festival, which appeared to have a great line-up of female-fronted bands. Although I was going for the music, the originality of this new (to me) fest was the acts, alternating between bands and magicians coming right from the famous Magic Castle located in the Hollywood hills, and these guys (Eric Buss, Rob Zabrecky, Arthur Trace) were excellent and so entertaining, blending amazing magical tricks with comedy and humor.

Cherry Glazerr was the first band to take the stage, and although I had seen them several times before (they are part of the Burger Records family) I totally enjoyed their set. Frontgirl Clementine Creevy looks so delicate and young, however she drives her garage rock with toughness… No doubt, this girl is more than the cherry on the glazer cake! She sings ethereal ooo-oos but she can groan like a grungy rockstar. With the Los Angeles trio, it’s all about this great balance between honeyed harmonies, and vigorous, aggressive delivery, it’s all about these abrupt changes in the tempo, going from slow to fast in a second, breaking the rhythm again, a real sweetness suddenly bursting into punk rage.  Despite the eerie ooo-ooos, the mood is rather dark, the surf guitar is filled with reverb and dissonance, and there are some real finds in these surprising and rewarding songs. ‘We are super honored to be part of this’ said Creevy just before the end of their set.

Deap Vally was next and they are a bit the female Black Keys/White Stripes – and I am well aware that Jack White would hate this sentence – but I would say that the duo delivers a rawer sound that the two bands above combined, with dissonance and a total badass attitude. Aggressive, barefoot with psychedelic-colored hair, the two girls slayed a bluesy beast, as there were fumes of danger and sex in the air… and these Led-Zeppelin-inspired females looked like the kind of girls who would kick a few asses without even bending. I would even say guitarist Lindsey Troy looked and acted like a young Courtney Love if this were a compliment…

Talking about kicking some asses, after another magic trick, it was time for supergroup Head Wound City, undoubtedly waited by many people in the audience…. Supergroup? yeah there were the Blood Brothers’ Jordan Blilie and Cody Votolato, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner and The Locust’s Justin Pearson and Gabe Serbian, and they certainly installed a chaos, a hardcore-grindcore-noise chaos in a few minutes, and the well-behaved crowd soon turned into a pushing, moshing one,… the usual! I was in the front, trying to get some pictures, and the whole time, I was trying to save my back as the adrenaline was rushing in everyone’s body, I should have checked their moniker, it speaks for itself. The rest of their set was brief and brutal, in full aggression mode the whole time, while being very noise oriented. Although I wasn’t really familiar with the Locust, I had just seen the Blood Brothers at the FYF fest and I had to back up immediately because of the very rowdy crowd. Of course I recognized Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, looking very serious and playing guitar a bit separated from the rest of the band, while singer Jordan Blilie was taking all the typical hardcore pauses, with vicious and aggressive vocals. I noticed that he was wearing a ‘Born as a Bad Seed’ shirt, which made me think about another Nick of course. Head Wound City hadn’t performed for 8 years, but the idea of this super band came when the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Blood Brothers were touring together… People got very excited, a large guy started to push and I got a bit scared, as it is  quite normal to be at such show, but it was over before I was able to realize I had attended the second show ever of Head Wound City. Historic? Oh and I heard that Karen O was spotted, somewhere, I did not see her though!

The whole afternoon was hosted by Flula, the very funny German DJ, who was a cross between a Saturday Night Live act and Sasha Baron Cohen’s Bruno, I mean he had the thick German accent (real or not) and he played a few of his techno songs before the last band. Each one ended with the word ‘dance’ and he got very excited when he invented a song on the spot. The last musical act was a band with the greatest name ever, Black Sabbitch, and a appetite for destruction. Sure, they are a cover band and only play Black Sabbath’s songs (‘War Pigs’, ‘Fairies wear Boots’, ‘Snowblind’, N.I.B.’, ‘Hand of Doom’, ‘Symptom of the Universe’, ‘Children of the Grave’, ‘Supernaut’, ‘Into the Void…) but they are a all-girl band and totally ferocious. The frontgirl was wearing a black leather short with a Judas Priest shirt and was screaming like a young Ozzy, while the badass guitar player was embodying the do-not-mess-up-with-me attitude. Now I have never seen Black Sabbath in concert, but I have seen Ozzy close and personal a few years ago, and it seemed these girls were capturing so well the spirit of the songs, heavy, demoniac, vicious and wild, resurrecting the original Sabbath of the 70s, which can’t be the case when you see the real Black Sabbath play these days… People loved them, they were headbanging and moshing, asking for more songs at the end,… it was a real Sabbath concert in the core of Echo Park and a total celebration of girl power. But, as I was leaving the festival, I realized that beside Nick Zinner’s band, the whole thing had been a girl power fest.

Plenty of pictures of the show here.

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