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The Flytraps, Chad & The Meatbodies, Death Hymn #9 & Criminal Hygiene At The Echo, Monday January 13th 2014

Death Hymn Number 9



















Monday night was another full evening (and free!) at the Echo with too many bands for the same night! And I apologize in advance to the Ugly Kids who were the fifth band of the night, I left before their set as they played after midnight, and I had to get some sleep. It’s very hard on weeknights for everyone but these Criminal Hygiene Mondays residencies are full of super badass bands, and last Monday, presented by Dirty Laundry, was no exception. This is what I like with these residencies, I can still stand up front row, without being pushed or fear for my back, although it wasn’t exactly true during Death Hymn number9’s set. I bet that in a few months, when these bands have built a reputation they deserve, they are gonna trigger giant mosh pits and I will have to say bye-bye to my comfortable position… but the energy of the whole show took people by surprise, you have to realize, it’s Monday night, it’s really hard to go out on Monday night when a week at work has just started, but people go to these residencies to check out new bands, or because they are friends with the band; but whatever the reason they are right. In this very crowded world of garage rock, there are still bands that emerge and you know what? They are really good!

The Flytraps were first, an almost all-female (except for the drummer) band with a true rock’n’roll attitude. I liked them right away, when I entered the club and they were already screaming and kicking ass. Their sound was wild, raw, badass and definitively inspired by famous bands such as the Ramones, the Cramps and may be Motörhead? Or it was the t-shirt worn by one of the girls that made me write this. Surely there was some metal aggressiveness behind certain of their songs, these were girls that wanted to do some damage, especially the two front girls who shared the vocals whereas the bassist, planted on her high heels and a little bit in the back, had this satisfying rictus on the corner of her lips . There weren’t enough people in the room to start some real action, but I imagine it is just a question of time, these girls will soon generate the usual crowd surfing/stage diving I see at punk shows; they have the look, a bit holed sexy black tights and a bit Halloween witches, they have the attitude, a bit bad girls and a bit playboy bunnies, and especially they have the trashy rock sound. They will end up releasing an album on a hip indie label and opening for the Pixies… isn’t it what FIDLAR is doing these days?

Chad and the Meatbodies were next and they didn’t let us rest for a second with their fast blend of psychedelic garage rock. They played loud and fast to the point to make you dizzy, and I came up with a few references while I was listening,… the most obvious one being The Oh Sees… yeah there was some John Dwyer’s spirit in all this, and knowing how much I like The Oh Sees, it’s a total compliment. And since Dwyer just moved to Los Angeles, they could continue the band with him! Lots of shredding guitar, a speedy rhythm, abrupt changes of direction and total head hangings with long hair in the face, it wasn’t a surprise that they have a split 7 inch with Ty Segall. What else could I say? There were distortions and harmonies, and some grungy textures resurging at times, but the quartet was melting faces faster than you can figure out all their influences among this fuzziness.

Just after 10 pm, Death Hymn Number 9 took the stage, or should I say the entire room? Because the singer was hardly on stage, he was right away on the floor getting physical with people, asking for a mosh pit to start. These guys were literally a hard act to follow, especially if you wanted to take a few pictures, they sowed chaos and installed fear in an instant with their zombie white faces and bloody shirts. Longhair vocalist Paul’e’wog was all over the place, asking for a crowd surfing and a nose bleeding…literally, as one of the musicians had come on stage with a tampon stuck in his nose! Gross!…Their mix of howling trash punk, gospel violence, stomping rhythms and aggressive hardcore was quite a vision, engaging the crowd in a mosh dance with the walking-dead. They wanted to trash the place? No problem but they brought some myths with them, after all they have declared they were zombies coming straight from the bayous of Baton Rouge where church-goers handle venomous snakes and why not, sacrifice animals while taking hallucinogens… all that blood made me nervous, but Death Hymn Number 9 were totally great and mysterious, bringing rage, excess and an orgy-like ambiance, although they only threw away a few empty pizza boxes.

Then it was time for Mondays resident Criminal Hygiene. I have read that the trio may be Los Angeles’ answer to Ty Segall, but what about our answer to the Black Lips? The trashy humor, false hate-relationship with the rowdy crowd, and invitation to gentle debauchery seemed to be there (again nothing more harmful than free pizza), as people were throwing pieces of toilet paper on stage,… something the Black Lips were doing themselves last time I saw them! In all seriousness, Criminal Hygiene was a happy band with a laid back attitude, switching instruments and sharing vocals on some excellent bright rock numbers, with either bluesy tendencies or a punkier flavor, but overall splashing a lot of fun all over their catchy songs. Big names such as Nirvana and the Replacements have been dropped in reviews of their music, but they seemed to have way more fun than Kurt Cobain ever had. With their joyous-drunken harmonies, their punchy and visceral garage rock and some acrobatic stage antics, they were mixing more contained songs, even going a bit Americana, with wild punk-rock ones, making the room jump and dance… err I saw that Gary Tovar checked them out during the first Monday of their residency… yep, that Gary Tovar, founder of Goldenvoice and Coachella… just saying.


1 Comment

  1. Beth on October 18, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Great write up but you have mistaken me for the bass player in The Flytraps. I do not play bass, I play lead guitar.

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