When a band has such a crazy name, we have the right to wonder what to expect… Eccentricity? Dante Vs Zombies have plenty of it. They were playing late afternoon at the Silver Lake Jubilee on Sunday and when I got close to the Santa Monica stage,… surprise, two members of Jail Weddings (Gabriel Hart and Jada Wagensomer ) were actually also part of this group, which was about to deliver a set with at least as much as insanity than the other one.
Looking at their bio, it seems that each member is/was in fact also part of one or more other bands – let’s see, Starlite Desperation, Detroit Cobras, Swahili Blonde, Lost Kids, Easy Action, Jail Weddings, Starvations, We Break Cameras, The Like, Raw Geronimo – and it is as if they had assembled this bric-a-brac of people for the occasion. But no they are a real band, which will have a free Monday residency in June at the Echo in Los Angeles.
Gabriel Hart was on guitar and back-up vocals this time and had passed the torch to another over the top frontman, Dante White-Aliano, who had some antics of his own. Half Mick Jagger, half monkey, he was wearing a feminine nightgown, like the rest of the band who were either getting ready for sleep or coming straight from the shower. What’s going on with all these bands and their desire to find some weirdo shtick? One guitarist had hair rollers, the drummer was wearing a shower cap and the two girls had bath towels at the top of their heads. Dante, and this partially explains the name of the band, climbed several times the pole on the side of the stage, hang himself like a gibbon during another song, and was acting like a mad and out of control jungle explorer (well, he had the hat).
Their music was at the same time edgy and retro; with that dominating Dick Dale-y surf guitar, lots of reverb in the vocals, their catchy tunes ventured into the 60s or even sometimes into some doo-wop-y territory, with vocals always sung at the top of Dante’s lungs whatever his position, and a music delivered by the full band with this furious energy that made everyone dance at the festival. They have hooks and melodies and they are a lot of fun, with songs entitled ‘Yes, I’m Stalking You’, or ‘Branded by Nuns’… but why Dante versus the Zombies? I didn’t see any fight there.
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