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Echo Park Rising Day 2, Saturday August 15th 2015 Review

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Hanni El Khatib


Second day at Echo Park Rising, and still the same problem with an overwhelming choice of bands to see…. I still didn’t have a strategy and I randomly picked a few places, trying to concentrate on the main stage at the end of the day, but having this constant fear of missing out feeling! I think I even attended a FOMO festival in the past, and that should be the appellation for all of them.

The first band I saw was called DCTV, or Détective, with an accent because their front girl Guylaine Vivarat is French American and may be fan of Goddard? I remember seeing her in another band, but this time the quartet played foot-tapping very melodious guitars with dreamy vocals, but they were not afraid to get loud and messy. They even exchanged vocals, getting darker with ex-Guided By Voices James Greer’s vocals doing a good Lou Reed impression… At times, they were sounding like a more melodious Sonic Youth, and Greer got totally violent at the end of their set, breaking his guitar, proving that punk is not dead in LA.

No Parents were amusing the crowd with their sex-obsessed punk songs (‘I’m a Dildo’, ‘Dick City’), and the furious outbursts of their singer Zoe Reign. They even had a few provocative anthems like ‘Die Hippie Die!’ and they made the mascot of one of the sponsors of the fest, the Nesquik rabbit, dance his fuzzy belly out. They were funny and dirty, vulgar and discordant, sounding a bit like punk veterans the Adolescents, and overall they were a total trainwreck sampling this Lenny Kravitz’s song… I actually expected even more from Reign, who sadly kept his shirt on with this heat?

Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel’s set was less druggy than usual, with their double wobbling keyboards, tambourine, drummer-singer, haaaaaaas harmonies. Their bliss-inducing psychedelia had reminiscence of the Doors, and some Beatles-que, or even Harrison-esque sweetness. I had seen them before and this time they were a bit less crazy with bouncy and poppy tunes, at the exception of their last song, which triggered some madness in the crowd.

Kid Bloom had a very hard-to-define sound, bringing different pop rock elements together, like a maddening collage of rock guitars and synth. They were sharing vocals and if the main singer had a flannel shirt around his waist, the music wasn’t grunge except may be in the way they were pronouncing the lyrics in a dragging and languid manner. They were singing, not really harmonizing, but the voices were strong and bold, they even had a slow dancer with vibrating keys, and the languid attitude of the singer was contrasting with their rock show…could they have been a slowed down and more sophisticated version of the Foo Fighters ??

I saw a bit of Hin Du’s set and their spaced-out psychedelia was thick and quite interesting with a lot of fuzz and vocal harmonies. With a Korg organ in the background, some cool ooooooooos, the whole thing turned into a a very dense jam, that I remember hearing before… sure! they used to call themselves Hindu Pirates… as if there were not enough bands already, they also take new monikers just to confuse me even more!

Meanwhile, J laser was firing up the stage of the Echoplex, with a crazy energy, and the guitarist’s frizzy hair surrounding an angelic face. Well, I saw these girls front row, who pushed me to get a sticker at the end of the set! J Laser was a drums-guitar (or bass) brotherly duo, going into electronic R&B, a bit bluesy at times, getting violent and dark and installing a grandiose and spectacular number with the guitarist walking and running non-stop on stage.

I had seen Talk in Tongues once during a FOMO festival featuring tons of local bands, and, at the time, I had the impression they were the band most likely to succeed, with very catchy melodies, a 60’s ambiance, a mix of surf guitars, no real frontman and a sort of psychedelic adventurous vibe which could have been a soundtrack for a TV series with beautiful adolescents. The Echo was packed to the roof this time, which may be proving I was right! They had very sunny groovy dancers, and some of their songs had this strong Tame Impala vibe, with a savant combination of synth-dream vocals floating around and a few electronic surprises. If the Aussie band has managed to reach success with this recipe, I can safely predict that Talk in Tongues is doing very well.

Hanni El Khatib closed the night on the main stage, and I can proudly say I wrote about him five years ago, when I first heard his rendition of ‘You Rascal You’. His set at Echo Park Rising was a riot, and without the help of a gentleman, I would have fallen down, crushed by the violent mosh pit… People got really crazy and wild, and it is obvious to say that Hanni still smells like danger! He may have put a little keys during some songs but he still plays bluesy trashy numbers like a hunted wolf with a raw and abrasive style and songs like ‘Build. Rebuild. Destroy’, ‘Dead Wrong’, ‘Head in the Dirt’, ‘Loved One’, ‘Fuck It. You Win’… his no-restrained style is so appealing that the crowd followed him when he encouraged this mad mosh pit, he also jumped in the middle of the crowd, getting tough and proving he is a much more interesting performer than Dan Auerbach who produced one of his albums. He was a king last night, and I am not using that word lightly.

Many pictures of the festival here.


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