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Echo Park Rising Day 3, Sunday August 16th 2015 Review

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Sunday was my last day at Echo Park Rising, and it was a very busy one once again, despite the fact that the Taix stages had disappeared… but what’s the difference between having 8 choices instead of 12? As if we were not saturated with enough music, they also was the Grand Ole Echo happening on the patio of the Echo, a weekly Sunday afternoon tradition showcasing country, western and other Americana still going strong all day long. Between two acts on the Echo and the Echoplex stages, I managed to catch deep-voiced Austin McCutchen and Leslie Stevens, doing some cool duet of slow honky ballads, but 10 different performers lined up on the GOE tiny stage. However, there was a Lolipop versus Burger records happening on the Echo stage with a ton of awesome bands, plus many bands playing at the Echoplex, so there was no way I would get bored…

Sad Robot was a big surprise, with a very strong performance by front-woman Kat Pawlak and her endearing vocals. Their dark synth mesmerizing pop dance act was explosive, wrapped into a very dramatic atmosphere, especially because of her bold dance moves. All set-long she gave all she had, throwing all her efforts into her music with vocals to conquer the world. Her bold presence was certainly noticed by the crowd, as she was sometimes doing these howl sung with arms in the air and strident guitars followed by a cathartic wall of fuzz. She dedicated her last song, ‘True Love Waits’, to her favorite band, Radiohead.

Adult Books is a X song right? But it is also a Lollipop-Burger records band that I have seen a few times, with very catchy and bouncy punk pop songs, sounding a bit like FIDLAR and their signature carefree aaaaaaahhhs. Kids were having a lot of fun during their set, they jumped the whole time as the band’s joyous and infectious anthems were pumping up the crowd. Then they played a new one with infectious tempo and deep bass lines and the kids head-banged the whole time.

Sand Babes were another good surprise, a retro trip with a surf guitar galore, and I immediately thought their sound was in the same vein than other beloved local bands such as The Mystic Braves or the Allah-Las… Who knows, they even may be coming from the same branch of musicians, Echo Park bands often have this incestuous breeding habit. No matter what, they had a really great and groovy sound with lots of guitars, mad keys and tambourine, turning these 60s-inspired tunes into krautrocky and psychedelic jams. But they also had faster and wild ones as joyful and they were enjoyable, and very danceable too, long and circular instrumentals injected by short ‘wows’… I wonder how many bands can come up with variations on this retro sound, however they are always a big success.

The Birth Defects must be playing all the festivals I am attending and this is a very good thing! I have seen them a few times this summer and they slaughtered the place each time with a propulsive and raw sound. Live, they are an amazingly loud fury and whatever they put in their recipe of hardcore, hard rock and metal, it is working great. Jason Finazzo, their impressive and cool front man has the right physique to carry this raging sound and their guitarist, Petey Dammit was in Thee Oh Sees, while former Bleached Jonathan Safley is on drums, so what could go wrong? They smelt danger and blood, starting a mosh pit over a wall of fuzz… they have become one of my favorite new bands.

Thee Commons were the kings of Cumbia as a large audience had packed the Echoplex one more time, doing some mad dancing. Using true Latino rhythms, the trio had brought them up to the next level, with distortion, reverb guitars, raucous vocals and undulating dance moves, like some Mexican folklore all surfed up, or even punked up at times. Their dance party ended up with half of the crowd climbing on stage to joint the band at the end, and I hadn’t seen such stage invasion since Iggy Pop and the Stooges at the Palladium.

The all-mighty Corners closed the night at the Echo, I have seen them an uncalculated amount of times, since I have attended all their Monday night residency at the Echo last year. But their live shows never cease to impress and amuse me, it is always a very empowering experience. The Echo was a sauna, packed to the roof with kids starting a non-stop crowd surfing party from start to finish. Corners played with their usual swagger their now familiar-to-my-ears catchy songs, and looking at the large crowd, it was impossible to get even close… so I climbed on the stage, and found a good spot just behind the musicians, observing the incessant crowd surfing, thrilled by the experience and their dark-wave punk sound. It was the perfect ending for this Echo Park Rising, which was attended by 10,000 people according to the news, a really impressive number for a neighborhood festival, free for all, with no big stars or big names, just local bands, but a ton of them celebrating the rich diversity of Echo Park.


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