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Echo Park Rising, Friday August 19th 2016

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Prettiest Eyes

 

Echo Park Rising is a victim of its success, the annual festival has started since Thursday, the streets of Echo Park are getting very crowded, and the overwhelming amount of bands playing at about 40 venues spread all over Echo Park, makes a coverage of the event look like a daunting task. If I can’t see 500 bands in 3 days, I am trying to catch a few of them, just a few of them…

I jumped in my car after work and arrived at the Echo where there was already a long line to get in, Chastity Belt was playing, a Seattle-four piece band producing a poppy dissonant sound, and it was already very hard to get close to the stage… I just knew they have a song called ‘Giant Vagina’, which tells you more than you may want to know about this all-girl band with an attitude and a lot of female power. the few songs I have heard were rather slow, grungy-sludgy and not completely on the melodious side, but they were rocking a large crowd inside the sweaty Echo.

I was so happy to see Prettiest Eyes play on the main outdoor stage, the Liberty stage, and since it was still deserted at the time, I had the entire pit for myself in front of these kings of distortion. As always, the trio ran an aggressive show with fun acrobatics and a simple bass-drums-electronics combination, bringing the level of noise under their bluesy bass lines to the maximum. Their insane combination of echoing crazy vocals, hip moves and angst-y rhythm never fail to give a sexy result that may kill you by its awesomeness.

Thee Commons, who were already a highlight at Make Music Pasadena in June, repeated their triumph last night with their Cumbia-inspired compositions which often wander into very psychedelic detours helped but the addition of a saxophone. Also, a pink gorilla, reptilian and wolf masks got involved, rising up the level of madness, and things started to get really crazy. If they were relatively gentle at the beginning, they knew they could riot up the crowd with some back rolling and the sax player’s crowd surfing, soon the VIP pit got invaded, and it was chaos.

I didn’t see much of Chicano Batman, I had to exit the pit one way or another if I wanted to survive, but apparently they were the band to see if you were at Echo Park Rising! I almost got crushed when I escaped on the side of the stage and had to watch from afar. They had keys and a lot of wha-wha pedals, and their weird hybrid soulful sound was a bit loung-y, beach-y, dream-y, but certainly a real dance floor for the Liberty stage crowd.

Back at the Echo, where the line to get in was even longer than before, a band called Ducktails had gathered another dense crowd, and one of the reasons may have been frontman Matt Mondanil, who also fronts Real Estate. The quartet had an ethereal sound with dreamy soft vocals, and it was getting deep into layers of dense psychedelia, blossoming into bigger euphoria at each song. Their pretty music was putting a large smile on each face releasing the right dose of hypnosis and dopamine.

Unless I missed something, it was a sort of reunion for Wiskey Biscuit, a band who had a good start in 1999-2001, when they were touring with Beck and Elliott Smith, but they had completely disappeared since. They are a large ensemble which plays laid-back multi-layered songs with slide guitar, Cajun percussion and an occasional accordion played by frontman singer Jason Mason, they sing about trailer parks and collide into each other during most of their drunk country anthems. And it’s not a typo, they have removed the h from their moniker, but not the fun from their performances, they had a slow-burn Velvet Underground-inspired song and a groovy one culminating into drunken joy. I really hope they will play again soon.

Downstairs, Buyepongo had transformed the Echoplex into a giant Brazilian carnival dance floor, but I didn’t stay long as I wanted to see Jesus Sons, a badass loud rock & roll band with 70’s old school R&B guitars and a bad boy attitude. They were classic, classic rock with a garage twist, sometimes they sounded like the Stones, sometimes like the Velvet with bits of psychedelia, and they even had a country song, whipped like a Johnny Cash song, however a country song that made people mosh very hard… it got rowdy while a whole episode of music history was smashing into itself… Echo Park Rising Day three is Saturday.

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Chastity Belt

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Ducktails

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Wiskey Biscuit

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Thee Commons

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Jesus Sons

More pictures here.


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