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Fatal Jamz With Cullen Omori And James Ferraro At The Echo, Monday November 28th, 2016


Fatal Jamz


November was Fatal Jamz month residency at the Echo, and I finally caught his last show on Monday night. But before falling for the fatal act, Cullen Omori did a very short set, alone with his guitar and pedals, and sans Smith Westerns. The band broke up in 2014 and he has since released his solo debut, ‘New Misery’ on March via Sub Pop Records. He only played 4 songs, 4 tunes wrapped in reverb chords and sweet anxiousness, showcasing his high vocals, part dreamy and part plaintive. He was sounding a bit like a Chris Owens with more fire in the belly, drawing some Beatles’ sketches here and there, without looking for some obvious hooks. I saw Smiths Westerns years ago at the same place, which was packed to the roof, and it takes some guts to start from scratch over again… Omori’s own music is probably less glam and more misery then the Smith Westerns’, and it could be a sort of dark rumination after the band’s messy divorce.

James Ferraro played an interesting experimental electronica, and if these were not really songs, his short set was a long cinematic panoramic road with glitches and bells, fat wet drops and redundant notes. He played a stretching sonic collage with bits of symphony, spatial ship effects and cold choruses over pipes reverberating and vibrating into a long drone. His music wasn’t interesting and definitively on the avant-garde front, although watching electronic musician live is always a bit boring,… Fatal Jamz on the other hand, was everything but boring on stage.

Fatal Jamz is Marion Belle, appearing on stage with lots of glam-rock effects and a full band decided to bring back the 80’s in their glorious splendor, with platform shoes, lipstick and a female top on a man. ‘It is very romantic’, had told me someone to describe Fatal Jamz before the show, and sure the bold and wide-screen emotive vocals were made to pierce your soul, your 70-80’s soul… I thought he often sounded like Ariel Pink imitating David Bowie, which can’t be bad after all. The pink top he was wearing at the beginning, the attitude, the theatrical dance and the crying big melodrama voice was definitely striking, inevitably becoming as fatal as a new episode of 1977 Berlin in 2016 LA, and all the girls around were screaming to Belle’s antics. His ‘Coverboy’ album, released this year via Lolipop Records, has retro full-neon pop songs like ‘Lead Singer’, ‘Gigolo’, ‘Rookie’ and emo tributes to icons like ‘Jean Paul Gaultier’, and ‘Nikki Sixx’, and he sung some of them, plus new ones (‘Cherish the Dayz’, ‘Wildest Jeans’, ‘Pale Pink Rose’) with a rockstar state of mind. His mic was adjusted very high for the usual dramatic effects of the fallen star returning to the stage for one last time, and when he removed his girlie top to reveal a completely hairless torso, he went from Ziggy to Iggy in a minute, although he was obviously none of them. But you had to admire this determination emerging from his glam power pop songs, which often were pushing a new-wave revival in the middle of 80’s guitars. Glam rock is fully alive here and I am not only talking about his dark lipstick.

More pictures here


Cullen Omori



James Ferraro

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