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Feels, Burnt Ones, Corners And Cosmonauts At The Echo, Sunday December 14th 2014

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I spent another Sunday night at the Echo, and this brought me right back in the middle of last summer, with a ‘Part Time Punks’ soiree featuring Feels, Burnt Ones, Corners and Cosmonauts… another sleep-depraved 24 hours in perspective to start the week, but it was all worth it. I had already seen three of these bands, but since shows generally slow down a bit before Christmas, it was a good opportunity.

Feels, formerly named Raw Geronimo, is a three women band fronted by Laena Geronimo and accompanied by a guy on drums but they sure totally embrace their inner punk-girl sentiment with buoyant music and multi-harmonies. Their songs are upbeat and sound like fun rides, with ups and downs and screams at unison. They even had some sort of Middle-Eastern guitar ambiance, although it didn’t really last for more than a song! The quartet conquered the audience with ease and charm using girly harmonies, plenty of good riffs and some loud shredding transporting the guitars into a vortex. Yes these girls can rise a serious and furious monster with ascending songs and an aggressive attitude. I am not sure why they changed their moniker, because raw seemed to fit them like a charm, even a bewitched charm.

Burnt Ones were next and they were the only band I hadn’t seen before. If their first song was totally catchy with a loud hard-hitting tempo, and an almost 80’s UK band vibe, I had a hard time to follow what was coming next,… but may be this was due to the loudness of the music and me being at the front? I got a bit overwhelmed by the sound, but couldn’t resign myself to put some earbuds in my ears as they always give me the impression to make a 1,000-meter dive under the sea. In any case, Burnt Ones were the mirror of the previous band, three guys and a girl on drums, but there were also synths at the top of the guitars, introducing some synthetic noises and electronic buzzes below their sort of fuzz pop psychedelia. They could get very moody at times, with ferocious parts alternating with quiet moments during which I could really hear frontman Mark Tester’s voice. And they did a killer version of Lou Reed’s ‘Heroin’, a song they have recorded for a special tribute album entitled ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico by Castle Face And Friends’, because yes, they are on Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer’s label.

I have been raving about Corners since last summer, and they were back at the Echo with this time a lot of merchandize including their debut album ‘Maxed out on Distractions’– that I bought after the show! The Echo got really packed for their set, meaning there is a real buzz about this band: Corners have a style that doesn’t go out of style, that’s why I believe they will be more than a brief summer love. I saw them like 4 times in July and August, and, on Sunday night, they were as charismatically tough and efficient as I remembered. They started a mini dance riot in the Echo, with their dark synth, icy vocals and crazy energy. They are still the hardest band to photograph in action, as they constantly move and bring their songs to another spacey dimension. During ‘Riot’, they brought fire during a cold night, with ‘Buyo’, one of my favorites, they managed to mix infectious and empowering dance beats with dark bass, surf guitar and shouted warrior-like vocals, while ‘Love Letter’ has that dangerous after-midnight dance floor. Whereas so many garage rock bands sound the same, there is nothing fuzzy about Corners, they have a slick sound, immediately recognizable, even though they sometimes sound as if they could be Bauhaus and Joy Division’s gothic offspring. You can see how successful a band is by looking at two things: how people move and mosh during the show (and I got pushed against the stage quite a lot!) and how fast people rush to the merchandize table after the show. Corners closed their set with their very powerful track ‘Pressure’, and since the energy of a show is hard to translate on an album, everyone should go see them and open their spaceship!

Talking about spaceship, Cosmonauts had the tough task to follow Corners, with much more fuzz, layered guitars and buried vocals. Cosmonauts has this same punk energy, shouted aggressive vocals than Corners but everything sounds more distorted, fuzzy and overall throbbing and thunderous… It’s even a miracle that real melodies can surface from all this fuzz, but they do, and the result may be somewhere between the Velvet Underground and The Jesus and Mary Chain. However, I don’t blame people for leaving before the end of their set, it was close to midnight and today I am functioning (or not) with 4 hours of sleep, but Cosmonauts, who weren’t even stopping between most of their songs, didn’t let the energy lay flat on its back. I would say it was a different kind of energy, more hypnotic, even more palpable when the Feels girls came back on stage for a song with a very strong VU vibe.

I saw many bands during this (almost) past year, especially since I went to Burgerama, Lolipalooza and Echo Park Rising, there were so many bands playing there that I have lost count…. This Part Time Punks on Sunday night was a condensed memory of what 2014 was. Hello 2015…

More pictures of the show here.

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