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Lolipalooza At The Echo/Echoplex, Saturday June 28th 2014 (Part II)


Thee Oh Sees

Tropical Popsicle played a luminous organ-music with bright big vocals, and I got a glimpse of Dante Elephante’s pleasant dream pop while walking on the patio to catch Mystic Braves which had drawn the largest crowd of the night so far. At 6:30 they looked like the headliners of this festival, people were dancing, crowd surfing, stage diving, the whole deal despite the gentleness of the Braves’ rhythms. I have seen them before but this looked like their biggest show ever, accompanied by a female dancer covered with flashing lights. There was no way I could have approached the stage, seeing how much people were expressing their love for their sweet sound! It was hook galore and harmonies, as their music sounds like the soundtrack of an adventure movie of the 70s with a strong feel-good vibe, making people so happy they could not stop stage diving. These guys are gonna be big, or they already are.

I have hardly seen anything from the next band and have no memory of the Memories – they were nevertheless joking about getting high when I entered the Echo – but apparently they already have put an impressive amount of music out there! The upbeat and bouncy garage rock of Adult Books was filling the patio with a punk spirit, while the Resonars had formed this wall of guitars and bass at the edge of the Echoplex stage, producing a loud, aggressive but very melodic sound with breaking-glass harmonies. The Lovely Bad Things gave to the kids what they wanted, a true punk show, with sweat running along the bangs, and more crowd surfing that most people have ever seen. I must say that the Echo/Echoplex is probably my favorite place in LA for many reasons (beside the awesome shows they host), the managers are so cool with any crowd antics, they let people climb on the booth seats when they can’t see the stage, they let people stage diving and crowd surfing their heart out, and nobody felt restrained to do so on Saturday night. It was chaos and Fidlar-like energy, each band member jumped in the crowd or crashed on the stage, and everyone seemed to have the best time of the night, while I was captivated and could not leave.

Peach Kelli Pop was playing downstairs and she sounded like a Minnie Mouse bubble gum version of the Ramones singing Best Coast’s tunes, she may have pushed the kids Japanese cartoon a bit far, but the music was very happy and bouncy. Froth was another band exploring this surf-drug-induced-shoegazing-psychedelia side of music,… I was about to give up with music description, they were very good but they were reminding me a bit of many other bands, just like all of them do! And at this point I was thinking that all these bands could fit in about three categories: the loud punk-garage-rock with more or less energy and a culmination with the Fidlar-Lovely-Bad-Things type, the sweet-dream-pop-60s-revival, and the druggy-psychedelic torpor that always brings the Brian Jonestown Massacre in my mind. Of course some bands are a bit of all this… then suddenly there was a 80s flash-back at the Echoplex with dazzling Dale Bozzio, singer of the 80s new wave band Missing Persons that she co-founded with Frank Zappa’s musicians. I was not immediately familiar with her name, but of course I knew most of these songs. Wearing a glittering cap, a black leather jacket and a black outfit from head to toe, she was doing some air guitar, bringing back some glam in this indie garage rock show,… ‘Walking in LA’, wow, crazy to think that all these songs were 30 year-old! She reminded me someone and I didn’t guess immediately, but I watched this old video, and I can say that first, she was totally hot, secondly, she looked exactly like Lady Gaga! I know I am late on this, but this is another proof we are running in circles.

Shannon Shaw, from Shannon & the Clams, looked nothing like Lady Gaga but she is almost as famous as the fame monster in California. We can consider that her band was headlining the show as only a few people knew who the special guest was before buying a ticket, and the crowd was very big. Shannon and her bandmates cultivate a strong 50s vibe, they actually go further than the 60s, with a weird twist, a punk energy and youth anthems. I realized that people really, really loved them, as I got immediately ejected from the front row I was still holding on, and since I was too old and too tired for this game, I went in the back and climbed on a booth seat to see the stage; but I didn’t leave without giving a violent nudge to the guy who had pushed me so hard to get my spot, the rowdy situation got really dangerous! I stayed at this same spot during Thee Oh Sees, since there was no way I was going to affront the chaos after this long day. John Dwyer is still at the top of his game, with a furious sound and a free sonic spirit, despite a new situation: Dwyer moved to LA and Thee Oh Sees members have dispersed all over the country, reducing the current line-up to a trio. I can’t exactly tell what they played, but I recognized some familiar tunes and some less familiar, but they were all delivered with the same raw energy and a sweaty, riotous enthusiasm. Dwyer still holds his guitar like a weapon of mass crowd surfing, aren’t these kids ever tired of this? I realized that Dwyer’s music was the perfect ending for this garage rock feast, his band embodies the ultimate noise-psychedelia-experimental act with brutal distortion, ear-piercing riffs and inventive ideas, something that many bands aspire to. On some of my pictures John Dwyer’s face appeared deformed by the sound (?)… As if he was on his own G-force ride, and this, like true music, can’t be faked.

Many pictures of Lolipalooza here.

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