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Lolipalooza II Part 1, Saturday June 27th 2015 Review


The Sloths


Chicago is the site of mega festival Lollapalooza, but here in Los Angeles, we have Lolipalooza, which will certainly never be headlined by Paul McCartney and Metallica, but who cares when you have so many bands to see?

This year they had even added a few comedy acts, Trenton Willey and Andy Kindler, whom I had hardly the time to check out, too busy running upstairs then downstairs, then in the patio. If Burger Records and Lolipop Records are small labels giving a lift to underground and just-starting bands, they also like to revive a few legends, ‘back from the grave’ as The Sloths’ singer Tommy McLoughlin told us. The Sloths were one of the first garage bands ever, and they even were considered controversial in the 60’s because they had a hit called ‘Makin’ Love’! Times are a changin’ and they decided to resuscitate the band after discovering that their single was selling for more than $6,000 on eBay! McLoughlin had a sort of Mick Jagger swagger going on, he was very theatrical, changing outfit for a song about ‘a fucked-up job you want to be fired from’, kneeling down on his knee pads! But  I don’t blame him… Their old-school blend of rock and rhythm & blues was perfectly fitting among these young punk-garage-rock lovers. Not only they brought the band back from the grave, but they seemed to be living the dream five decades later. I had many bands to see but I could not leave before the end of their set…

Another legend present at this festival was Paul Collins, backed up by a young band from Florida. I didn’t know who he was but he had a very power-pop sound with big choruses, half way through the Ramones and Weezer, at least this is what came to my mind at the time. He is really part of the history of rock & roll, known for his work with The Nerves, The Breakaways, The Beat… and check this out: The Nerves’ ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ was made famous by Blondie and The Beat’s ‘Walking Out on Love’ was performed by Green Day during their American Idiot Broadway Musical Production! Collins was great and it’s not a surprise if Billie Joe Armstrong is a big fan.

But most of my day was occupied with all these 60’s revival surf-rock-worshiper bands, and they keep multiplying with more nuances than I can describe. Most of them played with a punk spirit and a personal twist each time, but as I said, they duplicate themselves at infinity.

Tracy Bryant (Corners’ frontman) had a solo act, and he was backed up by the musicians of the band Froth. Now Froth and Corners played separately later during the day, and I let you imagine how crazy this is, Corners is hardly a band (they surfaced in my universe just last year) that the singer has already a side project and his stylish songs are poppy and catchy as hell! He had the right dose of audacity, some shadows of the 60’s, a touch of the 80’s, lots of layered guitars, even going a bit bluesy and dark. I can’t believe how prolific some people are, and it sounded like Corners with more guitars. Froth played a set later, opening with a Brian Eno cover and feeding up a mosh pit with a tumultuous sound, plenty of action, effects and reverb in their guitars accompanied by timid vocals. They make powerful music, with long songs stretching into swirling tornado-like instrumentals. They are a sonic inventive bunch.

Drinking Flowers brought some darkness, I have seen them play plenty of times, and they have this surfy-psychedelic sound that makes me mention the VU or the BJM each time.

I was welcome by someone brutally bumping into me during Max Pain and the Groovies’ set. They were playing a very bouncy punkish pop, foot-tapping with a nervous tempo, and logically, there were a lot dancers in the room.

Love Cop had a less 60’s-inspired sound than most of the bands, they were a quartet with a loud fuzz noisy sound, going into goth punk synth and half-spoken vocals. They had short punk songs, some heavy sinister ones, and I even heard a poppier tune which could have been produced by Ariel Pink.

The Creation Factory were actually an offshoot of the Mystic Braves, they had their haircuts and retro looks and Mystic Braves’ singer was actually watching them on the side. If bands continue to split in hundred of pieces like this to form side projects, I may give up with the reviews. With their 60’s British Invasion sound, many harmonies and a Van Morrison-Them-era vibe, and may be a bit of the Kinks too, they were playing on the very small patio and I thought that, probably too many people would have showed up if they had announced the Mystic Braves.

Adult Books had a cleaner sound, with not much fuzz but some direct and bouncy music, which was making people very happy with the right dose of nostalgia. Their punk poppiness reminded me a bit of FIDLAR, which is always a very good sign!

Plenty of pictures of the event there.

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