On Friday afternoon, the Sunset stage at the Jubilee Music and Arts festival alternated between the sunny punk-surf sound à la Ramones of Pangea and Bleached to culminate at the end of the night with the Black Lips, and a ferocious sound of a darker nature with Obliterations and Trash Talk.
I caught the end of Moses Campbell’s set, the teenagers with a big sound, and frontman Sean Solomon had decided to climb the stage while still singing his mix of violin-energy-fueled dance-punk-rock. I have seen them numerous times (they were playing the Jubilee last year too) and they never lack to disappoint and to engage the crowd with their original way to put their different upbeat sounds together. They make you regret not being 16 year-old anymore and do that kind of bold music, since they are a bunch of such talented kids! They also made me regret to not have watched the beginning of their set, but it’s the curse of every festival, you can’t see every band’s complete set.
It was still early in the afternoon and it was probably teenagers’ time, as the next band on the main stage, the quartet Cherry Glazerr, wasn’t much older! These rosy-cheek and pink-dress girls were certainly cute and reminded me for a few seconds another teen band, The Pretty Little Demons, I saw at Amoeba a little while ago, although the Cherry girls were a tad older. They played a kind of dream-hazy-stoned pop with clear or echoing vocals and a retro feeling despite their young age. They are on Burger Records just like Pangea and Black Lips, and I wondered if they were some Best-Coast-on-too-much-weed shoot,… hey, I think they were also singing about cats!
Pangea was playing on the same stage just after 6 pm, and I was already familiar with their surfy-garage-rock as I have seen them a couple of times. They may well be the little brothers of FIDLAR – I say this because I saw them opening for the riotous LA band a few times – but if they are not as wild and rowdy as them, their grating-punk guitars engaged the young crowd into a mosh party ambiance. They looked so happy to be there, releasing a sunny energy with some real rockers and great melodies, sounding like a powerful steaming machine, running from their answer to the Dead Kennedys with ‘Too Drunk to Cum’, to a cover of the Ronnettes’ ‘Be my Baby’… so no one can accuse them to be some one trick ponies.
Obliterations were next on the main stage of the Jubilee, and as expected, they became some furious and angry long-haired animals. Their set was all about loudness and aggression anchored into distortion, Sam James Velde’s raucous screams and guitar riffs going from metal to punk hardcore. They started with a long introduction of macabre sludgy guitars and then launched their wall of thunderous noise, destroying the sunny California weather. People were taken by surprise, they were not used to Obliterations’ fury yet – did I say it was only their second show ever, and their first one was in a house! – but it is only a matter of time until they trigger a ferocious pit à la Trash Talk. By the way, they will open for Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis at the Satellite next Sunday!
With Bleached, we were back to sunny weather and surfing retro harmonies, and the bouncy dynamism of the Clavin sisters. There is a real balance in what they do, bringing just the right amount of vintage vocal harmonies, punk energy and melodic garage-rock. They were tons of bright aaaaaahs and oooooooss in their shouted harmonies, and they exhibited enough girl-power-attitude to start some serious stage diving followed by an effervescent moshing. For once, I thought the over-the-top crowd surfing made total sense as the two blonde sisters, back up by drum and bass players, embodied this idea of beachy-eternal-summer anthems, certainly talking about love, heartbreaks, but also having fun under the California sun.
Trash Talk brought back the dark clouds, and it’s always the same story with them, I can’t never take a decent picture of frontman quicksilver Lee Spielman. He is probably faster and more acrobatic than anyone I have seen, and with the help of his scary guitar players, they brought fury and terror in the matter of a few seconds. As usual, their mosh pit was vicious and people got totally crazy, like hyper high on anger and ready to push everything around. In other words, they are not for the faint of heart and their cataclysmic shows have always been a challenge to describe as no words, videos or pictures can really account for the adrenaline running through the veins of everyone, me included, as I try to get closer to take pictures – which are always blurry anyway! Spielman was talking a lot to the crowd between their short and volcanic eruptions that they called songs, and for once I got to see him close as he got down in the crowd… he left us with a message of peace – the band logo is the upside down peace sign – a weird message after all these bruised eardrums and beaten bodies.
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