Intense, raw and passionate could probably describe the five bands that played at the Ace Hotel on Friday, during an evening hosted by community builder Wild Riot. Lauren Lakis was releasing her new EP, but Spare Parts for Broken Hearts, The Time Travelers, Bone Acre and Iress, all performed for a full soiree at the second floor of the historic hotel located downtown, Los Angeles.
Fronted by the ferocious Sarah Green, Spare Parts for Broken Hearts’ loud music was driven by heavy distortion, and cathartic anger wrapped in a post-grunge vibe. With Jonny Cifuentes on bass and Jessica Lankford on drums, the trio gave a very dynamic set while Green’s powerful vocals were growling or howling above the fuzz before soaring into dark melodic choruses. The heavy delivery was exploring pain with an unapologetic aggressiveness making hair and guitars flying in the air and this was not at all out of place on the day of the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death.
The Time Travelers continued with their super intense indie rock haunted by the screaming vocals of frontman Sherif Serag which shredded the place apart. From tearful acoustic guitar songs to rocking layered-guitar numbers, the tone stayed passionate, aiming to the epic with plenty of heavy riffs mixed with delicate melodies. It probably was their explosive rawness that kept people on the edge during their set, a rawness well served by Serag’s impressive forceful yells, that sounded equally hurt and destructive.
There was plenty of darkness to explore during the set of Lauren Lakis, a young artist who has just released her EP ‘Sad Girl Breakfast’ via Cavity Search Records. The atmospheric music was heavy and muddy, with a modern feel and sparse drumbeats while her vocals were buried in a loud and tubular dream. This was reinforcing some latent claustrophobia, but when a violinist joined them on stage, the soundscapes got another layer. This Sad Girl Breakfast seemed to be all about sonic textures, mostly bleak, while the mood, well aware of the omnipresence of darkness in life, had a few triumphant moments.
I had just seen Bone Acre last week at the Sayers Club, and here they were again, with a set as intense as the previous one, and, once again, frontgirl Caroline Heerwagen’s haunting performance. Sure, the place was smaller than the Sayers Club’s large stage, but their impressive presence was unaltered, while the darkness of these roaring guitars was burning with the same tortured passion. They are always here to tell us a powerful story, delivered by Heerwagen’s fierce theatrics and wounded howls, while the music is slowing igniting the place, before spreading like a wildfire. Bone Acre is the hot band of the moment and I am not going to complain when they end up with an unapologetic cover of Grinderman’s ‘Love Bomb’ at each show!
The night ended with Iress, a young band which treats heaviness with an authentic doom side. Michelle Malley’s long and anguished howls were so immersive than she was a scene by herself, while the lugubrious guitars and slow beats soon turning sludgy helped to create Iress’ surreal and icy world. Malley cruised the crowd for the last song with the determination of a great frontwoman, and the music, that they describe as ‘doom gaze’, built its own haunting stormy universe, which would make them the perfect opener for metal goddess Chelsea Wolf.
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