Los Angeles is a bottomless reservoir of bands, and when you think you know most of them, you are asked about a band you have never heard about, and the following week you discover ten new ones! I go out often but I don’t pretend to know a third, a fourth, a fifth? of the bands that you can see on a regular basis. The scene is rich and diverse, but I would say there are many L.A. scenes, what you witness at the Whiskey a Go Go or at the Viper Room can be very different from what you see at the Echoplex! You can classify these numerous bands the way you want, the poppy ones, the punk ones, the eccentric ones, the classic ones… it never ends. But there is always something you notice, especially when you are trying to take photos during the show: you will always remember the way the crowd moves, and the band’s ability to trigger mayhem! So here are ten riotous bands I saw this year:
Egrets on Ergot, which I saw many times over the years, are one of the weirdest bands in LA. They are a raucous assault to eardrums with chunks of horror punk, constant changes of rhythms, fierce accelerations, all led by Adam Brooks’ angry shriek and lugubrious sax injections. With goth inspirations, they are a threatening cacophony and a series of angsty stage antics.
Clit Kat can turn the place upside down with a chaotic brand of punk/hardcore/dissonant music. Fronted by the ferocious screamer Mag Kat, they are a bunch of troublemakers, looking for disruption and disorder with an unapologetic determination.
The Side Eyes sound like a new wave of Black Flag-inspired youth, fronted by riot girl Astrid McDonald. All-legs and long blonde hair, she always rides with ease the hardcore and abrupt assaults of her bandmates.
The Manx are some wild, crazy men, often covered of bright paint, red or green, looking like butchers after a slaughter party, and assaulting the stage with dissonance and trash-metal screams. Like a disjointed version of Gogol Bordello, they play an aggressive mix of punk and metal folk-core, resulting in a cacophony involving an accordion and an upright bass.
The Tissues are another woman-fronted band, the fierce Kristine Nevrose, who can scream her rage like no other. Her seductive dance is restless, acting like a bitch, walking like a queen, she abruptly releases a series of violent outbursts of anger and insubordination,
The Buttertones are the darling of the L.A. scene, and if I missed a few of their last shows, I can assure you it was probably the same mayhem, I almost got killed taking pictures of them at one of these Echo Park Rising shows! The crowd (and especially the girls) pushed the barricades so violently, that they collapsed at the sound of the band’s empowering music, which shakes like a wild animal and brings back memories of the Cramps under the sunshine of the great California surf bands.
Current Joys are a crowd riot, and if I have barely seen them during a very sweaty episode of Echo Park Rising, this should not come as a total surprise as the band is fronted by Nick Rattigan, of the very popular Surf Curse. Both bands can trigger a hell of crowd surfing, bringing the excitation among young females to a new British invasion level. if the music is less joyful than Surf Curse’s material, it is more cathartic, and explodes into sonic heights, for the surfer girls’ greatest joy.
Surfbort are once again led by a fearless woman, Dani Miller, who, with her crazy eyes, carnivore smile, and daring poses, tries to install terror in a fun way, looking for the ugly and barbaric. The band plays an aggressive brand of melodic ‘70s punk music with a half-deranged delivery and weird antics.
Thee Oh Sees, which are now simply named Oh Sees, are an enduring success in L.A., and their shows are pure madness under the spell of John Dwyer, a psych-punk god with a guitar and his the two drummers beating with perfect synchronicity. Hypnotic and powerful, they are a sonic ecstasy pill, exploring new levels of psychedelic, as a new portal is opened by their free leader.
The Coltranes have hardcore riffs, a fast and multi-influenced pace, but also a charismatic frontman, Spencer Heath, whose screams often equals Bad Brains’ H.R.. In full trench-coat character, he insults the crowd and screams over hardcore assaults, and he can sound as terrifying as he looks funny during the heartfelt sing-along. I saw them this summer, and it could have been a no-tomorrow punk party because this was announced as their last show ever!
Miley makes it three at the top
better than you remember
it has been four years since her last long player
quickly get your music noticed
A fast rock & roll song performed with a retro punk vibe
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – April 1983 (Volume 14, Number 11)
the final issue edited by Susan Whitall
hard rock meets classic rock meets Americana
Chuck D is at the Grammy Museum
On The Red Carpet For The Screening Of “The Beast Inside” At The Angelica Cinema, Sunday, January 29th, 2023: pictures by Billy Hess
a powerhouse performance by Sadie Katz and SohoJohnny as you never thought you’d see him