Just like that, Paul McCartney announced a concert at Pappy and Harriet’s at the last minute this morning. It is a 2-3-4 hour-drive from Los Angeles, depending on the traffic, and it is especially a tiny place lost in the desert. I realized I had no chance to get in at the time I learned about the very special show, it was already too late, and the show reached full capacity at 3 pm.
And since life is really strange, the first thought I had in mind when I saw these kids at Amoeba on the same night was… the Beatles. There are undeniable Beatles-que harmonies in the Lemon Twigs’ choruses and songs in general, they have somehow distilled the sound of the 60’s and the 70’s and reviewed it through their 2016 kids’ eyes, with a dose of indie rock and a lot of jumping and leg kicking. I keep calling them kids, because they looked so young, and they are effectively extremely young: Michael D’Addario is just 17 and his brother Brian is 19 but they have already recorded a debut album, ‘Do Hollywood (4AD) which is released on October 14th, and they have already made an apparition on The Tonight show with Jimmy Fallon… what?
Their set at Amoeba was filled with surprises and unleashed playfulness. The two brothers, also accompanied by quiet Danny Ayala on keys and Megan Zeankowski on bass, were so at ease on stage it was ridiculous, they had a crazy, cheerful and comical stage presence, without taking themselves seriously a bit.
‘Do Hollywood’ seems to be an album filled with the sound of all these great bands of the golden age of power pop with the most infectious choruses ever. ‘I Wanna Prove to You’ is an immediate Beatles via Brian Wilson earworm, ‘These Words’ also evokes Elton John with another formidably catchy chorus, whereas they also played some circus-sounding songs, sounding just like the most lighthearted side of the Beatles or the Kinks, but they didn’t stay there, they seemed to love abrupt changes of tempo, falsetto ethereal harmony-choruses suddenly beaten by furious drums and mad organ. There were more curiosity and detours which were proving at each song they weren’t not simple copycat. But is it possible to hear in one song The Beatles, Queens and Bowie while watching some true rock & roll leg kicking? And I know people are gonna throw in there many more less-obvious references.
Brian was on guitar and vocals, Michael on drums, then they even switched places, and if Brian was bouncing with his guitar, Michael and his jumpsuit, had an unique way to do some powerful high kicks and air leaping. They were so over the top at time, they could have passed for a parody or some kind of joke if their melodies hadn’t been so good, and their songs were structured in too many twisted ways to not be taken seriously. The two brothers come from a musical family, they started making music ridiculously young, were child actors for a short period, and even sang on Broadway, before finding their definitive call and being discovered by Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado
The Lemon Twigs were so lively, so colorful, so inventive and at the same time, sounded so familiar, that they just put a big smile on my face all set long… yeah they have well understood what rock and roll is, Sir Elton John loves them, and their very glam rock video for ‘As Long As We’re Together’ was directed by Autumn de Wilde… Somewhere in the desert Paul McCartney was smiling.
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