Zig Zags’ Record Release With Urns & Argyls, Nice, The Eye Side At The Factory DTLA, Saturday January 25th 2020
The Factory has to be the most underground venue you can pick to attend a show in Los Angeles, it’s so underground that you have to ask for the address, maybe because they want the place to stay a bit on the unknown side. Of course, once you have been there, you can’t forget it! Located on the 2nd floor of a deserted huge warehouse, the place is dark, intimate and sweaty, but there are a bar and even parking, and all the cool kids know the place. Heavy hitters Zig Zags had a release party that night, but actually 3 other bands play, including Urns and Argyles, Nice and the Side Eyes.
That’s the deal with many of the bands playing the factory, they are almost unknown and barely have any social media. And this was the case for the trio Urns and Argyles (such a strange moniker that they will have to explain at one point) who were loud and angry, although they were playing dark poetry and Tom Waits between their explosive songs. With pounding drums and Strokes-like guitars, their powerful sound was bumping against the walls of the venue, and soon it was just anger with violent accelerations, an explosion of cymbals and morose vocals.
It was Zig Zags’ record release for their EP ‘LA to Pedro’, a split 7″ with Mike Watt and The Secondmen, and the power trio (Dane Arnold, Sean Hoffman, and Jed Maheu Watt Side ) didn’t let us a chance to rest. With their hard-hitting tunes and their Sabbath-inspired riffs, they sounded like the missing link between heavy metal and hardcore punk madness. Shirtless and triumphant, they played a fast set with King-Kong riffs, a celebratory tone, and a massive head-bang. They have been compared to early Metallica, and the least I could say is that their muscular brand of thick and gnarly punk rock metal was a frenzy from start to finish. They have already recorded a song with Iggy Pop and made an album with Ty Segall and their destructive and demonic style could be perfectly encapsulated in the title of their previous EP, ‘They’ll Never Take Us Alive’.
Nevertheless, the night belonged to bands fronted by ferocious women, with first Nice then The Side Eyes. Nice was everything but… nice, they were a hardcore cacophony of agitated and dissonant guitars with the almighty wail of frontgirl Emily. She was getting confrontational with an unrestrained boldness and some bloody screams, a sonic beast she seemed to control with ease. She had the tattooed arms and the badass moves of a D.C. punk hardcore frontman, except that her long hair was following each one of her moves, leaving behind a beautiful waving trail. If Surfbort’s Dani Miller is the puking punk princess, Emily has to be the toughest siren of hardcore.
The Side Eyes, fronted by Astrid McDonald, daughter of Redd Kross frontman Jeff McDonald and Go-Go’s Charlotte Caffey, was another series of badass assaults with a hardcore beat and plenty of bullet short songs that Astrid was screaming at the face of the crowd. She had some fierce stage presence, but the fact the band is called The Side Eye, whereas her mother was in a punk band called The Eyes during her pre-Go-Go’s days, undoubtedly demonstrates she is embracing her punk heritage… With the Devine brother (Kevin and Chris) and drummer Nick Arnold, she is nevertheless opting for much more hardcore and rawer sound than her parents. Each one of her moves and facial expressions was fueled by bottomless anger, unfiltered aggression, and defiant numbers. ‘I Hate Dates’, ‘False World’… was screaming Astrid, maybe addressing the preparation for the most prestigious awards of the music industry happening barely 2 miles from there.