The line up was stacked high for the Radars to Sky residency Monday night at the Echo. I was feeling a little under the weather but was determined to catch one heck of a line up.
Christian Biel (Guitars/Vocals) has to be one of the more expressive guitarists/vocalists in the Los Angeles area with his compelling performance leading The Transmissions through a tight set. Christian manages to fill up their sonic landscape with a mixture of howling overdriven and space tinged guitar tones from his Fender Telecaster. Corey Lyons (Bass) and Denise Duncan (Drums) did an excellent job keeping pace with Christian's hyper-kinetic riffs and movements. Christian also had a bevy of effects pedals including a Electro Harmonix POG and sampler to help propel his sound into another galaxy. "Over Saving Mountain" had a prog like feel with it pulsating laser keyboards as Christian methodically sprayed guitar notes throughout the song. I will keep a close eye on the Transmissions.
The Henry Clay People
The pictures above can only partially explain the event that is The Henry Clay People. The Henry Clay People didn't really need to expand their sound but added Joe Napolitano from Le Switch on keyboards and Jonathan Price from I Make This Sound to really hit the audience over the head. Andy and Joey Siara are the local version of the Gallagher brothers with their penchant for antagonizing each other on stage and general debauchery. You couldn't help but raise your whiskey shot to the air as the band ripped into "Working Part Time" as the guitars jangled at high volume. Andy Siara (Guitars/Vocals) was sporting a shiny Fender Telecaster Deluxe in lieu of his Fender Jazzmaster and coaxed some rocking twang from his amp. I also appreciate the random cover songs they throw into their sets as they tackled the Traveling Wilburys "Handle With Care" and Andy did his best impersonation of Roy Orbison. The band also coaxed the audience into a barrage of well timed jumps whilst rocking out. The Henry Clay People will be visiting the residencies of Le Switch and Mezzanine Owls next month so make sure you catch at least one of those shows.
Radars To The Sky
The Henry Clay People are a tough bunch to follow but Radars To The Sky proved to be extremely worthy of their residency at the Echo with a compelling performance. They list some of my favorite bands as influences like Archers of Loaf, Pavement, Grandaddy and The Smiths. Andrew Spitser (Vocals/Guitars) has a distinctive voice that slightly reminded me of the Smoking Popes. "Victoria" was a dynamic blast of frantic guitars and bouncy keyboards that were pulled together nicely by Andrew's longing vocals. "Sunk My Teeth" had plenty of false starts and stops with excellent contrast between Andrew's Fender Stratocaster clean guitar blasts and Seamus Simpson's slightly distorted Les Paul. I was highly impressed by their Pixies cover of "Alec Eiffel" as this song does not immediately jump out as one to cover but Radars To The Sky nailed it. "Selfish Kids" was a new song that reverberated loudly and bounced around the Echo. "Wave By The Sun" has to be one of the more off kilter tunes in their catalog as the guitars ricochet around your skull as the song has a slight Pavement alt country vibe. I will try and swing by their last night of their residency at the Echo on April 28th.
Death To Anders
I was excited to see Death To Anders as I still have their album Fictitious Business in constant rotation. Rob Danson (Guitars/Vocals) got immediate points for being one of the few Los Angeles guitarists with a Paul Reed Smith. This is not to take away anything from Nic Ceglio (Guitars/Vocals) who was strumming his red Fender Telecaster. Death To Anders played a quiet set that capped the night perfectly. As much as I was dying to hear "Ghost Rock", it wouldn't have fit the mood of their set. "Doll" had a sharper edge to the song as it closed out with a fury of squalls. "Camera Lens" sounded even more fractured and urgent with its angular guitars. I was hoping Sarah Negahdari from the Happy Hollows would jump up on stage but she was busy dancing in front of the stage and cheering them along. I need to catch them again to hear the elusive "Ghost Rock".