Benefit shows can be hit or miss but the line up of Karin Tatoyan, Afternoons, The Franks, and The Pity Party was a hit. The show was a benefit for the Sweet Relief Organization which provides financial assistance to musicians with illness, disability and age-related problems.
Karin Tatoyan raised many eyebrows when I saw her Spaceland show opening for the Pity Party. Karin's voice is distinctive and attention grabbing as she is backed by an extremely capable band that mixes various ingredients of French horn, Cello, electronic glitches and ethereal keyboards. The comparisons to Bjork's voice will be referenced throughout her career but on this particular night I also heard some influence of Dolores O'Riordan from the Cranberries. "Someday I Will Inform You" started off the evening with a slow ember burning build of musical sounds as Karin commands your attention with her voice. "Fit In" is hypnotic with its psychosis fueled piano keys. I also enjoyed a portion of the show that had Karin sing into the pickup of the cello as it was sampled and played back. I envision her show at the Wiltern with a larger backing band in the near future.
The Franks seemed really familiar to me for some reason and I couldn't put my finger on it for some reason. I later realized that The Franks are led by Colin Stutz (Vocals/Guitars) who I met at a Beck secret show a few years ago. Colin wanted a photo of my Beck setlist for his article for Filter magazine. It was funny to see Colin on TV later on as part of the "I'm From Rolling Stone" reality show. Colin now fronts the rambling garage rock of The Franks. The songs didn't last past a few minutes and came in rapid fire. They were not necessarily tight, but I think that was the point. It was a sloppy fun filled set.
Irving unfortunately has split up since Alex Church went on to form Sea Wolf. The rest of Irving have moved on to start the Afternoons. I was eager to check out the Afternoons since I really enjoyed all of Irving's material. The Afternoons delivered a sparkling set that strayed only slightly from the musical styles of Irving. A propulsive bass riff kicked off "Graffiti Artist" as the jangling guitars glided into place. My ears were already perked when a trumpet sounded to fill out their sound. Brian Canning and Steven Scott handled the guitars and vocals with Claire Mckeown adding another layer of opera like vocals. The Afternoons only have four songs on their Myspace page but I assume they will have some more material in time for their Spaceland residency in June. It won't take long for the Afternoons to reconstitute the buzz they had with Irving and propel them to greater heights.
The Pity Party
The Pity Party continues to rock my world. M (Guitars/Vocals) and Heisenflei (Drums/Vocals) are embarking on a mini tour of the UK so I figured I would catch their show before NME gets wind of their fiery live act and puts them on the cover of their magazine. "Every A.M." has been their trademark opening song that melted in a barrage of feedback by M as they segued into the drum machine beat of "The Natural Want". The crackling feedback continued to snarl as "Yr Life=Nice" taxed the speaker cones of the house system. "Love Lies" is as warm and fuzzy as it sounds in a bizarre Pity Party fashion as the guitars and drums are mashed together. I still can't put my finger on why I like "HOTS" so much but I think it lies somewhere in the drum beat and the multitude of tempo changes. The Pity Party don't have anymore Los Angeles dates scheduled anytime soon, but I recommend all my UK readers do whatever they can to see one of Los Angeles's finest bands.