Showing posts with label The Echo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Echo. Show all posts

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Nightmare Air at the Echo

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After shooting the Rolling Stones at Staples Center, I bolted down to the Echo to catch Nightmare Air. It has been a few years since I last saw them at the Echo back in December of 2009. Co-fronted by Dave Dupuis (Vocals/Guitars) and Swaan Miller (Vocals/Bass) along with the thunderous drumming of Jimmy Lucido, Nightmare Air were even louder than I remembered.

It was a storm of feedback and noise floating above a fuzzed out bass lines and syncopated drums. Dupuis's ability to construct walls of noise and sound isn't surprising given his pedigree of playing guitar in the dearly missed Film School. "18 Days" was monumental with Miller's swooning vocals and Dupuis's contrasting vocal screams complementing his blasts of guitars.

High in the Lasers is their debut album and it is as intoxicating as their live performances. Some of their other highly recommended tunes include "Escape" and "Icy Daggers". Nightmare Air will be back to blast your eardrums on May 30th at the Silverlake Lounge and I recommend you go and don't forget to bring your earplugs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart at the Echo

It was a hot summer day and an even hotter line up at the Echo. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart kicked off their tour after their well received set at the Pitchfork Festival.

Champagne Socialists

Champagne Socialists kicked things off with a garage rocky set led by the spunky lead vocals of Jihae Simmons Meek. They seemed like a young band trying to work out the kinks as indicated by their myspace page originating back to November of 2008. They happen to be labelmates of The Pain of Being Pure At Heart with their EP being released on Slumberland records.

I was thinking their set might have been more appropriate for the Smell. It was no coincidence that they will be playing the Smell in November after their short tour with The Pains of Being Pure At Heart ends. They reminded me vocally of Dance Hall Crashers if they listened to Sixties garage rock especially "Teardrop Tattoo".


Girls started slow but finished extremely strong. Looking like they just got off the trolley from San Francisco, Girls defied my visual expectations with a solid sonically sculpted set. "Solitude" was my only prior exposure to their wide branching sounds with its breezy '50s stylized rock.

The Girls recently made headlines about their penchant for drugs elucidated by Stereogum. It was interesting to note the Girls walk the walk and talk the talk as the members had some dark circles under their eyes. I guess they didn't get much sleep the night before.

I also dug their live rendition of "Hellhole Rat Race". I will be investigating their full length album when it is released. Girls will be back soon opening for Los Campesinos! at the El Rey Theatre on August 21 and Detroit Bar on August 23. I hope to catch one of those shows.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart might be the easiest and longest term to google for a band name. While they probably should have consulted someone prior to choosing their band name, they don't need any lessons on creating catchy tunes.

I had heard "Young Adult Friction" and was intrigued enough to check them out. In the gear department, I was excited when I saw a Nord Lead 2x keyboard for Peggy Wang (Keyboards/Vocals) and a homemade fuzz pedal setup for Kip Berman. (Vocals/Guitars).

I will admit I am a sucker for jangly guitars. It just so happened that the guitars didn't relent with their sugary textures. It was difficult to hear Peggy's keyboards in the mix but the two guitars roared all night backed by the constant thumping of Alex Naidus (Bass) and Kurt Feldman (Drums).

What really sold me was how impressive their new songs sounded. A new EP will be released on September 22 entitled Higher Than The Stars. The title track had parts of Teenage Fanclub mixed with elements of Stone Roses as I couldn't help bounce along. The songs are short and sweet with addiction potential of your favorite candy.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart will be back for a show at the Troubadour on September 19th with Cymbals Eat Guitars and the Depreciation Guild along with a stop at the Casbah on September 21st. I will definitely catch them again.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gliss at the Echo


A week ago, I managed to quickly run upstairs to the Echo to check in with Gliss. They just wrapped up a US tour supporting their brillant new album Devotion Implosion. I was torn because Amusement Parks On Fire were playing downstairs at the Echoplex but I had to watch a few songs of Gliss before returning downstairs.

Gliss will be heading out to across the pond for more touring but you have one last chance to catch them tomorrow before they leave. The best part is that Gliss is playing with a killer line-up that is a benefit for the Sante D'Or Foundation.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rival Schools at the Echo

Remember when MTV showed videos? It was one of the ways that you found out about bands. I vividly remember watching Headbanger's Ball on MTV when they showed the video for "Fazer" by Quicksand. I immediately went to my local record store and picked up the cd.

Quicksand was the project of Walter Schreifels (Vocals/Guitars) who was previously in the influential hardcore band Gorilla Biscuits. I did manage to see Quicksand once back in 1995 when they opened for the Offspring. Quicksand will most likely never reunite but Walter did soldier on to form Rival Schools which tapped into the more melodic vibe of Quicksand.

Rival Schools

I think I still have my ticket stub for the cancelled Troubadour show for Rival Schools. I thoroughly enjoyed their debut album United By Fate which had Walter handling the rhythm guitars while Ian Love (Guitars) added various textures. The howling guitar octaves from "Travel By Telephone" were quickly followed by the tight rhythm section of Cache Tolman (Bass) and Sammy Siegler (Drums) as Rival Schools sounded tight from the start. It was a little disheartening that Walter's vocals seemed to be mixed too low throughout the night but I knew the lyrics well enough to fill in the gaps.

A screaming wah pedal signaled "High Acetate" as Walter was bouncing around with his Gibson Les Paul. Things slowed down for a minute as they tackled "Everything Has It's Point" but the song has a great sing along chorus. Walter thanked the crowd for coming out and announced that Rival Schools was working on a new album as they debuted a few new tracks. "A Parts for B Actors" and "Big Waves" were some of the new tracks they played .

A pit broke out at the Echo when the crowd realized they were covering "How Soon Is Now?" by The Smiths. As a devoted Quicksand fan, I was shocked that Rival Schools would rekindle the tune. In the Napster days, I "may" have scoured the net for Quicksand's cover of this song. Walter has long proclaimed his admiration for Morrissey and I even have his solo cover of "Ask" on the How Soon Is Now? Smiths tribute album. "Used For Glue" was the perfect closer to the evening as the devoted fans in the crowd sang along with Walter when the rest of the band purposely dropped out. Rival Schools used this show as a warm up to Liskfest and I will let everyone know when their next album is released.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cut Copy at the Echo

Who would be courageous enough to open for Daft Punk on their tour of Australia? The answer would be Cut Copy along with their label mates in crime The Presets. Since Daft Punk are from another planet, Cut Copy and The Presets are two of the top live electronica acts on Earth.

Walter Meego

Walter Meego kicked off the dance party with the vocoder heavy intro to "Girls" from their upcoming release "Voyager". It was a mixture of Phoenix, and Elefant swirled with a heavy dose of synthesizers. The core duo of Walter Meego is Justin Sconza (Vocals/Keyboards/Guitar) and Colin Yarck (Keyboards) with the help of Andrew Bernhardt on guitars. Justin was switching between his Korg MS-20 and a Fender Stratocaster as he played their infectious dance pop. "Forever" is the song that slightly reminded me of Phoenix before it kicks into overdrive with fat synthesizer bass and stabs of electric guitars. "Keyhole" was an intense display of guitar and synthesizer wizardry mashed together like chocolate and peanut butter. "Lost" is their ace in the hole with its massive synthesizer hooks and stuttering electronic drum beats that is a direct homage to Daft Punk. "Breaking Your Heart" was another dose of sugar coated synthesizers with a funky breakdown in the middle of the song that really lets the crowd cut loose. I enjoyed their programming skills and the incorporation of guitars into their music. Walter Meego will actually be back to open for the Presets on May 20th at the El Rey and I recommend you get there early to check them out.

Cut Copy

The line of people trying to get into the Cut Copy show was apparently a mile deep as it winded over the bridge. I always recommend people buy presale tickets for shows at The Echo if they think it will sell out. A lot of disappointed fans learned the harsh reality of this fact the hard way when they were turned away at the door. Cut Copy could have easily sold out the Echoplex.

I have attended a lot of shows at the Echo and I can safely say that Cut Copy blew the roof off the Echo. The Echo was as hot as a sauna as the sweat was dripping from the ceiling as Cut Copy played a set that will be talked about for sometime. "So Haunted" set the Echo on fire early with its driving guitars and synthesizer lines pouring down like gasoline on the fire as Dan Whitford (Guitars/Synths/Vocals) led the charge along with Tim Hoey (Guitars/Bass) and Mitchell Scott (Drums). I wasn't surprised to see a Sonic Youth sticker on Tim's slick Fender Jazzmaster after he mentioned in his interview that Cut Copy wouldn't exist without Sonic Youth. "So Haunted" is the lead single from their impending Modular records release "In Ghost Colours".

Dan introduced "Time Stands Still" as a song from their first album "Bright Like Neon Love" that no one probably has. He was wrong as the whole crowd emphatically clapped and sang along to the tune and danced away to the slinky bass line. The temperature in the Echo was rising fast with no signs of slowing down. "Going Nowhere" was next as the crowd could not stop moving and the push to the front of the stage started commence. Tim was slashing his way through the mini guitar solo as Dan would sing the refrain of "Going Nowhere". "That Was Just A Dream" was another homage to Daft Punk replete with hand claps and sultry bass grooves that had a countdown in the middle of the song to make the crowd go even crazier.

"Lights and Music" had the mercury in the Echo thermometer explode as Cut Copy had the whole crowd in the palm of their hand. The song had a heavier dose of Tim's guitars that infused even more life to the track. I give higher ratings to electronica acts that are not afraid to break out the guitars and drums to enhance the live element of their songs."Future" had Tim add some winding delay guitars backed by the steady beat of Mitchell. A series of guitar feedback noises soon gave way to the hypnotic New Order "Republic" era influenced "Hearts on Fire" that incited another crowd clap along. I can't remember the last time I heard saxophone synthesizer samples that actually worked in the context of a song without sounding cheesy. The encore consisted of "Far Away" from their new album that also had some New Order streaks of influence coursing through the song. I was not surprised that "Saturdays" closed out their set as the entire crowd was singing along and Dan instructed the audience to jump along as he abused the the modulation wheel on his Dave Smith keyboard for an emphatic close out to their electrifying set. I will go on record to say that Cut Copy will have one of the breakout performances of Coachella if they can reconstitute the same energy they had at the Echo and amplify it the masses.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Radar Bros at the Echo

The Radar Bros closed out their Monday night residency in grand style at the Echo with a super stacked line up of Everest, Brian Aubert and Adeline. The Radar Bros were celebrating the release of their latest album "Auditorium".


Russ Pollard and Jim Fairchild from All Smiles

Everest impressed me when I reviewed their show at Spaceland when they opened for the Parson Red Heads. The Echo was decidedly more occupied when Everest took to the stage. Everest upped the ante and turned in a markedly tighter set. "Into Your Soft Heart" had a sharp edge with Jason Soda (Guitars/Keys) adding Rhodes keyboards to the syncopated guitar riffs of Joel Graves (Guitars) and Russ Pollard (Vocals/Guitars). I was on Jason's side during the Spaceland show and was impressed by his guitar work. I opted for Joel's side during this show and was equally impressed. Joel also had a massive pedal board that he effectively used for some different overdrives and textures. The highlight of their stellar set was Jim Fairchild of All Smiles took a guest turn armed with an acoustic guitar. Jim doesn't need any introduction due to his contributions to Grandaddy. I remember going to two nights in a row at the Wiltern to see Pete Yorn, Grandaddy and Year of the Rabbit in 2003 and having my mind blown. Everest will be playing at Boardner's on Feb 19th which I recommend you attend before they start playing larger venues. Everest may be a Spaceland residency away from bigger things.

Brian Aubert from the Silversun Pickups

"Carnavas" was my favorite album of 2006. When I caught wind that Brian Aubert would be doing an acoustic set, I thought it would be based on some solo material. It turns out it was a fierce rendition of the well known Silversun Pickups tunes. I originally caught an acoustic set from Brian back in December of 2006 at Fingerprints records that I reviewed here. I can honestly say that his Echo performance was astounding. "Well Thought Out Twinkles" was the first song that Brian tackled as he managed to make the song sound full without the waves of fuzz that normally accompanies the tune. "Rusted Wheel" was next on the docket and was performed flawlessly. Nikki Monninger (Bass/Vocals) soon appeared to lend her vocal talents on "Kissing Families". Irony was in the air as they covered "Creation Lake" from The Movies as some of the band members from The Movies looked on. "Big Time Sensuality" translated very well into an acoustic based song as Brian played very softly during some parts of the song. "Common Reactor" is easily my favorite song from "Carnavas" and was outstanding as Brian explained they were going for a John Hughes film vibe that I think they managed to capture with lyrics of "a colorless picture in a heart shaped frame". Jim Putnam from the Radar Bros would help Brian cap his set with a duet of "You And The Father". Did I mention this show was free? I felt I needed to pay someone at this point.

Brian Aubert from the Silversun Pickups setlist at the Echo (1/28/08)
"Well Thought Out Twinkles"
"Rusted Wheel"
"Kissing Families"
"Creation Lake"
"Future Foe Scenarios"
"Big Time Sensuality" (Bjork Cover)
"Lazy Eye"
"Common Reactor"
"Shadowplay" (Joy Division Cover)
"You And The Father" (Radar Bros)

Radar Bros

Radar Bros have a rich history with Jim Putnam (Guitars/Vocals) being a founding member of Medicine. "Auditorium" continues their enrich the sonic territory that they have covered with songs like "Hearts Of Crows". Radar Bros don't wallop you over the head with sound but instead take the softer is louder approach of rocking you softly. It was easy to close your eyes and let the music take control as you gently swayed or taped your foot in time with the music. Radar Bros would fit nicely along side of your Grandaddy albums. "Papillon" was a crowd favorite as Jim gently strummed through the song. I have been to a lot of shows at the Echo and can state that I have never witnessed a two song encore during a residency on a Monday. The Radar Bros will be playing the Orange County Museum of Art on February 21st in which I plan on doing a double show review when I bolt down to the Detroit Bar to catch The Album Leaf for a night cap.


Adeline came on stage sometime after 1:00 a.m. and it seemed like the Echo consisted of local band members and myself at this point. Adeline is another local super group consisting of members from The Movies, Le Switch, and the Radar Bros. When do these people get the time to practice and write? I forgot that they are extremely talented and manage to find time. Adeline (Vocals/Guitar) immediately reminded me of Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star as she started singing "Where The Bees Don't Bite". Jim Putnam (Bass) and Aaron Kyle (Guitars) provided the all star rhythm section as Brian Cleary (Keyboards) added the atmosphere via his Kurzweil keyboard with drum shuffling courtesy of Stevie Treichel (Drums). Adeline could easily make it on the Everest fast track if they keep playing around town. I only wish more people could have witnessed the magic on stage.