by Brad Roberts
What a way to start the week. With a blow-out worthy of a Saturday night! I've heard the night described as epic and awesome. It was both. Monday July 30 will be remembered by me as a day that bled into Tuesday and maybe even into Wednesday. Am I still somewhere at the Echoplex? This review will probably be a little blurry.
The plan was to attend the screening of the documentary, PASS THE MUSIC, at 7:30, followed by live sets from four bands. But I had to get home from work, eat something, and get over to Echo Park, all within about an hour. It couldn't be done so I ended up getting off the bus around 9 as I saw Ben Golombrunning up the street with a Blu-Ray player under his arm.
It was needed to show the music videos for Seasons and Torches, following the movie, which was running late. I was glad because I got to see the last segment with The Movies and see some of the filmed performance they gave at Bordello which the documentary shows in beautiful color and with great sound. Powerful stuff! As erratic and unpredictable as Timothy James live shows could be, when the guy was on...he was on! And this performance shows it off.
The Echoplex was filled with a crowd of friendly faces and could have been a scene right out of 2009, when a night at Spaceland used to seem like a private party with all the usual suspects. It just showed me how vibrant and alive the music scene still is in 2012. And the live performances were an affirmation of that fact. Body Parts opened the show and they showed an admirable command of the stage with their high-pitched lead singer effortlessly in control of a very flexible vocal range. Their songs were odd and quirky in a retro-new wave kind of style. Fun band.
But the venue was filling up, and there were many distractions, and people to talk to, so I couldn't give the band the attention they deserved. I'll just say I enjoyed what I heard and I liked their style. There was lots of patio action outside making it necessary to check out what was going on out there periodically. Seamus Simpson, Kathryn Pinto and I even posed for a RFSL staff photo. I feel like the happy idiot.
I headed back inside when I heard the strains of Torches in the distance. It's remarkable how far this band has come in just the past few months. Fresh from their recent Northwestern tour, the band performs at peak performance right now and the sound balance was so good on Monday that the vocals sounded clearer and better than ever. And the three of them play with such driving force and energy that the music has real impact.
The lighting and rear projection were nicely integrated into the set enabling me to get a close-up and a medium shot in the same picture.
Next up was Seasons, who have been absent from the local stage for a few months...far too long. This band has long bedazzled me and they did it again on Monday. They played a variety of new and old tunes and the whole band sounded as cohesive and as shimmering as ever. Nic and Kaitlin performed a duet that blossomed into the full band that was quite stunning. I'll let the pictures tell the story.
An adoring crowd happily welcomed them back and they reciprocated that love with a super set. I always get a lift from this band. They kindly took me back to the Echoplex'green room', which is about the size of a bathtub, but it helped me to continue my tour of the back stages of Los Angeles clubs.
The festive atmosphere really kicked into high gear with the appearance of Manhattan Murder Mystery on the stage. Are they everybody's favorite party band? It sure seems so. The three pictures below will give you an idea of how their set progressed. Matthew Teardrop wrings every bit of poetry and venom out of his lyrics and the audiience gobbles it up.
As you can see I made it to the end of the Manhattan Murder Mystery set by which time the stage was overflowing with guests and assorted band members all slamming out the music. As is often the case with this band...it was catharcic. Another memorable night at Echoplex that stands with The Rock and Roll Circus and The Christmas Sweater Festival as landmark shows at this venue.