Sunday, June 15, 2008

Crowd Reaches Euphoria at the Echo (June 13)

Thursday June12, beginning a run of six shows in eight days, I went to the Unknown Theatre, on Santa Monica Blvd. and Seward, around midnight to see The Poor Excuses play at a venue that doubles as a legitimate theatre earlier in the evening. Wandering down to that neighborhood at midnight on foot could seem like a risky venture, but actually, once you start eastward into the theatre district there are clusters of theatregoers outside each playhouse. This theatre is smallish and intimate, but warm and inviting. The bands perform on a stage set, a dramatic kind of forced perspective of a ladder/staircase swooping up to the top of the back wall, which is bathed in an orange to yellow spectrum suggesting sunset. Great environment to walk into, and being a theatre, the acoustics were terrific. I took a seat and watched The Teanecks perform a good set of straightforward, folk-tinged rock (similar to Irving) with some strong vocals and sharp playing. A little after 12:30 The Poor Excuses took the stage. Andrew Lynch is a terrific keyboard player (he also plays with Earlimart) and he and the band tore through a set of post-punklike songs with pretty boundless energy, considering the hour. It was almost surreal, seeing bands in a setting like this, with a different kind of visual excitement that was more than just a lightshow. I would love to see more bands this way and it's so great to see the arts community supporting each other.

A secret show was scheduled for Friday night (June 13) at the Echoplex by Beck at 8:00, so when I arrived there for The Submarines show at the Echo, I was surprised to look down from the overpass on Sunset to see no one down by the Echoplex entrance. Proceeding to the Echo boxoffice I saw a long line running down the block only to find out that Beck had cancelled due to illness. I've been lucky enough to catch his secret shows at the Echo a couple of times in (I think) 2006, I assumed the line was dissappointed Beck fans who decided to stay and see this show instead, but seeing the show, I realized, no, they were rabid Submarine fans. The place was packed, but I met up with some friends, and settled in to watch Castledoor win over yet another crowd, which they proceeded to do with dispatch. Right on their first song, "Burn the Maps", they had the audience eating out of their hand. Wild cheers greeted each song they played, and the crowd and the band ratcheted up each other's energy. This band amazes me... and the bubble machine worked this time. The Submarines came on amidst roars of approval even before they began, and they seemed charmingly overwhelmed at the response. They played a good set and this was the first time I've seen them with a drummer who definitely adds to their live soundscape. I haven't seen this band in over a year and didn't know how big they've become. This music scene is going to burst wide open right before our very eyes real soon. You can see it beginning to happen at a show like this. L.A. is a great place to be!


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