Saturday, July 5, 2008

Release the Tourbillons!

Thursday night (July 3) was a three-in-one home run at the CD launch party for The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra at the Echo (probably four if I had been able to stay for the last band). Terrific line up sponsored by L.A. Underground, Radio Free Silver Lake and Web In Front began with Fol Chen firing up the audience with their unique, endlessly genre-bending program effortlessly inducing the audience to a state of jaw-dropped attention. I love the new songs they keep doing, which spin them off into even other genres. I'm baffled that anyone could stand still while they played. They just dig right into your bones and make you move. Adam sometimes seems as much magician as musician with the spell he can weave...I feel privileged to watch. And they're all such great singers, I love their little acappella parts. Keeping up with all the sudden shifts in their music makes it challenging and exciting to me. The only other band I can think to compare them to is Starlight Mints with their shape-shifting musical style. They announced an upcoming CD release in January which will be highly anticipated.

I'd heard the name Stevenson Ranch Dividians for a while now and kind of loved the name...and all it's implications, but had just been too lazy to research on myspace or to listen to them at all. So when they started up and I heard that sound, I became instantly transfixed. The guitars, the voice, that rhythm...I thought, "Oh my god, it's Brian Jonestown Massacre, but without the face-kicking!" Yet it was different, too. It had it's own style and sound, it sounded new and different. The beautiful, dreamy, languid motion of the music was echoed by the movement of the crowd in response and enhanced by Dwayne Seagraves remarkable vocals. Each song sounded like a fully formed rock and roll classic. Incredible! Clear, straightforward, unpretentious lyrics make each song interesting.. All through this I observed dazed audience members leaning forward, listening intently, as if hanging on every note, eyes wide as saucers, mouthing the giant word "WOW!" to each other. This band was making an impression and that's a really great moment to witness. O.K., their music reminded me, among a lot of things, of a jangly, loopy Lovin' Spoonful, of a Grateful Dead jam, and indebted to, but not a copy of Brian Jonestown Massacre (I even think their second song was a Jonestown cover), but they're just carrying on the tradition of solid rock and roll songwriting into the 21st century. I'm sorry I've missed so many of their local shows but I can promise, I won't miss any more. Also bought their CD and it represents their sound perfectly.

A really good crowd was on hand for The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra, since there's been a bit of media buzz around this show, and the band responded with an uptempo, robust set. The playing sounded more forceful than usual with lots of punch. Performing songs off their new EP "Escapements", their upbeat, pop songs about death and the impossibility of survival (after all, nobody gets out of this alive) warm the heart with their ironic honesty. Coupled with Hunter Costeau's other "I love you, but..."-songs, you get an idea of the band's take on fate. They're either pessimistic optimists or optimistic pessimists... I haven't made up my mind.

I love this band and its individual members and it's great to see the local community so supportive of those who give so much back already. This band is a really choice bunch of human beings. Also, splendid vocals by Hunter and Kelli Noftle...everybody, great job! Congratulation on the CD and it's beautiful artwork. It sounds AMAZING!

Thanks to everyone that makes me feel welcome at these events. It's an honor to be with you.


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