Saturday, June 23, 2012

Little Red Lung, Pisces... and Tonight

Turnout was great for the Little Red Lung video release show at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts last night, June 22, 2012, with the added bonus of watching Sarah Negahdari 's new band, Pisces, blossom right before our astonished eyes. The setting was the sublimely atmospheric Spanish mission-style hall on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock (a formidable bus ride). The art exhibit that accompanied the show was exquisite, and I was glad to meet one of the artists, Adam Pernell Deal, whose self portraits were profoundly revealing. The whole atmosphere was one of explosive creativity.

When I saw both bands perform together last January at Hotel Cafe, I was impressed with the sense of two artists breaking barriers and forging new styles. For Sarah it was an opportunity to go more personal and move from the realm of pure rock with The Happy Hollows to an experimental, genre-bending blend of interpretive rock that must have been inside her all along. For Zoe-Ruth Erwin it was the chance to hear her compositions fully realized with the proper musicians for an overwhelming, sweeping sound.

Aided by her trusty band of musicians, including Charlie Mahoney on bass, Chris Hernandez on drums and occasionally, Nick Ceglio,or totally solo, Sarah's songs for Pisces are a strange mix that pull you in not only by the personal nature of the lyrics, but also the incredible range in her vocals. When I heard the songs before they were in their early stages, but the sound here, in this cathedral like building added an incredible echo that made the place ring like a bell. Especially impressive was the final number when they were joined by a seated sitar player adding a whole new Indian-raga flavor to the set and bringing it to an ecstatic close. 

Soon afterward, Little Red Lung presented a video for the song "50 Fingers", directed by portraitist Sarah Sitkin, that is easily one of the best I've ever seen. The surrealistic imagery fits perfectly with the haunted Berlin beer-hall sound of some time long-ago alongside the oceanic orchestral sound of her mini-orchestra. Poetic and unsettling, it was a tough act for the band to follow. The crowd was wowed. But live, Zoe-Ruth and her crowded stage of musicians still managed to match the power of the video. Kevin premieres the video over here at Buzzbands.

Beginning with a live version of "50 Fingers" they played a set that completely enveloped the room with a tidal wave of varied sounds, all anchored by Zoe Ruth's bizarre and heady compositions. She also possesses one of the most beautiful voices in the local scene and compliments it with other excellent singers that are never buried under all the orchestration. The songs are so complex, I don't doubt she could write a symphony.

Atmospheric and hypnotic I stood there swaying back and forth as if in a trance. That seemed to be the effect the set had on everyone there, as afterward people wandered around as if a bomb had gone off. The band expanded and contracted with each number like some kind of living, breathing animal. Strings, saxophones, trumpets, keys, pre-recorded material, all had their place and were carefully balanced.

It was a lot to take in and I was glad there were only two bands, as any more would have made my head explode. For these sets of music, the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts was the perfect setting providing an almost reverent environment for the proceedings. I don't think people who were there will ever forget it.

(concert photos by me.)

Now tonight, June23, 2012, I have to head over to Santa Monica to this show:

Headliners, Radars To The Sky put this together, with Radio Free Silver Lake (where you can read a column by Andrew Spitzer of Radars on 5 favorite songs here) and it's a great line up of varied and talented bands ranging from local darlings, The Hectors, to the 'burning up the town!' band Torches, who are about to embark on a tour of the Northwest and gather a huge new following.

Also on the bill are Fort King, who are blazing a new trail with a new line up and newcomer, songwriter/pianist Ceeca. Music starts at 8. Gotta go.


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