Red Bull Sound Select’s February show, curated by Amoeba Music, went off like a firecracker doused in whiskey Thursday night, with kids lining up along Glendale Blvd. all the way to Echo Park Lake for the chance to see FIDLAR and others at The Echoplex for three bucks.
Isaac Rother & The Phantoms opened the show with a set of songs inspired by classic rock ‘n’ roll, early blues and “Monster Mash”-style novelty songs of the ’50s and ’60s. Rother’s sneering, shivering delivery helped sell campy lyrics about phantoms and such, with Rother sporting a shock of afroed hair and a black robe that made him look like a cult leader. Now a Los Angeles resident after moving from Olympia, Wash., Rother’s new backup band impressed as well, offering heavy, thumping blues rock accompaniment and powerful female backup vocals from on songs like standout “My Cryin’ Eyes.”
Cherry Glazerr came next, playing fizzy female-fronted alt-rock jams like “Haxel Princess,” a single from their excellent, recently released album of the same name. They followed with the minor-key “Trick or Treat Dancefloor,” and the crowd showed they were just as comfortable swaying to Cherry Glazerr’s dreamier numbers as they were moshing to songs like frothy rocker “Whites Not My Color This Evening.” Credit to Cherry Glazerr for not just speeding everything up given the size of the show, staying true to themselves and displaying impressive, Pixies-ish dynamics. They ended with “Bloody Bandaid,” a stream-of-consciousness-style dream-popper that another band might fumble but that Cherry Glazerr, young as they are, spin into youthful gold.
Cheatahs took off with non-stop, pounding shoegaze riffs. Heirs to the Swervedriver school of contusion-causing guitar noise, the British band proved a nice counterpoint to the garagier bands on the bill. Though glorious guitar noise is the band’s chief selling point, buried underneath the din are songs that showed through, especially tuneful songs like “The Swan,” taken from their recently released self-titled album. I’m sure they made more than a few new fans that night.
If FIDLAR were on a victory lap, given their epic 2013, they sure didn’t show it. They launched into the nasty riffs of “White on White” like it was the first time, sending lots of skinny legs crowdsurfing into the air. “Stoked and Broke” sounded perfectly anti-anthemic with its four-chord Nuggets riff and lyrics like “I just wanna get really high, smoke weed until I die.” Though FIDLAR have always played the part of the degenerate L.A. scuzz-rockers, people wouldn’t care nearly as much as they do if the songs weren’t there, as jams like “Max Can’t Surf” attest, which threatens to fall apart amid its acidic verses before coming together for bubblegum-poppin’ choruses. It was a great homecoming for the boys after a terrific debut record, tour with the Pixies and a generally awesome year.
Photos by Erik Voake/Red Bull Content Pool
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