Moris Tepper @ The Echo 7/16/07

As published in L.A. Record:

Holy god, Moris Tepper is my new hero. Though familiar to me as former guitarist of Captain Beefheart and colleague of PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, Robyn Hitchcock and Frank Black, I had never before heard his solo work. And to think I almost missed out on last night’s show, nearly falling into a lame TV-induced coma on my couch. But thanks to my friend Keith, I was jolted back to the realm of the conscious upon receipt of an intriguing cellular text message: “are you going to the echo tonight? I saw him with beefheart the night I was born.” Now I had no choice but to go, if not just to find out what the hell he was talking about.

Once I got there I was immediately transfixed by the amazing sounds coming from the stage – raw, impassioned and loud. Along with a phenomenal bass player and amazing drummer (whose names I regrettably didn’t catch), Moris’ set flowed in and out of genres, from garagey punk to artsy blues rock to country and back again, executed with exceptional skill and precision.

After that beyond amazing set I finally heard the story behind the lovely text message that praise to God and all Creation got my ass to the show. After a Captain Beefheart show at the Whiskey one December night in 1980, Keith’s parents went happily home, only to leave again a short while later to the hospital and welcome their new baby into the world. Joyous an occasion as it was, they couldn’t help but be somewhat bummed to have to give up their Beefheart tickets for the following night’s show. So they gave their tickets to some friends along with an LP to be signed by the band. Transcribed with messages like “To the mother” and “Love over Reagan ’80,” it still hangs on their wall.

Advertisements

Lemon Sun @ the Echo 12/5/06

My friend Vivian decided to celebrate turning a quarter-of-a-century old with a delectable dinner at Malo followed up by Lemon Sun’s show at The Echo. On the day I received her evite, I happened to discover that losanjealous.com was having a giveaway for the show. Since I’ve been amazingly good ticket-winning karma as of late, I entered, and on the day of the show I received an email informing me that I’d won a pair of tickets. Oh, how I hope this streak doesn’t end any time soon…

Seeing this band perform live was an unexpected treat. I’d never heard them before and wasn’t exactly overwhelmed by their mp3s on Myspace. However, after seeing them onstage, it’s clear that this band was made for live performances. The band churned out indie pop mixed with hints of soul and rock with an ever-so-slight psychedelic edge. I’m still surprised the stage didn’t catch ablaze with all the energy that was bursting out of each of the five members, and especially from the frontman, who I could have sworn was the doppelganger of Mickey Dolenz circa 1968. Hosted by oddball duo The Mistress of Judgement & The Fool, the show also featured a magician, the Echo Park ice cream man, and a new line of vintage Lemon Sun clothing. The bartenders will served up a special alcoholic concoction dubbed a Lemon Sun Drop. And as a special holiday treat, everyone in the door received a free compilation of past Spaceland Recordings and was promised to be emailed MP3s and an iPod video of the night’s show. I did not anticipate just how foot-stompingly danceable they would be live.

I also did not anticipate the level of audience interaction that would take place. During the middle of their set the band handed out a box full of mini tambourines to those of us in the front, giving us an active role in the performance. One of my personal highlights of the show was when I was smacking my tambourine upon me bum during the cover of “Rebel Rebel,” failing to recognize the camera guy was pointing his recording device directly at me the entire time. Not exactly the close-up I had in mind, but at least my ass may become famous.

Major props to the band for being so super cool to birthday girl Vivian. Not only did they put her on the guestlist, they also gave her a b-day shoutout during their performance, which was especially cool considering the show was being recorded live for an iPod video to be released by spacelandrecordings.com. Thanks, guys!

2:16 PM

The Pity Party [aka the best band in L.A.] @ the Echo 11/20/06

Having been called a cross between Blonde Redhead and Devo (only darker), experimental-rock duo The Pity Party has been said to achieve a bigger sound than most four-piece acts could hope for.

Needless to say, this piqued my interest, and I caught their free show at The Echo on Nov. 20 in support of Great Northern’s residency.

I quickly reached the conclusion that The Pity Party are the best band in L.A. right now, period. If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t believe that just two people could achieve that level of loudness. With her drumkit set up front and center, the lovely “Heisenflei” pulls triple duty playing drums and keys while managing the lead vocals. As if this weren’t entertaining enough to watch, “Maurice-Robert” churns out raw guitar riffs with a plethora of pedals beneath his busy feet while providing backing harmonies. The pair delivers an experimental and refreshingly unique sound, evocatively blending the artsy rawness of Nico-era Velvet Underground with the loud intensity of Trail of Dead’s live shows, featuring smart and inspired lyrics to boot. This is definitely a band to experience live, and you can come January at the Silverlake Lounge, where the band will have a Monday night residency.

Go check them out on their myspace. Now. You will thank me.