Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sunset Dysfunction or SXSL or Echo Park Rising....

Whatever you want to call this past weekend that came from the ashes of the cancelled Sunset Junction it was a lot more fun than I would have had this weekend if the regularly scheduled festival went on. The consensus from all the bands I talked to this weekend was that this was better than Sunset Junction should have been. So onto my review or reliving of what I preferably liked to call SXSL (South By Silver Lake)....

So I am finally able to make it out to Sliver Lake area after working in the morning and resting through the early afternoon it is just after six p.m. when I roll up to what I believe is the house where the house party on Edgecliff just off of Sunset that I was going to see some live music. I know this is it as I immediately run into people I know like Lord Growing from The 704 and Brad from Feed Your Head and many friends from bands I go see too often. Also going on while I walked up to this shindig was a man dressed up at first what I thought to as a brown bear but the costume had floppy ears so he was some bear/bunny hybrid and rapping. As far it goes it wasn't half bad but I didn't give it much thought as it seemed more gimmicky than something real.

Next up was one of the bands that made me want to come to this party, One Trick Pony. This is only my second time seeing them and liked what I heard the first time to buy their debut album at their record release show at Casey's a while ago, but this performance blew that one out of the water. The sound was great and it was easy to get into the groove of their music. One Trick Pony is a folk indie rock band that is top notch in their songwriting. That was just unbelievably great performance from a band that more people need to take notice and go see if you have the chance.

The next band on the night is The Damselles & TC4 who put on a really fun show that had the crowd dancing. While their music wasn't exactly my thing, they definitely know how to put on a show and their version of the 70's era R&B girl group sound translates well to a live performance.

And then came the headliner's of the first and hopefully not last Edgecliff Hog Roast Manhattan Murder Mystery who came in and nailed it in a way that is hard to describe. Their is something absolutely magical about the chaos of a MMM show. On top of the band their is the ever-growing cult-like fandom that is following them around that knows the songs just as well as the band and are singing their hearts out for every song. The band and the crowd melt into one throughout the show as Matthew Teardrop, the frontman, will leave the confines of the stage to join the crowd mid song. On 'Honda Prius' he found me and we sang the whole 3rd verse of the song with the mike between us while embracing each other with our arms around the others neck. If anyone has pictures of this I would love to have photographic evidence of this. But nothing tops the best show closer I think I have ever heard, 'Parking Lot'. Everyone knows it's coming and knows it means this bit of magic is coming to an end which gets the crowd ever more hyped and the pit really gets going. And during the chorus the crowd is shouting "In the Parking Lot, she pulled out her gun" so load and in unison you could swear they are playing to a sold out crowd at a big venue. And the end of the song devolves into complete and utter madness highlighted by the fact that their are about 3 times the amount of people playing in the band tonight than usual and more joining in never wanting this feeling to stop. What to do after this one might ask well why not follow Manhattan Murder Mystery to a warehouse just outside of downtown LA.

There were some other bands that played one that I recall was called The Outerlys who had a really polished alternative rock sound with very nice work on guitar and bass. But really I came here along with many others from the party on Edgecliff for one thing only and that was to keep it going with Manhattan Murder Mystery. And right away it was back to the same sort of chaos and magic that is a Manhattan Murder Mystery show. It didn't matter that the sets were very similar and they played most of the same songs only hours before this night was truly something special that I will never forget for the rest of my life. This time for 'Parking Lot' closing it out everyone was pulled up onto the raised stage they had to fill it to the brim as crowd and band become one to end the best night of music I can think of.

So onto night two of SXSL which again because of other obligations was not able to make it out til late. Which is another reason why this worked out so much better than the actual Sunset Junction festival would have for me this year as I would have missed all the bands I wanted to see as they were playing in the day. So about 10 o'clock I roll up to Silverlake Lounge with perfect timing because Davis Fetter was just starting and I was really blown away by the power and passion in his voice. His original songs were catchy and filled with emotion. I would like to hear these songs live with his full band instead of just him and his guitar which was nice but his voice demands for more to go with it.

Next came an absolutely adorable performance by Sadie & The Blue Eyed Devils. They were a sweet fun time that had you moving and clapping along to their brand of folk music. Just a sweet performance with fun songs that I could see again no problem.

Next came The Lexingtons who I made the trip to Lot 1 for. This was my second time seeing them after loving them close out the night last Monday at Silverlake Lounge and that first performance was no fluke I absolutely love seeing this band. The Lexingtons have such style and panache to their music and their performance that is so uniquely them and they make that sound so much fun that you can't help but want to dance and groove with the music. No one of their band more so than front-man Finn whose voice and energy make you want to pay attention. I don't really know what else I can add to this other than really go check out this band.

Lovers Drugs, the last band of the night was a rocking good time. They were up on stage playing their asses off and just having a grand ol' time that rubbed off on the crowd. Lovers Drugs play pretty straightforward brand of rock music that is lead by terrific play on the guitar, bass and drums. The song that stole my heart on the night was the improvised punk rock "I Wanna Be Joseph".

This weekend was better than I imagined it could be and I want to thank all the bands that I saw play over the weekend for making and sharing amazing music with me and everyone else that still made it out despite all the shenanigans that had to with Sunset Junction and I hope next year something else this natural and DIY of music gathering can happen again.

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