Jan 17th, MLK day 2011 was a good day. Not only did the holiday create smooth sailing on the LA freeways, it was a true pleasure to hear the "I have a Dream" speech in it's entirety while I piloted my old Honda in and out of traffic. Topping the day off with a heavy dose of good music would soon put the icing on the cake. Put on by usual suspects at FYF, this show pulled favorites from previous FYF events, namely Screaming Females, La Sera, Audacity and The Lovely Bad Things.
The Lovely Bad Things started off the festivities with a shifty pile driving tune that sounded at once new and retro- think of the Bride taking on the Crazy 88 gang in "Kill Bill". I saw heads in the ever growing crowd bopping instantly. After the opening song, Lauren Holland moved from the drums while Brayden Ward passed the bass to her like it was a baton in the 440 relay and moved behind "his" drum kit. In a flash, she started the bass line for "Kevin" - a progressive post punk song bolstered by Cameron Ward's biting vocals and Tim Hatch's guitar work. TLBT's do not have one lead singer and switch up musical sounds as often as their instruments- creating cohesive surf pop / post punk songs that stick to your ribs and make you want to do something (?) whether it be dance, head bop, mosh or punch someone in the face, (you had to be there). They performed many of the songs from "Shark Week" as well as brand new tunes.
Audacity, those boys from Fullerton, California - took the stage next. Kyle Gibson, (guitarist, lead vocals), asked someone to get drummer Thomas Alvarez a beer and then the party started. Most of Audacity's members have jammed together since 6th grade learning their instruments in the process and while they hold firmly to their punk garage rock roots, you can hear grunge, blues and pop influences sprinkled in the guitar and vocal melodies. Bassist Cameron Crowe and guitarist Matt Schmalfeld beef up the sound as they kept the set lively with a cover here and there and favorites like "Teenage Town". I am loving Gibson's gritty vocals more every time I hear them live and I hope his voice and their overall sound never loses that teenage wail.
La Sera who is currently on a US / European tour to promote her new 7 inch release hit the stage next. Katy Goodman cheerfully announced that she had gotten the flannel shirt she was wearing from Audacity so as to be in keeping with the general style that night. It was a cute moment and set the feel for the rest of La Sera's set which was free and easy, full of pretty, intimate melodies and bright dancy guitar leads. La Sera has gone through some changes in recent weeks so Devin Williams lent his talent that night along with drummer Matzah, formerly from Woah Hunx. I had missed La Sera at the last Xmas FYF show so this particular show was a nice introduction to Katy and the guys.
The first time I had seen Screaming Females was at the FYF fest. They were like a heavy dose of aspirin for the FYF headache caused by the sweltering heat, the long lines and the nasty ass porta potties. Hearing and seeing them in the glare of the LA sun was a divine experience indeed. Pint sized Marissa Paternoster shredding her guitar and belting out her strong vocals counter posed by big- big King Mike on bass was both awe inspiring and a little amusing. Not amusing as I was laughing at the spectacle but amusing because they inspired so much fun. I got home that night and immersed myself in all things that are the amazing Screaming Females. I was thoroughly impressed in drummer Jarrett Dougherty's DIY attitude toward promoting SF's as well as all of their work ethic. They are the real deal. I was really looking forward to seeing them at the Echoplex when I was actually hydrated.
They DID NOT disappoint. From the first bass line to the last power chord their set showed off the tightness and inspired rock of a band that has honed their sharp skills for over 5 years- From all I have read, they bring it to every performance whether they are playing in a leaky cold basement in New Brunswick to a hand full of die hard rock fans to several thousands of fans at a rock festival. While Marissa is the focal point of Screaming Females because of her guitar prowess and blistering vocals- SF's is a band that creates truly original songs and behind the tsunami that is Marissa's vocals there is also a nice vulnerability and warmth in the undertow. Be sure and see Screaming Females next time they are in your area.
BEHIND THE REVIEW: Before the show it was a blast to see Lauren Holland, Brayden Ward, Katy Goodman, and Marissa Paternoster all behind or around the merch tables selling T-shirts, CD's and more.
I had a chance to speak with all of them and they were all more than cool.
---- Adler Bloom