Wednesday, July 9, 2014

LOLIPALOOZA 2014- Was a Tasty Little Sucker and the Start of Something Big-!!

Lolipalooza At The Echo/Echoplex, Saturday June 28th 2014

Wyatt Blair is one of those guys who will slowly take over a piece of the world or rather shape and make his special piece of the world pie the way he likes it to be and, as a result, we all will benefit. I don't mean this in the mad, control freak kind of way but in the true sense of the dogged hard working American dreamer sort of way. A slacker he is NOT. He hit my radar screen years ago when he was drumming for Trmrs. He was also recording his own stuff and recording other bands. Since then he, at times, has seemed to be omnipresent in the LA and Orange County- California music scene. It seemed for a while that if you saw any 10 bands, any particular week that Wyatt would be in one of them lending support on drums or guitar. Besides his own main bands (as himself) Wyatt Blair and Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel, he has played (on occasion) as part of Feeding People, Peach Kelli Pop, The Cosmonauts, Tmrs and Marz and the Mess all the while finding time to establish his Loli Pop Records Label and eventually the store front. All this hard hard work and love has culminated in the first ever Loli Pop Record music fest (of sorts) aptly named LOLIPALOOZA which took place (a stones throw away from the Loli Pop Records storefront) at the iconic California venues The Echo and the Echoplex plus an outside patio stage.

The two clubs connect to each other by a ramped walkway and patio which made for some interesting traffic jams at times but the whole affair went off without any major stumbles at all. Set times fell into place and the atmosphere was pretty chill. There was no heavy handed security, in fact, not much visible security to speak of. No pat downs or over intrusive looks into peoples belongings. I even brought in a can of Arizona Iced Tea which, as innocuous as that sounds, would of been a no no at some other festivals. At Burgerama 3 the personal searches including un-gloved hands on bodies which were pretty intrusive and took so long people missed set by early bands. Nothing like that at Lolipalooza. I actually felt like I was being treated like a responsible adult.

As is always the case when I attend any multi-stage event, I missed way more artists than I actually saw. I used to run around and try to cover every single act and while it made for a better overall blog write up it surely didn't make for a fun day so now I just end up where I end up even if it is hanging with friends for an hour straight. There was a lot of that going on, people content to hang out and party in any way they felt was appropriate until it was time to see the bands they came to see. I also tend to gravitate to bands that away from the stage are just nice people and Girl Tears is one of those bands. They played a tight punchy set as always as a two piece outfit because bassist Tristan was attending a wedding (nice guys remember?) but Kam with his jagged guitar attacks and Sal on drums filled in the spaces nicely. Yeah, I missed the bottom bass movements but it was a great set just the same.

I stood and watched Feels and enjoyed their set all the while not registering that they were (formerly) Raw Geronimo. That is just like me. Their sound feels more post punk poppy than before as RG had a definite melodramatic trippy vibe. I like both approaches and will keep checking their sounds out. I had never heard Burning Palms before (who hail from Arizona) and they pretty much blew me away. After their set, Wyatt walked by and I shared my enthusiasm saying, "These guys are fucking awesome." They were pretty rad. To me, they felt like a blend of post punk and dare I say, goth rock. The rhythm section jammed with the ferocity of Thee Oh Sees and the lead girl singers / guitarist kind of vaselated between a kind of Siouxsie and the Banshees trippyness and a Chrissie Hynde rockishness. Yes, I like to make up words. Simone Stopford with her in your face guitar stance played some chunky spaghetti western surfy sounds and Julia Deconcini with her gothic wail and accents on a tom tom made for a formidable presence. I suggest you check out this band live.

LA rockers Corners played a super catchy set. Their sounds feels surfy and pyschedelic but also veers into new wavish brit rock from time to time. Dirt Dress creates their own atmosphere that you want to happily float in. This was the first time I had seen Dante Elephante and they were one of my favorites of the day. Well crafted songs played with equal parts passion and sweet charm attracted a packed crowd. Adult Books sounded like a band named Adult Books should. You need to see them live. Their assault of sound can not be fully captured on a record. Their set jammed.

In the crowd surfing category, pound for pound, The Lovely Bad Things took the trophy (what kind of trophy would this look like??). Besides the almost constant stage diving from audience members, 3 out of 4 of the Lovely Bad Things crowd surfed during their explosive set (two with guitars strapped on). Playing mostly fan favorites, they did slip in some new songs. The interactions with the crowd grew crazier during their set at one point the crowd tossing guitarist Tim Hatch back onto the stage resulting in a tumble that from my vantage point looked like he was dropped on his head. He popped up unscathed and proceeded to crowd surf again. Their set was so loudly fun and crazy that Froth who followed them sounded almost underwhelming for at least the first third of their set. As the vibe in the room transitioned their fan base was packed in tight and they played a trippy dancy set full of chill shuffles and sweet lead lines.

I wasn't to keen on seeing Dale Bozzio. To me, she didn't seem to fit into the larger feel of the festival. I think my feeling of blah was exacerbated by the fact that she is thought of synonymously with Missing Persons and really billed as such but her current line up has little to do with Missing Persons. As I started to watch her set I thought that this current band might work better playing at an Indian Casino or Vegas or something like that. When Dale sang the line from Destination Unknown:  "Can you hear me?? Do you care?" I thought to myself, yes, I can but I don't really care. As I started to leave to catch friends outside, the seasoned performer changed my mind. Maybe it was her somewhat scattered yet charming patter between songs or the fact that she talked about her kids. Whatever it was, she won me over big time. It was pretty damn engaging once I got into it and in the end her set touched me in some emotional way.

I have seen Shannon and The Clams at least a dozen times and with every new listen I cannot believe how unbelievably cool Shannon's vocal performance sounds. The nuances in her tone and grit in the bite of her phrasings amplify the take on their sound. Feeling rather burned out I admit to skipping out before Thee Oh Sees hit the Echoplex stage. Yeah, that is a dumb call on my part but I have seen them a few times before and knew I was going to fully immerse myself in their performance at Viva Pomona. At least that was my rationale for heading home and catching some much needed shut eye.

LOLIPALOOZA simply kicked ass. It was a great mix of bands and cool people attending. I did not witness one, not one incident of asshole-ish behavior. It was simply a good time, through and though. Kudos for Lolipop Records, Wyatt Blair and everyone else who made the festival happen.

Robb Donker

Hit the links below for good coverage and pics and such- Take care people- have fun, be safe and support great music!

Opening pics courtesy of:
More Lolipalooza coverage here:

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