NIGHT TERRORS OF 1927 + KID CADAVER + FEAR THE GHOST + AMONG SAVAGES @ THE ECHO
Noticeable cracks in the Silverlake scene’s vaunted cool became apparent in the past few months. Bands passing through Sunset Boulevard’s eastern nightclub fringe used to bitch freely to the press about rooms full of pretty things who didn’t notice their music or hipsters who didn’t care. This cliché probably has a few more years left to run, but the burgeoning Monday night residency scene demonstrates the truer truism that if better music makes for a livelier crowd, great music will temporarily unhinge one.
Last Monday night at the Echo, nine p.m. came and went with a crowd of about thirty to see it pass. This hangout elite consisted of solos, pairs of barroom buddies and a handful of stragglers from the army of photographers that turn up at every event no matter how obscure or ill-publicized. I didn’t get many usable pics of Kid Cadaver, but not for want of trying. This superb trio makes what used to be called power pop before that genre faded into obsolescence, but this tag fits the band’s big washes of chords, ripsaw rhythms and clipped, eccentric harmonies. A mere half-dozen songs were enough to set all present to yipping and howling.
The wait was short for Fever the Ghost, a band admired throughout Echo Park’s underground industrial complex for a loose welter of shoegaze pop of the kind stoners tripped out on back when America’s worst problem was Dan Quayle. They came on yelling hysterically which naturally got everyone’s attention. Mainman Mason, face daubed like the missing fifth member of Kiss, took command of the situation at once, leading the rapidly filling room through a too-brief set laced with delicious fractured melodies, instrumental hairpin turns and heroically reverbed vocals. I liked how, after all that bombast, Mason slouched off with a shyly whispered goodnight barely audible over the audience detonation.
The room was stuffed to near-capacity for Night Terrors of 1927, an object of widespread critical curiosity since formation last year by ex-Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett and onetime Honorary Title frontman Jarrod Gorbel. The headliners launched without ado into a set as soulful as it was loud as hell. People began to flail around and dance awkwardly as photographers prowled, snapping excitedly and scuttling in and out of the way of jumping feet and swaying torsos. This second of four Monday night stands in November celebrated release of the band’s five-song Guilty Pleas ep, which reveals considerable charms upon morning-after listen, particularly “Dust and Bones,” a doomsday anthem that triangulates the Rolling Stones’ “Gloom & Doom” and “1999” by Prince as a world gone mad anthem.
Nine-tenths of the audience jetted over the next few minutes, but I stuck around for Among Savages and was glad of it. This vehicle for Nashville-based Peter Barbee (a photogenic fellow with a limber voice and a nice line in philosophical musing) held rapt the remaining dozen or so gathered in a tight fringe around the stage. This Barbee fellow is a subject for further research if ever I heard one.
– Ron Garmon