WALTER ETC. + PEACH KELLI POP + DINERS @ THE ECHO
Photos by Joey Tobin Words by Alyx Poska
Even though the Saturday sun was still up, folks lined up in front of The Echo to see three bands from the Lauren Records stable: Diners, Peach Kelli Pop, and Walter Etc.. The spirit of camaraderie and gratitude was in the air, and the bands did not disappoint the sold out crowd. Diners and Walter Etc were celebrating the release of a split 7″ (released by Lauren Records of course), while Peach Kelli Pop drew some LA locals to see their out-of-town label mates.
Diners started off the night with some homemade karaoke but quickly introduced a live band, who were all playing together for the first time at the show. Despite the lack of practice they managed to pull off fan favorites and even throw in a three part harmony outro on “Dear Diane.” They set an easy going pace that was amped up by the next group: Peach Kelli Pop. Their peppy brand of surf rock and jangle punk usually gets the crowd moving but crowd couldn’t match the energy of front-woman Allie Hanlon. She was all smiles and a consummate performer with a stellar backing band to match.
By the time Walter Etc. was set up and introduced by Alex Crawford and Kyle B Hart of Sunday Night Salad, it was clear that the majority of the crowd had come to see Walter Etc. take the stage. The Southern California ex-pats were warmly welcomed by crowds of underground music fans, Orange County Bros, and LA hipsters. As soon as they launched into their old songs, beer was spilled and the mosh pit began to form.
Fans launched off the stage onto us while drummer Kris Schobert pounded out disco stomps, folk marches, and pop punk drum riffs. Just over half way through the set they put down the electric instruments and grabbed acoustic guitars and a cajon. We sang along, sometimes overpowering the acoustic songs, and they didn’t relent until a full band encore. Even after the full band ran out of songs to play, frontman Dustin Hayes obliged one more song. The Echo suddenly felt like a group campfire with Walter taking the crowd somewhere beyond the urban sprawl of LA as friends came on stage to hug each other and take turns singing into the second mic.
The sun had barely set when the crowd piled out of the venue, but for an early Saturday night show, Lauren Records proved that their rising family of bands is a force to be reckoned with. So many folks stuck around to buy merchandise that eventually the security staff had to hustle everyone outside. People were already discussing their plans for the rest of the evening, and no doubt basking in the warm vibes to get it started.