It was a rough day in terms of new discoveries, most of the bands we watched were repeats of band’s we loved on day one and two (i.e. We Met Tomorrow, Skyroads, etc). Taymir had a shorter set than yesterday during the Netherlands Happy Hour that still left us wanting more after now seeing them twice in 24 hours. Kiven played on the World Stage, a local favorite of ours and no stranger to the High Voltage Radio waves. But even in the midst of all of those, we still managed to dig these new acts:
A Million Billion Dying Suns
The use of churches as music venues is genius: it truly is. And every Culture Collide year Echo Park United Methodist Church is always the scene of less than traditionally ‘spiritual’ matters like San Francisco’s A Million Billion Dying Suns. Imagine the Black Keys on a chaotic and grungy mystical acid trip galloping across the Universe with a guitar and a drum kit rearranging the cosmos to their liking: that’s pretty much all you need to know. We just hope that God is okay with folks getting their faces melted while in a church.
An interesting band with an interesting musical vibe, it’s very calypso meets reggae coming from a band based in Jordan! Definitely didn’t expect to hear that sound from that region, but a welcomed treat as they brought a new energy to the festival and a very dance-y one at that. And fortunately for them, due to a cancellation in the slot after them, they got to play a longer set.
Friday night Nervous Nellie taught the audience that under every rock there is a Swede and indeed quite a few Swedish bands were uncovered at Culture Collide this year. Saturday, this particular Swedish band played their last set of the festival; There is something very inviting about the songs of Nervous Nellie. Their melding of voices, catchy rock base, and electronic beats work together to create a warm sound scape and fun live performance. The band took full advantage of the church setting, comparing their final song, “Shoulder” to a “communion treat.” After the song’s intense song-ending musical breakdown, they certainly deserved an “Amen!”
The Women of the Aussie BBQ – Phebe Starr and Tkay Maidza
An array of Aussie bands rocked the stage during the traditional Aussie BBQ including a pair of powerful and intriguing young women. Opening the BBQ was Phebe Starr, an orange-haired, dark lipped chanteuse who mesmerized with strong voice, fancy technology, and promise of sparkly socks. Later in the evening, the petite Tkay Maidza got everyone to “stop their feet like a brontosaurus” with her unique rapping style which drew comparisons to a young MIA. These ladies both offered something different and refreshing, certainly memorable.
If you’re fairly well-versed in local Los Angeles music, when you heard LA duo Torches (Azad Cheikosman and Eric Fabbro joined by Adrian Acosta on bass when they play live) play at the Church, you heard shades of another LA band: Local Natives. And that’s not a bad thing at all. That’s because their sound is all indie rock and guitar melody smarts with tight and well-constructed percussion that you could honestly listen to all day. And Frontman Cheikosman vocally carries with something of a dark urgency that’s perfect for the lushness of their sound. These guys have jams. You should be listening to them.