The 6660s Kick Off The New Year With Kick Ass Line Up For Bands In A Barbershop Ramonda Hammer, Iress and More Rock A Freaking Barbershop
LOS ANGELES, CA- The beautiful thing about music in Los Angeles is that on any given night you can find an evening of free live music that kicks ass. If you have a hard time finding those spots, we suggest the Bands In a Barbershop series put together by Brian O’Connor of the The 6660s.
On random Saturdays, at an Echo Park or Silverlake hair cut establishment, Brian curates a DIY evening of emerging bands who can shred. Having started the series last year, the Bands In A Barbershop series has gotten a co-sign from The Satellite (who helps promote the shows). The lineups have been so particularly good that the lineup for the evening I attended was enough to catch L.A. Weekly’s attention who deemed it as one of the “Best Shows In L.A. This Week”.
The HolyCuts was the first band to grace the barbershop stage. Fronted by Liela Perry and William Nicol, the band describes their music- per the bio on their official website- as “music that is melodic one moment and destructive the next”. That’s a pretty good description of my first impressions watching them perform.
This was my first time seeing them live (and truth be told, hearing their music), and I found their sound to be quite absorbing. It kinda sounded like Modest Mouse and Yeah Yeah Yeahs had a lovechild.
The HolyCuts have a great dynamic on stage. Liela and William feed off each other quite organically, and play up the theatricality of each song they are singing. Liela in particular, using dramatic facial expressions, was able to shift the mood of each song she sang, physically expressing either the angst or coyness of the lyrics she was singing, sometimes within the same song.
That flare for the theatrical was on full display when they sang a song about the meaning of the Swedish word “Samtycke”, which means “consent”. Liela explained to the audience how important that concept is, and how it goes both ways, before getting samtycke from William to write the work in lipstick on his forehead. They then proceeded get loud and rowdy to close their set out. The crowd gleefully allowed them to do so.
At the first Bands In A Barbershop I attended, a band that really stood out in my mind was Speed Of Light. These kids impressed me with their loud and ferocious music and the confidence with which they performed then, and they impressed me even more this time around.
What I love to see from young bands is growth and development from performance to performance, whether that’s in their sound or their stage presence. Speed of Light checked both boxes off of my checklist. This performance was polished in both its musicality and presentation. I mentioned this to Brian after the music for the evening ended, and he noted that Riley -their bassist who I think is twelve (?)- started taking bass guitar lessons on the regular. Well, practice makes perfect and it definitely showed.
I’m telling you right now. You should follow these young bucks on some social media platform. You’ll want to see and hear them keep growing. As far as I’m concerned, they have all of the potential in the world … as long as they keep taking those lessons and honing their skills.
When I heard that Melted Bodies would be in the line-up at Bands In A Barbershop, I was pretty stoked. I caught the band at Shitshow Dave’s Shitshow Party and they blew me away. Wild and frenetic would be an understatement as to how their sonics make me feel. As soon as they started riffing and Andy (their lead vocalist) started spitting lyrics with a Serg Tankian-like deftness, the blood in my veins starts to pump a little faster. That natural high is the kind of stuff I live for, especially since I hardly ever drink or partake in other stuff when I’m out at a show (I like to remember things in my old age, lol).
The crowd up at the front of the stage was feeling the exact same way I was. As soon as the music started, a mini-mosh pit swirled about. Think about that. A mosh pit in a barbershop? That’s pretty freaking awesome.
On their official website, they have what I believe is their mission statement- of sorts- which states, “Motion creates emotion, and emotion creates content that challenges our core cultural influencers in our increasingly connected world.” Well, I say throw a few of those cultural influencers into the melee to get sweaty with a few friendly forearms in the back … I’m sure a few of them will see the light.
Personally, I thought that their set was much too short for my liking. I think that they may have shaved a few minutes from their set time to help Brian out cause set-times were running over, but hey … that’s even more reason for me to get pumped for the next show of theirs that I hit up.
Holy cow. Iress was f*ing phenomenal at this gig. Specifically, Iress’ lead singer, Michelle Malley, blew me away.
I’m not quite sure what it was this time around. I’ve seen Iress perform before (at the Echo), and I’ve always loved their heavy haunted sound, but Michelle’s vocals were simply flawless this evening. Perhaps it was the high ceilings and mirrored walls of the barbershop, but her voice was powerful and piercing through and through. Every line was drenched with a weight of emotion that literally had me holding my own breath at times. They may describe their music as “doom-gaze”, but I couldn’t have felt more in heaven than listening to Michelle sing.
Their performance could have been derailed early on when when their lead guitarist’s (Alex Moreno’s) guitar strap, broke during a song (during which she played her axe vertically on her knees). But with the help of some duct tape, the crisis was averted.
To close their set, Michelle stepped off the stage and into the crowd to sing. She parted the crowd like it was the Red Sea, and all eyes were affixed on her wailing away, emoting with all she had. I’m sure all of the hairs on the floor of the room (remember we were in a barbershop) were standing in awe at attention.
I’ve been high on Ramonda Hammer for a minute. Hell … I even made time to catch this L.A. based band in Austin,TX when they were showcasing at SXSW. I like this band. I like it alot <- Use Jim Carrey, Dumb & Dumber voice for effect.
Headlining the first Bands In A Barbershop of the year, and knowing that they have been in the studio recording the follow up to their highly regarded 2017 EP “Destroyers”, I was hopeful to hear some of the new music they’ve been creating. My musical cravings for the evening would be satisfied.
They played a handful of fan favorites (like “Care 2 Slam”), but also threw in a couple of new songs that they had recently written. The new jams are still heavy, highlighted by Justin’s solid distorted guitars and Devin’s distinct emotive wails. Everything that endeared me to them in the first place. And watching Andy lose himself thumping out the bass lines live is always a treat … even though I feared for my face as he wildly swung his axe around the stage (maybe I shouldn’t be standing so close … lol).
The taste we got of Ramonda Hammer’s new material has me longing for the day we can hear the studio cuts. Hopefully, they’ll get that new album done and out sooner rather than later.