Holy Wars Suck It Up & Spit It Out At Harvard & Stone Thoughts & Photos: Holy Wars Album Release Show At Harvard & Stone 4/29/22
LOS ANGELES, CA- I hate playing favorites… but sometimes it can’t be helped. It’s a good thing I have a lot of “favorites”. LOL. But one of my favorite L.A. acts is Holy Wars, and their latest album, Eat It Up Spit It Out, embodied everything I love about the duo of Kat Leon (vocalist) and Nicolas Perez (Guitarist).
First of all, let me just preface this review by being completely open about my bias toward Holy Wars. Kat and Nicolas are two of the nicest people you could ever get to know. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know them… and their mini-Kujos… and as human beings, they are about as humble and real as people get. But don’t let their genial demeanor fool you… these guys know the music industry and they hustle their asses off to write and record music, whether as Holy Wars or for other projects. During shutdowns, I was constantly amazed at how often their music was placed in television programs or advertisements. You need to know your shit and know what shit people want, to get some of the high-profile looks that they got.
And their music… simply put… kicks ass.
Eat It Up Spit It Out embodies everything that I love about them, as individuals and as musicians. First of all, absolutely love how fierce all the tracks are. There’s attitude. There’s angst. There’s rage. The dichotomy that I see between Kat and Nicholas as humans and Kat and Nicholas as Holy Wars just blows my mind. And I love it. I only know Nicholas as a quiet and reserved dude… but you listen to the guitar licks that Nicholas shreds on “TV Dinner” and that’s someone possessed by some hellishly demonic spirits of rock and roll.
I also love the clean production of the album. I don’t have the liner notes to it, but I’m assuming that the album was produced by Nicholas in their home studio. Everything is crisp. From Kat’s powerfully piercing vocals to Nicholas’ violent guitar lines to the pulsing drum tracks … nothing is muddled. Even the distorted vocals and guitar lines are pristine. It’s a clean hit of sonic crack that will get the blood thumping throughout your veins, tapping into some primal emotional reservoir in your soul, and force you to headbang with abandon. It’s more than a “Bolt To The Head”. It’s a bolt to all that angst locked up in your soul.
Opening up for Holy Wars was an act called Halo Boy. Kat told me that she thought I would enjoy Halo Boy’s music, and she was right.
Halo Boy is Cameron Cade, and his set straddled the indie-industrial, post/pop-punk genres. As I watched him perform his music, all I could think is that this kid has all the makings of the next Vans Warped Tour poster child if that festival hadn’t imploded on itself. I mean, he’s a tall, blond-haired, good-looking kid with an abundance of energy and music that’s emo enough to hit your feels while at the same time getting your head-banging along with him.
I think I read an interview he did where he said that he didn’t think people really liked his music. I think his music is solid enough. I think he just needs to keep performing in front of an audience to grow his fan base through that in-person experience. There was an innocent charm about him, and I think if you combine that doe-eyed characteristic with his uptempo music, he’s bound to make connections with unsuspecting fans at every turn.
By the time Holy Wars took the stage at Harvard & Stone, the packed room was ready to get wild and celebrate the release of their new album. If you had hit up the Echo a few new nights earlier, you would have gotten a preview of what they played at Harvard & Stone. In fact, their setlist was basically identical, except that they added two songs (“Battery Life” and “Born Dark”) to their Harvard & Stone Set.
If you’ve ever seen Holy Wars in concert, you know how good they are live. The connection that Kat and Nicholas share on stage is intense. The energy that Kat emits when she engages the audience is exponentially amplified in an intimate venue like Harvard & Stone; which heightens the visceral nature of each song. Imagine taking that energy and then comingling it in a room filled with rabid fans and friends who are only there to share in, and give back, that energy tenfold. It really is an amazing feeling and is an atmosphere that is truly unique to a hometown crowd.
A bonus treat for their album release show was that they were able to get Dana Dentata to get on stage to perform “Suck It Up” (the only other artist to get a featured credit on the album).
When it was all said and done, I reveled in the adrenaline that was pulsing through my body. I reveled in that feeling of face-melting rock and roll. I reveled in the hope that Holy Wars will eat it up and spit it out again with another album sooner rather than later, cause I want to relive that feeling all over again.
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