Holy Wars Close Out 2019 And Look To The Future With Amazing Echo Performance
LOS ANGELES, CA- The Los Angeles based band Holy Wars had a pretty good year. Not only did they play a ton of local gigs around the city, including a featured headlining performance for “School Night” and even opening for the likes of Papa Roach during their stint at The Roxy and Reignwold at the Moroccan, but they have also released some killer singles that have whet their fan’s appetites for more, like their most recent single “Welcome To My Hell” which climbed to #1 on The World Famous KROQ’s “Locals Only” playlist, racking up over 40,000 plays across streaming platforms since its October release.
But each of Holy Wars’ founders, Nicholas Perez and Katherine Leon, haven’t been resting on any laurels. They have been busy with other projects as well, with Nicholas’ The Beta Machine (A Perfect Circle’s Jeff Friedl and Matt McJunkin’s band) releasing their debut album earlier this year and Katherine debuting her own powerful, solo efforts at the Hi-Hat just a few months ago. Kat was also a special panel member for a discussion at Billboard’s Live Music Summit to talk about life as an independent artist.
With new music being created, 2020 looks to be a real banner year for the upstart rock band, and they decided to close out the year with one final performance before hunkering down to complete the music that they’ve been working throughout the year. Billed as one of their “last (LA) Holy Wars his show for a quite a while”, it was a show that wasn’t to be missed.
The music for the evening started with the eclectic, and artistic, musing of Figs Vision. After a 3 year break, Figs Vision came out with a five-song EP earlier this year, Choo Choo, that’s a fun and exciting listen. It’s difficult to describe, but if I was forced to do it, I’d say it’s an equal parts Prince and Talking Heads. An odd, and seemingly unmixable, combination, but it works and the 5 songs- that clocks in at around 15 minutes- go by way too fast.
Their live performance was equally entertaining. With a cadre of dancers joining them on stage, moving to their music stylings, it was a melding of artistic mediums that worked seamlessly. I like this band, and I hope that they don’t go on another hiatus before they release more music.
The next band to take the stage, was the trio El Mañana. I wasn’t familiar with this band, but I was familiar with their bassist, Camilla Charlesworth, who has played bass around town for many other acts, including one of my faves, SWIMM. Seeing her on stage with the band gave them automatic credit in my book.
This LA-based indie power trio is fronted by Danny Murcia, a singer-songwriter who has written for a wide range of artists from as Celine Dion to Pitbull. Talk about range.
With Camilla on bass and Rhys Hastings on drums, El Mañana cast a dreamy spell over the audience. The music definitely had alt-rock/psychedelic tones, but you could also hear the pop sensibilities (catchy melodic line, and singable hooks) sprinkled throughout in the songwriting, which I think made the music that much more enjoyable. It’s an authentic sound and one that I, for one, can’t wait to hear more of.
Co-headlining the evening’s bill was the inimitable DRÆMINGS. I caught them a few months ago in order to hear how their new music is coming along and to say that I am eager for them to release new music would be an understatement. Having them on this bill was just an extra special treat.
There isn’t much that I can add to how I, or the publication, feels about Kimi and Draemings. We’re fans. As our contributor, Max pontificated last year:
“Is Draemings trop goth too? I dunno. After the set at Bardot, I’m still not sure. But whatever Draemings is, I know it’s super fucking rad. Little bit of Cranberries, little Patti Smith. Whole lot of awesome. Intense. Heavy. But not heavy like an anchor pulling you down. Heavy like the weight of an impulse from deep within your bowels. An urge, a question, a craving that pushes you forward. Tells you to dig deeper into the cave of your own self. Find the beat and plug it into your butthole. Then watch yourself move. That’s the feeling of the sound that I will embrace as “trop goth” …whether it is or isn’t.”
While the new music that they are crafting may be a little different than that which they’ve already released (some of which they played for the first time at this show!), I’m pretty we’ll all be willing to embrace whatever sounds come out. I certainly have.
It was a special night for Holy Wars. Not only were they closing out a productive year with a banger of a performance, but they were also celebrating Nicholas’ birthday. The room was filled with the kind of joy and excitement befitting a celebration of not only music but also life.
Kat, Nicholas, and company went full bore with their performance. The passion and intensity of their heavy-hitting jams, as per usual, flowed from Kat’s emotive performance whether she glared into the crowd or prowled across the stage. Parts of the performance were accentuated with the dancers who had accompanied Figs Vision earlier in the evening, and we even had the pleasure of AFI’s Hunter Burgan (who has been producing some of Holy War’s music) joined them on bass for a number.
But perhaps the most impactful moment of the evening was when Kat sang the fan-favorite “Orphan”. It’s a song that’s extremely personal to Kat as it really digs deep into her personal story of grief and dealing with personal loss, and it isn’t a song that they perform too often, so this performance was quite special. As the fuzzed-out guitars filled the room and the song swelled into its climax, the tension was palpable. As the final chords were being repeated, eventually fading to pianissimo, Kat got the crowd to sing the refrain with her. With the voices filling the room, it was a wonderfully power moment that got some of the hairs on my neck to stand on end. Moments like that are the reason why you go to shows.