Swimm and Warpaint Shut Down The Echoplex For The Conclusion of Love You Down III With LYDF III in the Books, We Already Can't Wait Until Next Year
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EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS ENTRY WAS CO-WRITTEN BY DERRICK K. LEE AND RACHEL ANN CAUILAN
LOS ANGELES, CA- To kick off the week before Valentine’s Day, Los Angeles-based band SWIMM and musician/bassist Jennylee of Warpaint threw on the Love You Down Fest, a two-day music and arts extravaganza celebrating the local LA music and arts scene. The event was a sell-out as artists took over both stages at the Echo and Echoplex in Echo Park, providing an extremely intimate and exciting environment for fans, artists and friends alike.
With a lineup featuring some of LA’s best upcoming indie artists, the festival also served as the 15-year anniversary party for LA’s beloved indie rock band Warpaint. The event truly felt like a community, as the love in the room was felt entirely both nights.
We tried to cover all of the acts that were scheduled to perform, but we unfortunately missed a handful of time slots. Our apologies to those we missed
A band that we regretfully weren’t able to catch perform at Love You Down Fest was Sego (terrific band with a new album, “Sego Sucks”, scheduled to be released on April 5th, and very recommended). Luckily, we were able to the band’s founding members, Spencer Petersen and Thomas Carroll, rock out with their other, newly-formed musical project: Intestinehead. They’re so new that when I went online to try to find some music by them to refresh my memory, I found nada.
But to my best recollection, their’s was a performance that really set an energetic tone to kick of the festivities for the second day of Love You Down Fest. If you click through the image to the left, we’ve embedded a clip of Spencer’s singing a subdued acoustic jam, but don’t let that clip fool you. The rest of their set was loud and rocking. I don’t know the other singer/bassist of Instestinehead, but he was pretty goddamn great to watch (and photograph). We can’t find any social media accounts for Intestinehead, so if you find ’em, let us know!
Another band that was new to me that really left a favorable impression was Rose of the West. One of the few bands that came to Los Angeles from another state to perform at Love You Down, Rose of The West (Milwaukee), is a quintet of Gina Barrington (vocals, guitar), Thomas Gilbert (guitar, synthesizer), Erin Wolf (keyboards, vocals, harmonium), Cedric LeMoyne (bass) and Dave Power (drums).
Their sound and performance was about as dreamy as it gets. I caught hints of mellow Siouxsie and the Banshees a la “Return” with the emotional depth of Kate Bush. A lot of that aura lends itself to their lead singer, Gina Barrington. As she performs, she exudes an organic mysteriousness as she croons the lyrics. When she sings, it’s almost like she’s whispering secrets into your ear, and I loved that.
They performed their latest single “Roads”, and I had to wait a couple day after their performance to hear it again on streaming platforms. With their debut album scheduled for release this summer, I’m making sure that my alerts are on so I make sure I don’t miss it when it drops.
VS Colour is an Echo Park based band and their performance was a ton of fun. A band that melds various musical genres like funk, disco, psychedelia and rock, their’s was a basically a musical buffet of good times that had you shaking your booty to their groove.
When I saw the band take the stage, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Their lead singer, Joe Bates, is a big, bearded dude. But as soon as his bandmates dropped the beat, he was playfully shaking his bon-bon and letting loose. That kind of enthusiasm is contagious, and as soon as this big dude in jeans and a hoody started to get down, the room followed his lead.
Having released their debut album in 2015, VS Colour is currently in the process of writing and recording their sophomore effort. I hope that they’ll play a few shows during the recording process. We could all use a little more carefree abandon in our lives.
Andy Clockwise is great fun live. Though this was my first time catching his live performance, I had heard about his magnetic charisma from friends who had witnessed this Aussie native perform on stage. I now regret that it took me so long to see him perform live myself.
His music was on point, but it was the way he engaged the audience to join him in his musical revelry that really caught my attention. He worked the crowd like a veteran hype man, and like VS Colour before him in the Echoplex, Andy’s performance elicited wide smiles throughout the crowd throughout his performance. When he came down from the stage to sing in and rile up the crowd, and he took my phone to flip the script and video record me, you can see the shit eating grin on my face. Yeah, embarrassing for me, but pretty spot on on how he had the room feeling generally.
As if he needed more zest on stage, Andy invited Moonhoney guitarist Andrew Martin to join him for a song. If you live in Los Angeles, and haven’t seen Andrew shred his electric guitar, well you’re just missing out on a master class on how to amaze. Couple that with Andy Clockwise, and it was a pretty otherworldly experience.
Last year, Warpaint Theresa Wayman (“TT”), released her solo album “Love Laws”. For Warpaint fans, “Love Laws” is a relatively natural extension of the band’s aesthetic, if not more revealing on an emotional level. Drenched in dim blue lights, Theresa’s performance felt incredibly intimate.
The stage production created an extremely moody atmosphere that totally suited the moment. Theresa’s vulnerability was palpable. And that vulnerability coupled with the downtempo, woozy Warpaint-esque sonics made for a very powerful performance.
SWIMM headlined their own performance on night two, opening right before Warpaint. Their set was extremely colorful and upbeat, complete with a fog machine and string of neon lights lighting up the stage. “Beverly Hells” felt like a moody California surf hit, featuring a driving guitar and bass line and lead singer Chris Hess’s vocals. Other songs such as “Man’s Man” is more electronic and upbeat in nature. Hess’s incredibly stage presence had him selflessly crooning into his mic in heavy whispers and mouthful of phrases, swaying across the stage.
The band invited local rising star Lauren Ruth Ward to the stage to sing a special live performance of “Speak Politely”, which was an incredibly special and powerful moment. Hess took to the mic for the first verse and let Ward in on the second, who captivated with her unique, folk-style vocals. The duet showcased their vocal power and range and was completely enveloped by the song. Both Hess and Ward laid it all out, with an epic breakdown where Hess solo-ed on his guitar and Ward singing and screaming out into the audience. SWIMM then went on to close their set like a huge party with their indie pop hit “Uh Huh,” featuring heavy guitar lines, thundering drumbeats, and the band members of Sego joining on to jam and Jennylee on the tambourine.
The energy in the room was something else for Warpaint‘s closing set on night two of Love You Down. The band pulled out an incredible set for this night, playing more hits from their self-titled album and The Fool. Frontwoman Kokal expressed how much love was felt in the room and how amazed they are that the band is still together. Still, the packed house had everyone completely entranced by the band. Fans were cheering, expressing their love and singing along to every word. Hit song “Elephants,” which they played earlier in their set, completely put the crowd on another level. The song had the entire crowd moving and singing along as the band went hard on their spacey guitar riffs and Jennylee’s heavy bass. “Love Is To Die,” another crowd favorite, had Wayman take the lead and go out into the crowd, grabbing hands as fans were completely entranced by the tune’s infectious heavy bass line, Wayman’s meditative vocals and catchy spacey guitar lines provided by Kokal. Songs like “Disco//very” and “New Song” equally got the entire crowd moving.
For their encore, the band closed off with a special performance of “Undertow,”perhaps the song that had put the band out there and changed their trajectory. The special eight-minute performance was full of energy and featured the band’s signature musical breakdowns and jams that have Emily, Jennylee and Theresa all taking turns to move closer together, beaming with energy and laughter. In particular, Jennylee’s bass lines were incredibly infectious as she took to face Emily and Theresa throughout to rock out and vibe, showing how much fun Warpaint is to see and witness.
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