Movie Club at Harvard & Stone: A Psychedelic Symphony Review+Photos: Movie Club at Harvard & Stone 8/28/23
LOS ANGELES, CA- Movie Club, Venice Beach’s prodigious instrumental psych rock duo, has been making waves for a while now, with their tantalizing synthesis of electric guitar and drums, not to mention their magnetic visual collaborations. Having tracked their sonic evolution over the years, I’d become quite the enthusiast of their guitar-heavy, ’70s-influenced sound, which seamlessly transports you to an era of groove, rebellion, and uninhibited artistic expression. But it wasn’t until their August residency at Harvard & Stone that I was granted the electrifying experience of seeing them live.
Labeling a Movie Club gig merely a “show” is, quite frankly, a vulgar understatement. It’s an immersive art piece, a kaleidoscopic blend of music, collaboration, and spontaneous combustion of energies. Jessamyn Violet and Vince Cuneo, the core duo, are in their element live, but their genius is particularly accentuated when they share their spotlight, a generosity characteristic of their ethos.
The evening saw an assortment of collaborative acts. Greg Coates lent his deep bass notes, blending seamlessly with Movie Club’s signature sound. Jessy Greene’s violin solos wove magic into the air, adding layers of complexity and emotion to the soundscape.
But it wasn’t all just music. Jack Kelley and Tess Hunt enriched the evening with spoken word performances, their powerful words and reflections echoed by the hypnotic rhythms of Vince and Jessamyn. Their addition transformed the event from a simple musical experience into an auditory and intellectual feast.
Amidst these talented guest appearances, Amir Eshraghi of Little Galaxies stole a chunk of the limelight. Observing the theremin—a seldom-seen instrument in modern rock—being played with such fervor and finesse was not only a first for many, including myself, but a downright hair-raising experience.
In a twist of humor, members from Madame Presents… a Drag King Show jumped in with inflatable guitars, offering a light-hearted counterpoint to the profound musical moments that marked the night.
In essence, this wasn’t just another rock concert—it was a communal gathering, a celebration of art and its myriad forms. Movie Club, with their intrinsic understanding of music as a shared experience, has once again proven that sometimes vocals aren’t the soul of a band. Sometimes, it’s the spirit with which they play, and the community they build around them.