Night Club Returns To The Echo and Gives L.A. Their Die Die Lullaby
LOS ANGELES, CA- In 2020, Night Club, an electronic-rock band based out of Los Angeles composed of Mark Brooks and Emily Kavanaugh, released their album Die Die Lullaby. Its 10 tracks clock in at a brisk 31 minutes and 24 seconds, but the album, perhaps excluding the instrumental track that opens the album, gives the listener a healthy dollop of adrenaline-pulsing, electronic pop that will make you want to dance your brains out until you “Die In the Disco” (track 2).
If you haven’t already clicked the Spotify embed above, I’d recommend that you do that right now, because I wouldn’t want you to get any wrong impression about the mood of their sonics. Danceable yes… but minor keys and brooding basslines give them a dark edge that’s an intriguing amalgam of genres. Think Nine Inch Nails meets Blondie. That’s what I thought. Give their song “My Valentine” a listen and tell me what you think in the comments.
While the lyrical themes of the album trend toward darker topics (i.e. struggle and mental health in “California Killed Me” and perpetual sadness (“Civil War”), the high energy club elements of their sonics balance the weight of the subject matter.
Having heard from a couple of friends that Emily is a whirlwind of a force on stage, I was excited to catch them live at The Echo for the first time.
As the crowd was getting settled into the venue, “DJ Cocteau Twink” was spinning records to set the mood. A play on the name of the seminal gothic/dream pop/rock band Cocteau Twins, this DJ spun popular ethereal wave, post-punk and gothic rock cuts from that era. A little bit of The Cure. A cut from Depeche Mode. I can’t remember if she played a Cocteau Twins track or not, but I’ll assume she did. It was a solid DJ set that definitely got the room prepped for what was to come.
Opening for Night Club is a band that I have been championing since 2017. Holy Wars is Kat Leon and Nicholas Perez, and they kick ass. They kicked ass at The Echo with their opening set at this show.
I won’t get too deep into their music or performance at this show, because they would be performing a few nights later at Harvard & Stone celebrating the release of their latest album Eat It Up Sit It Out (another gig I covered). For this show they played the same setlist they would be playing a few nights laters, less two songs. All of the songs they performed are featured on the album, except for their 2020 single, “Welcome To My Hell”.
I was given fair warning that Emily was a firecracker on stage, but as soon as she stepped onto stage and shouted, “What’s Up, LA?”, as Mark played the instrumental opening of their latest album, you could feel intensity of the room pick up. As the backing track for “Die In the Disco” started to pulse, Emily started to pace the width of the stage, pumping her fists into the air to the track’s beat, and the electric buzz amongst the patrons became palpable.
You would think that performing to tracks would take away from the energy of a live performance, but I think Night Club would be to differ. Emily makes up for whatever action/energy a guitarist or drummer would provide with her sheer will and commanding stage presence. Her long, slender body, twisting to the beat of the music, accentuated by the long black, vinyl gloves that she wore for the first part of the performance, was hypnotizing.
When Emily introduced herself to the room, she mentioned that it had been close to three years since they last played The Echo, and that the room had definitely filled out since the last time they played here. This would be the second to last show of the current tour they were on, and you could tell that she was just grateful to be back on stage performing for fans again. Remember, they released their last album in early 2020, and should would have toured in support of the album if it were not for shut downs due to the pandemic.
While the Covid pandemic was something most of us wish we could just wipe clear from our memories, if there’s one thing I’m grateful for, it’s the opportunity to see artists like Night Club, who had to wait years to perform the music they probably spent years creating in the studio, reclaim their passions and livelihood. With every bead of sweat that dripped from Emily’s face, and fist thrown in the air, you could see Emily just giving the room everything she had, baring her soul on the stage and living in the moment. That energy was palpable and it was glorious.
Though I didn’t see a setlist on stage, I know some of the songs in their set were “Die In The Disco”, “You Additction”, “Schizophrenic”, “Candy Coated Suicide”, “Miss Negativity”, “Pray”, “California Killed Me”, “Scary World” and “Dear Enemy” (see the video for reference).
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