Thursday, March 5, 2009

the hectors, summer darling, and the monolators @ the echo

I don't own a record player (yet). Origami Records, Echo Park's all-vinyl Sea Level replacement isn't open (yet). But after Monday night's free curated show at the Echo, I love them (already).

The evening started with The Hectors. For all of you who didn't get there for the opening band (and judging by how the room filled up during the course of the evening I'd say there's quite a few), might I just say: shame. Always always always show up for the opening band. What's the fun of being a music fan if you don't, ya know, go out and actually discover music? And hey, if they hit the big time, you can say you knew them when. (Radiohead was probably an opening band at one point...just saying.) See, instant cool points. And advice on how to be cool from a blog that calls itself "Would-Be Hipster." (Shot myself in the foot, didn't I?)

I wouldn't be surprised if the Hectors went on to make a name for themselves. It's no accident that they're already local favorites. I love when a band's live performance holds up to the promise of their recorded material. Live, "one-of-the-boys" lead-woman Corinne Dinner's vocals sound fantastic over the band's layered, well-honed instrumentation. If I were a betting woman, I'd put my money on their collective ability to lift your spirit, make the soundtrack to your night a bit more glamorous, and up your cool factor by at least ten. (Any claims that their live show can freshen your breath, help you drop weight quickly, or refinance your home have been wildly over-exaggerated.)


Summer Darling
, who hold residency honors for the month, are simply terrific. Is that too generic? How about, ultra-terrific? Striping myself of any cool I might have gained by telling you about the Hectors -- I have to admit feeling a bit ashamed that before the show I'd only done cursory listening. But after a set filled with trading male and female vocals, dark riffs built off of obvious band chemistry, and some of the most controlled feedback I've ever seen, I promise to do penance.

At the witching hour, the Monolators showed no sign of slowing things down. I love a band with sweaters, humor, and energy to spare. (Especially when mine was starting to fade -- darn day job, trying so hard to stop the rock.) It should be a surprise to no one that the Monolators' wild, energetic catalogue translates to a wild, energetic show. I know, crazy, right?

Now I've mentioned my love for women who drum many times before, but after seeing her play live, Mary Monolator holds a special place in heart. In front of the drum set, a sweet, charming, unassuming lady. Behind the drum set, a sweet charming, unassuming lady who happens to move faster than a lightening strike, attacking every bouncy Buddy Holly-meets-punk tune with a warrior's spirit. This of course, neatly compliments her husband's, lead-man Eli, performance style where over the course of the night he attempted the closest thing to a stage dive one can get at the Echo (sort of a stage roll), perched on her drum set, and assisted in the demi-destruction of band-mate Ray's guitar. Punk rock man!

Maybe I'm just an impressionable kid. Wait, strike that -- I know I'm an impressionable kid. But this is decidedly the sort of marketing that works. Origami Records is going to keep serving up Monday nights this strong, I might have to go get myself a turntable.

(photos by: David Studarus)

mp3: "A Million Fingers" by The Hectors
mp3: "Ride This Wave of Good Feelings" by Summer Darling
mp3: "I Must Be Dreaming" by The Monolators

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