It's a rare feat when a bill of four bands are all at the top of their game, Wednesday night was just that. Lavender Diamond kick out the slow jams with their vulnerable and mesmerizing songs. Singer Becky Stark and with incredible pipes remind me of Peter, Paul & Mary or the unparalleled delivery of Cass Elliot. Becky is a true talent which makes Lavender Diamond stick out like a sore thumb. They rock you in the softest way still leaving your wanting more.
Great Northern finally have a CD to purchase for only $3, six songs for only three dolars? This band comes off sounding like That Dog and Earlimart in a boxing ring. Only the vocal harmonies of Ariana, Rachel, and Solon are much more precise and at the forefront of every song. Great Northern had a very diverse set of slower ELO-inspired ballads ('The Middle') and faster, melodic rockers ('Into the Sun') all of which balance out their latest EP entitled Bats. Incredible.
Irving take the stage and blast into some hits from their latest album Death in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers. This band never sounded so good. 'Situation' and 'I Want To Love You In My Room' sounding amazing with their perfect mix of vocal harmonies coming from the entire band, jangly guitars, and Alex Church's thumping bass, Irving blew the crowd away and even managed to get an encore in. We've just finished the third quarter of the night, if only the Lakers were this consistent.
At this time of the night I should leave and savor what has already been a fantastic example of why L.A. has the best bands in the country. But I'm curious to see Army Navy, they are next month's Spaceland residents after all. Unfortunately for the band 90% of the crowd has left. What matters is that Army Navy turn out to be just as strong and intense as every performance that happened here in the past three hours. Vocally they remind me of Butterglory or the nasally vocal tone of Robert Schneider (Apples in Stereo). Musically they are quick, catchy, and noisy like the spectacular Franz Ferdinand, I'm dead serious. It's a weird combination of noise and pop that I couldn't pull away from. Army Navy are the real deal.
-all photos by Scott McDonald