Echo Park Rising Kick-Off

This past month I headed to the Echo and Echoplex for the first night of Echo Park Rising, a free community event centered around local music, art, and businesses. This was the 6th year of this free event, and many L.A. residents come out each year to take part in a weekend of live music exploration and celebration of the eclectic neighborhood of Echo Park.

Thursday, August 18, was the first night of live music, as bands began to take over multiple Echo Park venues including the Lost Knight and the Echo and Echoplex. I arrived at the Echoplex just in time for The Frights‘ set, a ghoulish surf-rock group from San Diego. Frontman Mikey Carnevale’s voice was quite impressive, and he was not shy about belting over the punk-rock sounds with a copious amount of freight-inducing vibrato. And with what appeared to be the entire audience engaging in stage diving, moshing, and crowd surfing, they would be a strong act to follow.

Upstairs, The Echo opened for business shortly after, featuring experimental girl-punk group Sloppy Jane. Lead singer, Haley Dahl, donned a a red cloak with almost nothing underneath, unkempt hair, and smokey eyes. Her attire and attitude matched the baffling stage props, which included an old television featuring Teletubbies and several stuffed animals hanging around the amps. If what they were going for was creepy childhood memories, I’d say Sloppy Jane definitely succeeded. While the performance was quite captivating, would I listen to Sloppy Jane on their own? Probably not, unless I’m looking for a Halloween soundtrack.

Numb.er took the Echo stage next, and changed up the mood from noise-rock to dark wave sounds that had the crowd swaying. Lanky, baby-faced frontman Jeff Fribourg sings in a soft baritone over classic post-punk chords just so charmingly. They were one of my favorites of the night.

Downstairs, a dance party began with POMPEYA, a Moscow based indie-pop group in the vein of High Highs and Poolside. They played danceable tunes, reminiscent to what one would enjoy hearing on a breezy day at the beach.

The act that truly took my breath away was goth-pop duo, Pale Blue. This duo played what I imagined would be the perfect soundtrack to Ryan Gosling’s next L.A. 80’s inspired movie. Singer Liz Wight donned impressive vocals and dressed straight out of an 80’s film with a short bob, all black, kitten heels and red lips. Together with DJ Mike Simonetti, this electronic dup had me in a trance, leaving me wanting to listen to more. And as I headed to the desert the very next morning, you can bet that Pale Blue was the soundtrack I chose.

I was on such a music high by the time legendary DJ Egyptian Lover took the Echoplex stage, completely in awe of the amazing performances I had witnessed that night. With an impressive kick-off like that, I could only imagine the Echo Park Rising weekend would be just as stellar.

Were you at Echo Park Rising this year? What were your favorite acts? Comment below!

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