This President’s Day (#notmypresident), I appropriately caught an all-female lineup at the Echoplex. Stef Chura and Alice Bag opened the show for Washington D.C. based post-punk outfit, Priests.
People began to filter in during Stef Chura, a Detroit based indie rock group as the trio filled the room with dreamy lo-fi sounds. The crowd was really excited to see L.A. punk icon, Alice Bag on the Echoplex stage. She was one of the founding members of the Bags, and was really essential in putting the Los Angeles punk scene on the map. Born and raised in East L.A., Bag’s music and lyrics are reflective of her upbringing, and her message inspires political activism. She sang some originals from her 2016 solo album, as well as some songs from The Bags, including “We Will Bury You” – a message she dedicated personally to the Tump administration. Her daughter even joined on stage as a backup singer, and it was a tender moment when Alice Bag made a brief but touching shoutout to her. In between songs, she spoke about feminism, consent, education, and Chicano and human rights. It was quite a movement of a set, and she and her band really brought the energy to match through catchy, punk rock tunes.
Priests took the stage next and began their hour-long set, opening with the charged “Appropriate,” setting the raucous, “all-in” tone for the show. I was in awe of these musicians, everyone talented in their own right. Frontwoman Katie Alice Greer shined through her performance, her vocals remaining strong and present throughout, channeling X-Ray Spex’s Poly Styrene. The Diana Agron lookalike had a strong and captivating presence on stage, dressed in hipster attire and dancing just to feel the music and not to impress the crowd. Drummer,Daniele Daniele really stayed on top of the beat and kept the group together. It was humanizing to see the bass player get off the beat in the beginning of “Leila 20” and begin the song again, this time nailing it. They played just about every track from Nothing Feels Natural, including some “Deep Cuts” that were stellar. My favorite was “Nothing Feels Natural” and its unique blend of punk, goth, new wave, and indie rock. This is everything I want to hear in today’s post-punk music scene.
In a scene where everything is replicated, Priests is really adding something new to punk rock. It takes old ideas that are tried and true, but also incorporates the new sounds of post-punk and dream-pop successfully. Listen up, because this is the future of punk rock—and it’s well beyond power chords.
We are all aware of the post-election division this country is experiencing. Some choose to respond with aggression and uprising, and some with kindness and empathy. This was what I got from Priests set, as they chose to really focus on the music from their latest album release, Nothing Feels Natural but still including activist messages, most of which centered around simply being kind to one another during these turbulent times. I couldn’t think of a better, more progressive way to spend this President’s Day.
Catch Priests on tour with Stef Chura here.