Following a special evening of Culture Collide celebrations on Wednesday night, which included the LA premiere screening of Nirvana: Live at the Paramount (which literally had people cheering in their seats), a special DJ set from The Rapture and some entertaining dancing courtesy of Playstation Move, the festival officially kicked into gear last night with a wide selection of music from around the world at Echo Park's hottest venues - including The Echo, which holds the LA installment of the Aussie BBQ every March.
Kicking things off at Taix - a French restaurant and bar which is serving as "HQ" for the festival - were Switzerland based duo Kassette. With a female lead singer, strutting a guitar, and a guy on the drums (and occasionally a guitar as well), it was a bit like a back to front White Stripes – that is, if you had Melissa Auf der Maur as the lead singer. It was impressive and fun rock and roll with a European feel, and plenty of good vibes and charm.
We jetted over to The Echoplex next and briefly caught an entertaining DJ set from Bixel Boys (dubFrequency) with Tropicool and Surf Ambassador Hendo. We moved upstairs into The Echo and caught the last chords of Handshakes, ahead of a spectacular performance from Sydney’s Guineafowl (pictured below). Unable to wipe the smiles off their faces, the band played to a packed out room in their first ever show outside of Australia.
It was a high energy show, and they sounded as good as - if not better than - I've seen them in the past. That said, the energy the room gave them definitely aided in pushing their show up to another level. Alongside their usual set - “In Our Circles” and "Mothr" being particularly impressive tonight - off their debut EP – they played a new track, while a woman beside me proclaimed "I love these guys!", so I definitely wasn't the only person enjoying the set. A fantastic Los Angeles debut from the always entertaining (and aurally pleasing) five piece.
The eclectic, worldly sounds of Los Angeles’ Rainbow Arabia (above) were next. Aussies would probably suggest they tour with Sydney based Jinja Safari - and that wouldn’t be a far fetched idea. The three piece (a husband and wife duo with a recently instated drummer) bring together a wide variety of sounds from around the world to great effect... I only caught them briefly but will be checking them out again on Sunday so stay tuned for more comprehensive coverage then!
Back over at Taix, Buck 65 gave audiences one hell of a show. The room was at capacity by the time he hit the stage, as he ran through a wide variety of tracks from his back catalogues. He paused briefly between tracks to let us in on where some of the samples came from, and a little bit about the songs themselves. It seems like he works with quite a few people he never actually meets. Ah, the nature of the internets. Always entertaining, tonight was no exception.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from or seen Melbourne’s The Morning After Girls (above). The group are now based in New York and feature a new lineup – with founding members Sacha Lucashenko and Martin B. Sleeman the remaining Aussies of the group. With a new lineup, and a new country supporting them, I have to say they felt like a band I’d never seen before. Sure, it had been a good five years since I’d last enjoyed their company, but I never remember them being this good. They were playing the sort of music I wish I heard out of The Dandy Warhols these days. Catchy, hypnotic psychedelia. I have no doubt it is the aesthetic they've been going for over the years and as such they're nailing it with total conviction.
And the festival has barely gotten started yet! Stay tuned for plenty more coverage…
All Photos by Chloe Ryan. More photos below: