Echo Lake + Evans The Death The Lexington, London October 1, 2012 To say that 2012 hasn't been the easiest of years for Echo Lake would be a sad understatement. The tragic loss of their drummer Pete Hayes coinciding with the release of their debut album was a crushing setback for this wonderful London band-in-ascendant.
A couple of songs into Lydia Loveless’s evening set, and it’s difficult to tell where Lydia the singer ends and Lydia the person begins. It’s simply hard to imagine a woman like this, barely in her twenties, and standing a little over five foot tall in her boots, could be so worldly and explosive. And yet, there she is, muttering a string of f-bombs during a song break because she can’t get her guitar tuned quite right. The attitude, the weathered, sarcastic smile. The edge. That’s pretty damn tough to fake.
How strange to be more than fifteen years into a career and to finally achieve growing, and now glowing, recognition for the music you make. Bands today, the inverse applies, they learn to walk before they can crawl, record a debut they'll never repeat and disappear as if they never existed. Real artists will maintain and nurture their craft regardless of an audience, which more or less, is the story of Dan Bejar. Better known as the wild-card songwriter in Canadian power-pop supergroup The New Pornographers, Bejar's work as Destroyer is like mainlining into Bejar's psyche, which prior to you only got the briefest taste of.
Having to write a live review on the fly, almost two weeks after it happened, from notes hastily scribbled, while packing to go to a festival will show us this is not the way to be. There's no time to go into great detail, to labour the point, to draw comparisons between George Lewis Jr's physical appearance (a little bit Prince, a little bit Morrissey), or the sound (a little bit Prince, a little bit Morrissey, albeit on a synth-sprung landscape). Twin Shadow, at least from this writer's perspective, has adequately filled the gap that LCD Soundsystem left by their absence, in making music that moves and is moving, that is confident without being arrogant, and is just too perfect for words.
Jonneine Zapata's Cast the Demons Out came out of nowhere and managed to do what it said on the tin. And all indications were that live was where she excelled. Comparisons were bandied around from PJ Harvey and Patti Smith for there strong vocal ranges to Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger for their bold sexual stage presence. Apart from the smoldering mic stand gripping, her onstage persona also alternates between standing still with an ice cold stare, holding her arms aloft swaying like an eagle, and my favourite, lurching around the stage like a drunken marionette. Unsettling? Maybe but never boring.