At the end of June, I needed a break. I needed to relax my mind and escape from the sometimes surreal, and often exhausting place they call the Bay Area. Like any sane person I decided the best place to escape for a little bit of relaxation was Los Angeles; the land of the Kardashians and Korean Taco Trucks!
In between the food, lining up for food, more food and catching up with friends I decided to see my first ever gig in Los Angeles, and luckily Luna Shadows was part of a stellar bill at The Echo which also included TRACE, So Below, and Portland upstarts who recently moved to SoCal, Layne.
Songwriter and producer Luna Shadows had caught my ear with Hallelujah California, as well as an accomplished and fun-loving performance at San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop a few months prior. With the Californian flag held high she played a set which was a little longer and a little more polished than her one in SF. Luna Shadows has a way of performing which holds attention. While singing she moves and weaves with the grace of a swan, only to explode in restrained exuberance with the verbose basslines which accentuate her music.
Opening the night was Layne; the indie-pop-rock project of Layne Putnam and Alexander Rosca, originally from Portland but now residing in the City of Angels. The pair have been making music together for a number of years, however, appear to have found their stride with their latest project. Playing a set heavy with new songs, their music is urgent and bleeds energy. Layne feel like one of those bands starting to create a mini groundswell and their burgeoning following around Southern California had the Echo feeling busy from very early on in the night.
Headlining the jam packed bill was TRACE, who was playing her first ever headline show – was she nervous; yes – she admitted this when sharing a story about forgetting the passcode to her phone. No nerves were on display as her music soothed and caressed the eardrums. A last minute addition to the bill was Madeline North’s New Zealanders So Below, which helped the night end on an intriguing note.
During her set, Luna Shadows shared how The Echo is a venue which is dear to her heart. It is one she often frequents and one which has served as a source of inspiration. She mentioned how this music she is making right now may not even exist if it were not for shows she had seen perform at The Echo.
My first gig in L.A. felt like a glimpse into the future of electro-indie-pop. All four bands brought their own spin to a genre which is screaming out for originality and drama. With new music in the works for all four bands, it may go down as one of those “were you there,” nights as the future appears to be bright for each of the four musical projects.