Festival Photos + Review: Lolipalooza 2 at The Echo & Echoplex (Los Angeles, CA)

Lolipalooza 2
Froth (Los Angeles, CA), Feels (Los Angeles, CA), Adult Books (Los Angeles/Orange County, CA), L.A. Witch (Los Angeles, CA), Kim and the Created (Echo Park, CA), Winter (Los Angeles, CA), Joel Jerome (Hawthorne, CA), Psychomagic (Portland, OR), Corners (Los Angeles, CA), Cosmonauts (Fullerton, CA), and White Fence (Los Angeles/San Francisco, CA)
June 27th, 2015
The Echo and Echoplex in Los Angeles, CA

Photos by Julien Kelly.

For those of you who live in Los Angeles, you usually have to travel pretty far out of the way for a music festival.  Thankfully, Lolipop Records, the record label out of Echo Park, decided to have one literally down the road from their home base.  The Lolipop family took over venues The Echo and The Echoplex in a grand fashion, turning the two-story venue and the surrounding parking lot into the freshly nostalgic, psychedelia haven that was Lolipalooza.

It was a jam-packed lineup, filled with Lolipop bands from around the country.  The festival played out like a reunion of sorts, as touring bands reunited with old friends on and off the stage, never forgetting to thank the incestual lovepool, Lolipop Records, for bringing them all under the same roof.

I caught a few of my favorites from the festival:

Froth was the first set that blew me away.  In fact, when I left later that night they were still the best set of the night.  They opened with a Brian Eno cover, and then delved deep into their new album, Bleak.  The album was a huge step up for lead singer, Joo-Joo Ashworth who now had the task of translating the energy and musicality of Bleak onstage.  Froth’s shoegazy garage rock was tight and powerful, and I was super impressed at how much they’d grown sonically as a band since the last time I saw them.  ‘’Postcard Radio’’ was definitely a highlight, but there really was no downtime, as the bass and drums continuously played interludes in between each song.  Towards the backend of the set, Joo-Joo pulled out the twelve string guitar and all hell broke loose in a fuzzy mess as he ripped through “Saccharine Sunchine.”  All in all it was one of the tightest sets I have seen in a long time, which set the bar really high for the duration of the festival.

I popped into the Echo for a hot minute to catch Feels, the local Lollipop quartet who has gained a lot of respect in and around Los Angeles.  Rightly so, as Feels not only know how to play their instruments, they own them.  The amount of control the front women have over their vocals and guitars amongst the heavy melodies is frightening, they’re scarily good at what they do.  Feels don’t pussyfoot around either; they went hard from start to finish, not letting the energy die down for a second.

Next, Lollipop staple Adult Books played their poppy blend of garage and surf rock, dishing up all the hits for the building crowd to enjoy.  I have to admit, their songs were as catchy as herpes, maybe not as dangerously so, but I could see why it had the crowd bouncing nonsensically.

Continuing downstairs at The Echoplex, L.A. Witch were delivering their sweet dish of reverbed-soaked bluesy punk, with pumping bass, hard drums, and groovy, dirty guitar lines.  They didn’t drop a beat for one song, and onstage I watched drummer Ellie English power through the whole set in what was some of the fittest, most exciting drumming I saw throughout the day.

Kim and The Created put on one hell of a show next, and if you take a look at the photos, you’ll know exactly why.  Kim was insane onstage, there was no place in the room she wasn’t afraid to be, whether it be atop the drum kit or on the ground right next to me.  Her exuberance was incomparable.  She crept across the stage, always on the balls of her feet, ready to react to whatever was going on musically in a moments notice.  She also threw the craziest amount of glitter into the crowd, dousing her fans with some of her signature Kim magic.

Winter, who had the challenge of going on after Kim and The Created, didn’t really seem to see it as a challenge at all.  Lead singer, Samira Winter, was as bubbly as she always is onstage, but this time it had an odd contrast.  Winter’s music had gotten a little darker and a lot heavier since when I saw them last.  Somehow though, it worked, possibly even better before, as they managed to be as sweet and mesmerizing while also delivering a dark musical undertone.

Joel Jerome was like being transported into the 60’s.  It’s no secret he’s a genius, as echoed by the Lolipop community all over the festival.  His band has some of the best musicianship of the fest, even pulling off the usually impossible task of covering The Beatles, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” at that.

Psychomagic were as weird and trippy as their name suggests.  I feel like they could re-do Dracula the Musical and it would be a really cool album, but maybe that’s just because one of their songs sounds like the monster mash.  The whole Patio Stage was filled with the band and guest acts including Kim of Kim and The Created who sung backing vocals on one of the songs.

All the other stages were closed now, as everyone headed into the Echoplex for the final three-band slew that Lolipalooza had to offer.  Corners sounded a lot like the 80’s, and well, a lot like Corners.  “Spaceship” and “Pressure” were notable highlights, hitting home with the crowd.

By now, everyone had no place else to go but to see the Cosmonauts.  I thought they were a lot better live than recorded, but as the last band before the headliner, I felt kind of underwhelmed.

White Fence finished the night with their legendary garage rock, jamming for what seemed like forever on some great songs.  These guys were true pioneers of the scene, and they did not let down.

Although the festival peaked early, Lolipalooza was still a relatively well-run, extremely fun festival.  Plus, it only took five minutes for everyone to get home.

Thoughts?