HEALTH ROCKS THE ECHO, OPENER IS COMPLETE ASSHOLE
Thursday night. It was time to unwind from a long first week of school with a nice drink and a Breaking Bad marathon. I was just about to begin my pathetic descent into Dorito-stained apathy when I received a call from God. His name is Greg, and he had scored tickets to a show at the Echo. The band was HEALTH, a noise band that I had only had minimal interaction with. I’d listened to Lightning Bolt and felt like that was enough to fulfill my noise quota, but being assured that this show would not be to my regret, I decided to tag along.
Now, The Echo is not my favorite venue. Sure, it does book some great talent, but its dark, muggy, disco-vomit interior has probably seen more unsavory acts committed within it’s walls than the whole of Jennifer Aniston’s acting career. Plus, it smells literally like vomit. Yet, that is not even the worst of it. The venue itself is situated in Echo Park. Echo Park, though not as highly hipster saturated as the Fleet Foxes theme park known as Silverlake, sees its fair share of non-ironic irony and crumpled PBR cans. Such was the case when we arrived on the scene. A line had already formed outside; we parked a few blocks away. Surrounded by rows of smart cars and stewing in self-hatred, we made our way past crowds of ill-fitting jeans, terrible literary references, a guy who said his hero was Jack Kevorkian, and some fucking asshole mimes, into the venue. “This better be worth missing Doritos and Breaking Bad in my underwear,” I thought to myself. Little did I know it would turn out to be quite an eye opening experience.
Let’s begin with this cold hard concrete factoid that is completely and fantastically true: opening bands, most of the time, suck a big fat one. Such was the case here. We arrived late and missed the first opener, but if the second was any indication of the talent pool, then we missed absolutely nothing. The second band was called Tearist, and they were god awful. Composed of an instrumentalist and a banshee, they shrieked and groaned their way through a set that was defined mainly by what can only be described as poop. Trying much too hard to appeal to their artsy fartsy “I’m an asshole and I won’t bum you any cigarettes even though I have a full pack” crowd, Tearist pulled no punches in their application to the awful department. They even, in true “fuck everyone” style, proceeded to pull out a block and hit it with a stick. Multiple times. In the crowd. Then she took off her shirt. That was Tearist in a nutshell.
HEALTH, on the other hand, put on a fantastic live show. They opened with the slow burning “Courtship” and then proceeded to pummel face. Songs like “Die Slow”, “Crimewave”, and “Be Like Water” awed and deafened the crowd. John, the bassist, acted like a man possessed, swaying and gyrating as their drones washed over the crowd like waves. They even came out and played “Girl Attorney” for the encore. I left the venue a satisfied man, and then witnessed a man peeing on a smart car. It was a good night.