Brett Boyd is a music teacher at John Marshall High School who has taken a simple guitar class and turned it into a program that not only teaches students the basics in music, but the ins and outs of production, sound, and the business itself. The “Youth in Rock” program not only gives students a head start in various music careers, but provides the extra motivation that so many of us needed in our high school years. Unfortunately, California’s never ending education budget crisis threatens to put an end to this because for some reason (without making this review too political) lawmakers believe arts and education should be the first thing to go amidst financial shortage.
With that being said, Boyd reached out to friend Theresa Wayman of Warpaint to see what could be done to save his class. The result was the first ever “Warpaint Presents” event at Fais Do-Do Saturday night that featured local heros like L.A. Witch, The Garden, and Warpaint themselves. The sold out fundraiser reflected the sheer magnitude of the importance of music to the Los Angeles youth and was an impressive rebuttal to those who believe music education is unnecessary.
The night began with Midnight Rose, a band of Boyd’s students who had all learned how to be in a band from the man himself. The students alternated in playing jazz, rockabilly, and shoegaze, showcasing the valuable lessons they had taken from his class. For the last song, Mr. Boyd joined them to play a Pavement-esque song he had wrote a few years back that fittingly dealt with the perils of job hunting. The power of the students backing their teacher in the finale struck home for the audience, it was obvious these kids looked up to him and valued his word.
Next up was L.A. Witch, one of my personal favorites. The trio carry on the L.A. fuzz blues foundations laid by The Gun Club and Mazzy Star but blanket it in shadowy witch psych. I feel like lead singer Sade Sanchez is this generation’s Hope Sandoval. Their haunting tone and stage aura blended well with the venue’s heavy use of fog created the perfect atmosphere for them. Ellie’s heavy handed drumming and Irita’s daunting bass balanced with Sade’s voice captivated the audience and undoubtedly stole some hearts in the process.
Special guests, The Garden, then took the stage and unleashed the sporadic onslaught of the Vada Vada universe they created. I have endless respect for originality and The Garden have not only created their own genre, but have constructed their own reality. Wyatt’s smirky demeanor commands the stage while Fletcher nonchalantly obliterates his drums. No kidding, he is one of the best drummers around right now. For so much sound and energy it is hard to believe there are only two instruments up there. Though I was busy having my face melted, it was hard not to notice the lack of enthusiasm in the crowd. This was the first Garden show I had ever seen where I didn’t fear for my life. My guess is that this particular crowd was there specifically for Warpaint and maybe wasn’t familiar with The Garden. I decided to dance by myself regardless and probably weirded out some people but whatever, if you don’t like to dance you deserve to feel uncomfortable.
Brett Boyd as well as Theresa’s two sons took stage to introduce Warpaint- a perfect symbol of the importance of our future’s education. Warpaint walked out I was deafened by cheers and screams. This was the crowd I was looking for and they finally came to. Stella, Jenny, and Theresa locked harmony and I had chills for the rest of the night. It is rare to find a single artists, let alone a group of four that can so effortlessly capture a crowd like Warpaint does. I can’t help but think of Sonic Youth when it comes to the unpredictability of their music and the unorthodox patterns represented through the instruments. Gut wrencher, “Love is to Die” muted the building as we all sat open jawed to an emotional barrage. Then to “Disco//very”, which amounted to uncontrollable energy on the dance floor, causing the hydraulic floor to rattle the whole venue and teeter the massive speaker cabinets cornering the stage. Before we knew it an hour long set had flashed before us and we still wanted more. A giant hats off to Warpaint for stepping up to the plate and addressing an issue that continuously damages our future. Hopefully the energy felt at Fais Do-Do Saturday continues to reflect itself in the community as we figure out a way to prevent valuable education from falling victim to politicians. Or maybe we can just cut Algebra instead of Music class (just kidding…but not really)
Words and Photos: David Evanko