It’s not that the shows over the last couple years at The Griffin are “secret shows”, per se. The Ty Segall and the Freedom Band gig a month ago before Segall’s latest album dropped, had a line stretching around the alley behind the Griffin with a couple hundred fans that didn’t make it in. I weep for those poor souls. But “Secret Show” sounds infinitely doper than “unpromoted show”. This past Monday it was Cory Hanson’s band Wand that ignored the most important rule and defining trait of a secret; Loose Lips Sink Ships and Snitches Get Stitches. What we got was perfectly populated place of Wand worship and an opening band that ditched the psych rock dogma to create a unique style; PsychCore. I know, I know- shoot me in the face if ever say that word again!
The Religion of Rock n Roll and it’s Testimony at The Griffin
Monday night’s at The Griffin are starting to resemble Sunday’s at church. Familiar faces amongst the congregants privy to the message being delivered in the sermon, captivated by the clergy and the message of rock and roll delivered to the flock who revere them.
related content: Shannon and the Clams- A Case of the Monday’s at The Griffin
One of the things that is special about these musicians that are invited to play at what’s becoming L.A.’s rock and roll club house is the accessibility of indie rockstars such as Shannon and the Clams, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, The Coathangers and the manager of the Griffin and booker of secret shows, Jason Finazzo of the The Birth Defects.
Sometimes, on rare occasions such as this past Monday’s show, the enthusiasm of an exceptional opening band can steal the show from a headliner; especially if the headliner is complaining about the sound at what’s supposed to be a stripped down, underground show; stripped of expectations and posturing. I won’t get into details or nuances but you catch my drift.
Dreamdecay Trip Out Hard at The Griffin
Dreamdecay is my most exciting accidental find in months and I’m only in this racket for the accidental find. Borderline hardcore and more than just a little trippy, the frontman of the band is it’s drummer, Justin Gallego and while the total sum of it’s parts would be lost without the other, it seems like Dreamdecay songs might be written around the drum parts, rather than the riffs.
2 and 3 string fifth notes and power chords blended together by two guitarists that make discord and dissonance a dance punk disaster of fun and mathematical precision, while the bass guitar locks into the drums like a barrel locks in to form the action of a pistol. Hard and heavy and melodic in it’s dissonance, Gallego’s vocals travel through multiple processors to find a slap back melody where none should exist. Plus, any band that has a tambourine player as a conductor, of sorts, that bounces in the background in a chaos of hair and no visible microphone to capture the sound from his tinny percussive pace maker anywhere in the live audio mix. He’s almost like some tripped out conductor that keeps the band in reality by getting lost in it himself. Dreamdecay is a band that is locked into it’s own dystopian fantasy of fun and fury. This shit is dope, y’all.
Wand are like Sex and Pizza
I’ll be honest; I love Wand but even with the prodigiousness of one of my favorite young guitarists, the dynamism and progressive rock vibes of Wand fell flat after following the fuckery and pleasurable dissonance of Dreamdecay. Especially with Hanson seemingly giving off some serious attitude over the sound which sounded really good anywhere in the house. Monitors be damned in the brick and concrete sarcophagus of The Griffin. As a fan, I’ve forgiven Hanson already if what I thought I witnessed was indeed what it was but you can’t follow an opening band like Dreamdecay with anything but an all out Alpha display to rise to the challenge of hungry new blood in music.
related content: Thee Oh Sees & Wand Back For Holiday Food Drive at The Teragram
Words: Danny Baraz
Photos: Jessica Moncrief