June 17, 2017 | Los Angeles, CA | Echoplex
Written & photographed by Ben Manzella (More Than Flashing Lights & Sound)
As summer begins, I typically become more reclusive. While I was born and raised in Los Angeles, the heat and all its cliché tropes of “fun in the sun” have been more likely to sicken me than to be something engaging. This is partly what I believe influenced my immediate love for the niche sound in electronic music described as “darkwave” or “coldwave”. Without listing any specific artists and possibly starting a useless debate, it is fair to say that certain synthesizer sounds have an “icy” or “cold” tonality to them. It was with this in mind that I was particularly excited to finally see Drab Majesty live along with Xeno & Oaklander, as well as to have a long-awaited opportunity to see Chasms again.
While doing some promo work for the San Francisco-based music/film festival, Noise Pop, in 2015; I discovered Chasms through helping sell merchandise on behalf of the festival at one of my favorite bar venues in the Bay Area called Bottom of the Hill. While they have come through cities I’ve lived in or passed through since then, this was my first opportunity to actually see them live again. The musical chemistry between Jess Labrador and Sky Madden is a lovely bond to witness; as they balance both calm and chaos in their music which is equally as captivating both on recording, as well as in the presence of a live audience. Their debut album, On the Legs of Love Purified, was released last October by Felte and a personal highly recommended release.
Next in the lineup for the evening would be Xeno & Oaklander. A duo act comprised of Sean McBride & Liz Wendelbo; they are both skilled in the way which they manipulate sound, as well as manage to perform in a live setting. I’ve only recently started to explore their discography but seeing them perform left me even more impressed with their music than I could have predicted. Having moments that could please almost any fan of electronic music whether you want to dance, or (like me) listen to the intricate rhythms and sound manipulation (from a more analytical point of view) enhances the overall live experience.
Finally, just after midnight; Mona D & Deb DeMure, the duo which makes Drab Majesty came on to the stage. Almost instantly making the Echoplex feel as though it had been transported to an otherworldly place of unknown origin; Drab Majesty made their homecoming show more than worth the wait after their months abroad for tour, and the packed crowd was clearly grateful. This show was also a record release show for The Demonstration released earlier this year in January through Dais Records. Thanks to Restless Nites, Dais, Spaceland Presents, L1L Death, & KXLU for their collaborative effort in putting this great and diverse night of music together.
Additionally, Drab Majesty will be headlining their first full North American tour this Fall – all dates/venue information listed below: