Pre-Coachella Party: !!! + Zechs Marquise @ Detroit Bar

Nic Offer of !!! likes to dance

Marcel Rodriguez Lopez and Marfred Rodriguez Lopez of Zechs Marquise chop it up at Detroit Bar

The two bands playing Costs Mesa’s intimate, chic-grunge Detroit Bar Thursday night were big. Too big.

Too big for the stage they took, in sheer size, sound and force. Big enough to play Coachella too, to thousands of screaming fans. But on the Thursday night before Coachella weekend, I caught these two astounding bands up close…and for a lot less money.

The night started with instrumental mind-melting jams from Zechs Marquise, the buzzworthy El Paso, Texas prog-rock outfit that not only sounds like The Mars Volta’s little brother, but actually includes three of them. Marfred, Marcel and Rikardo Rodriguez-Lopez play bass, drums and keys respectively, and happen to be the younger siblings of infamous Mars Volta guitarists Omar Rodriguez Lopez. (Drummer Marcel Rodriguez Lopez plays in the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group).

I discovered these guys when they opened for friends and Sargent House labelmates RX Bandits at The Glasshouse in Pomona a few months back. And while I was blown away then, Thursday’s set was insane. Grooving basslines meshed with frenetic guitar riffs, while Marcel was astoundingly able to keep up to constantly changing rhythms. No singing, but a great prog-rock fix when you’ve already mastered the entire Volta collection.

Next up was veteran psychedelic dance-funk !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk). The Sacramento-based band has been starting parties since 1996 and continues to put on an extremely energetic and fun live show. Lead singer Nic Offer handles most of the entertainment with his sexual dance moves that look a little like humping. By the second song, Offer was in the crowd singing face to face with all the fans. It was nuts.

!!! released a new album recently, entitled “Strange Weather, Isn’t It?” Standout tracks are “AM/FM”, “Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass”, and “Hollow”.

Zechs Marquise, formed in 2009, has been touring on their first full-length, “Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare.” A new record on the way. Expect your mind to be blown.

LIVE VIDEOS from both performances below:

NeedtoBreathe bring major label shine to Glasshouse in Pomona

NeedtoBreathe‘s performance at The Glasshouse in Pomona last Friday was startlingly impressive.

NeedtoBreathe is an alternative rock band from Seneca, South Carolina. Some might call it Christian rock, which makes sense since brothers Bear Rinehart (singer, lead guitarist) and Bo Rinehart (guiatrist, vocals) are the sons of an Assembly of God pastor.

The group has got a Midwest-style look and sound, between their cowboy boots, tight jeans and plaid Western shirts.

Frontman Bear (no known relation to Bear Grills) could best be described as the lovechild of Kid Rock and Sawyer from Lost (he’s second from left above).

He’s got the gruff, bad boy appeal with tattoos and long blonde hair and the perfect voice to match.

Rinehart’s raw voice keeps the band from sounding too clean, but the sound is perfectly polished. Live, they sound phenomenal – maybe it was the mixing or the shiny, high end equipment, or the major label support, but I was blown away by the quality.

Not that RX Bandits and The Dear Hunter weren’t awesome at The Glasshouse a couple weekends ago, but being signed to Atlantic Records apparently means a big difference.

It’s not often I catch major label acts, since I try and avoid mainstream music as much as possible (thank you top 40s, now go to hell).

But Atlantic’s been eating up some of my favorite artists recently, namely Equal Vision Records labelmates Circa Survive and Portugal. The Man.

But I’ve been singing NeedtoBreathe’s “Washed by the Water” in my head since they performed an intimate, full acoustic version to finish off their show.

Check out “Lay ‘Em Down”, “Girl Named Tennessee” and “We Could Run Away.”

Call it Christian rock if you want, but it’s just damn good. “The Outsiders” is the third and latest studio effort from this quartet, and with appearances by stomp-clap rhythms, banjo and harmonica it’s a must hear.

>>>Below, “Washed by the Water” acoustic at the Glasshouse in Pomona, April 30:

>>>Below, “Lay ‘Em Down” is one of the standout tracks of NeedtoBreathe’s new album “The Outsiders”:

A real update? Something to say, music to spare

So my biggest problem with blogging is that I don’t take enough time to actually do it!

Right now, my schedule is pretty intense — Monday Wednesday Fridays @ Current TV in Hollywood (more on my experiences with LA public transportation to come). The other four days of the week are at The Apple Store in Brea. The rest of my time consists of sleeping, eating (yet another topic of discussion to come), drinking girlfriend, email, etc.

Though I do spend a lot of time on computers, I tend to be doing other things. Like devouring news, interning, and selling them.

Computers aside, let’s get to last week’s shows (I know, sooo outdated. so sorry. my post times should improve with the upcoming purchase of a long-awaited iphone (more on that later, again)…

The experimental indie group started a dance party at the Troubadour Sept. 27.

The experimental indie group started a dance party at the Troubadour Sept. 27.

!!! (pronounced, sometimes written chk chk chk) rocked the house at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, one of my all-time favorite venues. Small club with two bars, and a very up close and personal stage.

Played a lot of good ones from “Myth Takes” and an older one called “Intensify” that was awesome.

An all-out dance funk party. The crowd was into it; touching, fondling and grooving to the somewhat homoerotic dance moves and hip thrusts from frontman Nic Offer.

And there was an awesome old-school cool black lady singing gospel-punk style backup, dancing and clapping when she didn’t have a part.

The eight piece Brooklyn ensemble definitely kicked ass, and the crowd interaction with Offer was great. He even went up to the green room at one point mid-set, not coming back to the stage until a few minutes into a new song.

Most impressive though? The Troubadour fans actually screamed and clapped loud enough, for a good long 1 or 2 minutes (gasp!) before the band returned. Which in writing doesn’t seem all that cool, but if you’ve been to as many rock shows as I have where the audience hammers out a clap for under 30 seconds before a group comes back, that’s just lame. If you’re gonna put on an encore, make sure it’s really worth it! I can’t remember what songs were played for the encore because it’s been too long, so we’ll move on.

——-

Rewind one night and I’m at the Glasshouse in Pomona. I love this locati0n. Mostly because I can catch great bands really close to home. I live a good mile away from downtown Pomona and have been taking the Metrolink from there to get to Hollywood lately. The train station is actually quite nice. A transit center for buses too. But I also love the Glasshouse because there’s now an amazing bar next door called Acerogami. Nothing on tap disappoints me greatly; but Perry Tollet, the owner of the Glasshouse, Acerogami, and part-owner of the Pomona Fox and Goldenvoice, apparently has a thing for Souther American beers…so besides the basic low quality bottles of domesticated Coors and Miller stuff, ask for the unique ones.

Getting to the point here, I went with my buddy Art to see Portugal. The Man. This is a band I will not stop talking about. You can watch or listen to a live performance in the KCRW studios here from a few weeks ago to see what I mean. The band’s live show has evolved greatly from simply performing excellent quirky indie numbers to turning the set into a full-on jam experimental jam session with a few pop morsels from their latest, The Satanic Satanist, to round things out.

Words can’t describe, so go here for yourself. I’ve still got a tune called “The Sun” sitting in my box widget over on the right hand side that you can download, free of charge. I’m sure the Alaskans by way of Portland (from Alaska, residing in Portland) wouldn’t mind. Share the love right

ptm

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TO finish this age-old update, I also caught Wallpaper (I know, crazy fuckin week) on Tuesday @ Cinespace. An entertaining performance for sure. Amazing? Naw, but we had fun. Wallpaper, I recently discovered, is a hilarious side project of Eric Frederic. Who is he? He is someone I’ve been following for years, fronting Locale A.M. and more recently Facing New York. FNY is incredible — an audio triceratops as Matt Embree of RX Bandits once referred to them as in conversation.

Wallpaper is more of an autotune R&B white rapper kinda thing that is ridiculous in far too many ways to explain. The dude’s wearing white jeans, a 70s style shirt, a gold chain, shades and a hat, singing about “going big on the weekend” in my personal favorite: T-Rex. See for yourself…thanks to my friend Claire for introducing me, not knowing who was behind the creation, and to my friend Grant who probably thinks its awesome: