Echo Park Rising started off in a big way, and by big we mean massive. Either we need to give a big thumbs up to the festival’s marketing team, or people were eager to devour a free Friday night of music. Perhaps it was also the fact that the fourth annual neighborhood festival started a night earlier than in past years, or maybe it was because this year’s lineup was just that great.
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Either way, crowds, lines and hallways made getting from Spot A to Spot B virtually impossible. Nonetheless Friday night was an adventure and I was one of the many who took part of the spectacle by catching a handful of bands that night.
Although Cherry Glazerr was on the agenda (they just finished up on the main stage as I arrived to the festival), I got a little preview of Banta (they played the Buzz Bands LA stage on Saturday) instead when I walked in during their last song at the Methodist Church.
Matt Kivel, who worked with his brother Jesse in Princeton and just released his second solo album, “Days of Being Wild,” followed-up with a stripped-down set. Even after finding out he was playing an hour earlier than he had thought was scheduled for, Kivel provided some intimacy and quietude.
Just outside of the church in the parking lot of Taix, Allah-Las were rocking the main stage and the crowd grew so large security were forced to shut the gates and have people watch the set from Sunset Boulevard to the south and Reservoir to the north. You’d think the inside of Taix was a bit calmer if everyone was outside for the main stage, but this proved to be wrong as the hallway to the Champagne Room impossible to navigate.
I managed to slip and and catch a few songs by Roses, who people may know as Juan Vigoda (formerly of Abe Vigoda). Hoping to catch some of Avid Dancer‘s set at the Echo across the street, I pushed my way through the masses only to find myself waiting with plenty of others since the venue was at capacity. However, I did manage to catch a rollicking set by Kevin Morby (Woods, the Babies) who performed songs off his excellent solo album “Harlem River.”
Thankfully the Echo and the Echoplex were allowing festival goers to take the stairs to go back and forth in between venues. This allowed me to end the night with two boisterous sets: De Lux threw down a wildly fun dance party downstairs while Dante Vs. Zombies rocked the stage upstairs. Announced as Dante vs. Zombies’ supposedly last show together, each member wore a costume from a different theme the band has had throughout the years. (But now there is Neo Globs to love?)
Only at the end of the evening did some festival-goers learn of – or witness the aftermath of – the stabbing death of Carlos Arrelano, the 22-year-old who was killed during a fight over a skateboard in the 1500 block of Sunset Boulevard near Lot 1 CafÃ©.