Echo Park Rising 2018, Day 1: Criminal Hygiene, Spain and more as festival takes off

Criminal Hygiene at Echo Park Rising (Photo by Bronson)
Criminal Hygiene at Echo Park Rising (Photo by Bronson)

If you just wanted to get your feet wet at Thursday’s ostensibly low-key first night of Echo Park Rising, you were in for a surprise.

It’s Echo Park Rising, and there’s little in the way of low-key.

From Boots Electric — aka Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal — rattling the windows at tiny Lot 1 Café to the packed rooms at the Echo and Echo Patio to the value-added Dangerbird Records showcase in the Champagne Room at Taix, there was a test for every taste. Some highlights, briefly:

Criminal Hygiene made their night-ending set at Taix special — they played their (long-overdue) completed album in its entirety. Who knew these hellions even had an album done? Not many. Veteran producer Alex Newport, who was in attendance. The folks from L.A.-based Dangerbird, who were coy as to when the album might be released (best bet: early 2019). Criminal Hygiene’s no-frills rock is where brainy meets brawny, and lightly frosted with caustic. (We’ve always thought they were the Replacements to FIDLAR’s Blink-182.) Hope they do this set again sometime.

► Kicking off the Dangerbird night was Josh Haden’s long-running slo-core project Spain, who, it turns out, will be releasing their eighth album on the label. Haden was joined on violin and backing vocals by his sister Petra, who along with sister Tanya (on cello) and a host of L.A. luminaries will appear on the album. It’s titled “Mandala Brush” and will be out Sept. 28. (Stream the song “Maya in the Summer” here.)

► At the Echo, rapper Def.sound lit up the crowd. It was the first show with his full band in a while, as his bandmates have recently been serving as the backing band for Kali Uchis. Annabelle Maginnis of MetronOhm guested.

► Fronting a five-piece band, A.O. Gerber tried valiantly to do her dreamy indie-rock justice at the Semi Tropic, but, alas, the small venue’s pop-up sound system was not up to the task. You did hear enough to know that you wanted to catch her another time.