Echo Park Rising 2018, Day 2: From TT to James Supercave to Satanic doo-wop, an energy high

James Supercave at Echo Park Rising (Photo by Zane Roessell)
James Supercave at Echo Park Rising (Photo by Zane Roessell)

As the rigors of the work week subsided, a late-arriving crowd brought a tenor of sheer bedlam to Friday’s second day of Echo Park Rising 2018. It got frenetic, although the needle never lurched into the red zone. All kinds of music was played; friendships were renewed (maybe the best part of this annual free-for-all); lines grew longer and longer as the night progressed; and the whole thing ended with a Satanic ritual that was interrupted with a shout of “And f*ck Donald Trump!”

By the time the crowd melted into the night, there were plenty of sore legs and feet — besides the “Rising” part, EPR always makes for Lots of Walking — but few attendees were in more pain than Rob Kolar of the husband-wife duo KOLARS. Midway through their typically athletic/aerobic performance on the Liberty Stage, Kolar enthusiastically jumped into the photo pit to shred a little bit. In doing so, he sustained a broken ankle.

Here’s some of what we witnessed (you can fill us in on what we missed):

► New teenage five-piece Liily sounded all grown up, dispensing their thrashing, slashing alt-rock in the 5 o’clock hour on the Liberty Stage.

Emma Cole’s 6 p.m. set at Trencher came with the fragrance of excellent sandwiches (note to self: eat), emotive songs from her album “If You Don’t Holler, No One Will Hear” and some nifty backing vocals courtesy of Lelia Broussard.

► Lot 1 Café was a haven for loud, sweaty sets for much of the weekend, but rock trio the Absurd (best band motto: Make America Absurd Again) dialed it back, doing an acoustic set while Charlie Overbey was raging loud and twangy across the street at the Laveta Stage. It was a fine start to a four-band sprint in the 7 o’clock hour …

► Just a few minutes later, KOLARS’ Rob Kolar was making his fateful stage leap, which didn’t immediately affect the duo’s palpable energy but had to hurt like hell. Ice and elevate …

► Moments later, the Molochs embarked on playing songs from their new album “Flowers in the Spring,” which comes out early next month. The Echo was cool, the crowd was cool, the songs were cool, and a cold brew coffee proved a perfect pick-me-up.

► And then, back at the Liberty Stage, sounded like the headliner they could have been. It was post-punk wall-of-guitar sonic bliss that perhaps would have been better at 1 a.m. instead of almost 8 p.m., but nonetheless Jeff Fribourg’s sheer intensity proved intoxicating for the growing crowd.

► The side room at Sticky Rice provided a perfect setting for 1) catching one’s breath and 2) digesting a quick dinner. There to help was singer-songwriter Henry Wolfe, acoustic guitar in hand, fronting a trio. We might have been hallucinating, but we swear he started with a Clientele song (the most welcome cover song we heard all weekend). He played his 2015 single “Encino,” and shortly thereafter his set was cut short due to time constraints.

► Chicano Batman was one of the highlights of EPR 2016, and that band’s talents were on display this year too — in the form of solo projects. Eduardo Arenas — aka É Arenas — threw down some delicious grooves at the Echo. Even for gringos, there was no language barrier here. (Chicano Batman’s Bardo Martinez would be on the main stage Saturday.)

► Arenas was followed at the Echo by Tropa Magica, the new incarnation of Eastside favorites Thee Commons, who proved the force is still strong within their psychedelic cumbia.

► Unless you arrived really early, or could magically walk through walls, or fly over long lines, or knew one of the doormen, there was hardly a way to get into the packed Echoplex for the most sought-after back-to-back-to-back sets of the night: Drugdealer, followed by Hooveriii, followed by Current Joys. Suffice to say it was fever-pitched.

► Just as much of a madhouse was James Supercave’s night-ending set on the outdoor Laveta Stage, where there was a line around the corner of fans trying to get in. It’s probably the only show frontman Joaquin Pastor will ever play in sight of his abode — “I live right up there,” he said, pointing across Sunset up the hill to the buildings on Laguna Avenue. There was much spastic dancing, a couple of new Supercave songs and a dancetastic ending with the medley of “Burn/No Pressure,” which summarily was cut off at the big finish due to the strict 10 p.m. curfew.

► As the Laveta Stage calmed down, the energy at Lot 1 next door ramped up, thanks to Well Hung Heart, who worked up a sweat with defiant grrrl punk featuring virtuosic guitar. They saved the best for last when they braced the crowd that they’d be closing with a rap song. Zack De La Rocha, meet your female match, Greta Valenti.

► Headlining the Liberty Stage, TT (Theresa Wayman of Warpaint) painted dazzling bold strokes with lots of synths and smoke, at some points melding her indie alternative sound with a vocoder voice effect usually reserved for pop and rap. The audience was entranced as she closed the night on the Liberty Stage. Included: the non-album track “Soon to Be Forgot.”

► And to end the evening, there was the “Satanic doo-wop” ensemble Twin Temple at the Echoplex. Many in the crowd were obviously new to Twin Temple and their onstage rituals, some not quite ready to embrace it. In between their swampy, gothic tunes, Twin Temple’s ceremony included audience members barking, which led to a full-crowd moon howl, which later led to someone yelling “F*ck Trump!” To which Alexandra James replied, “That’s why we’re here!!” The entire crowd joined with the chant, which fit with the earlier incantation railing against patriarchy.

||| Also: Echo Park Rising, Thursday coverage

Photos by Samuel C. Ware and Zane Roessell