Martin Roy on
There have been a number of young bands tagged as “rock saviors” lately, and Plague Vendor certainly hold their own in that pantheon. The swarming and sweaty crowd at the Echo last Thursday night certainly considered them to be deities.
The Los Angeles show was the 19th of a 20-date U.S. tour in support of their sophomore June release, “By Night.” The band roared through the new material, the singles “New Comedown,” “Night Sweats” and “Let Me Get High/Low” as well as older fan faves like “Ox Blood” and “Jezebel.”
Singer Brandon Blaine expressed sincere gratitude towards the crowd, many of whom were singing along, “It’s great that you guys already know the songs from the new record. It really means a lot. Those words have traveled far.”
Their furious combination of infectious energy, guttural barks and howls, stuttering and scalding guitar work, and a rambunctious bass and drum corps isn’t all that original. It’s been a potent cocktail ever since Iggy and the Stooges first mixed that spirit in 1967, and Plague Vendor drink it up two-fisted.
However, they aren’t necessarily an actual punk band, but a post-punk band with a punk blood-and-guts attitude. They have the devil may care essence of Gun Club, with some of the wanton frenetic pace of the Jesus Lizard, but with boy band good looks.
Blaine is a consummate performer. He has that “it” factor that breaks down the barrier between himself and his teeming flock. More than once, he brazenly flung himself into the crowd to join the fray. This is not a sullen band. They happily beat on the beehive, with an intent to spread a joyful bit of ultraviolence, and their boisterous crowd didn’t need much encouragement to begin throwing elbows.
Given the size of the audience, one got the impression that this might be the last time the band would be playing a venue this size for a while. They are clearly on to bigger and better stages.
Openers No Parents are the type of band you’d have play your mansion party if you had rich parents and you really, really loathed them. They, too, smashed and grabbed the hearts of an audience willing to throw themselves about with reckless abandon.