Photos: Echo Park Rising 2023

Starcrawler at Echo Park Rising (Photo by Notes From Vivace)

Echo Park Rising on Saturday made a powerful return after a three-year absence, albeit the free, all-ages neighborhood festival was scaled back to one day after blossoming into a multi-day affair over its first decade.

Sunset Boulevard was buzzing throughout the day, especially around the Sticky Rice street corner. The Semi-Tropic and Sticky Rice outdoor stages were packed with crowds all day long. For some bands, people were forced to hang out on the sidewalks. The Echo and Echoplex had long lines of people waiting for a chance to see the headliners.

Starcrawler’s set started out with calming music blasting out of the Echoplex’s speakers and then the band came out and shredded that vibe to pieces with their glam-punk music. It took only a few moments before fans climbed on stage and started to stage dive. One fan came onstage and took way too long to decide to stage dive. A flick of the wrist from the band and a stagehand rushed on stage to gently encourage the fan to do his stage dive. Another fan hesitated, as well, so lead singer Arrow De Wilde motioned that she would join the fan.

Slater and Israel’s Arcade had their fans jumping and moshing throughout at the Echo and Echoplex, respectively. As midnight arrived over at the Echo, Slater yelled “Jump, Jump,” the crowd jumped in joy. He joined the audience for one song, with the crowd tight around him until he briefly disappeared from sight. Israel’s Arcade was thrilled when the mosh pit started up for the band’s set. The band’s “12 Regrets” got an enthusiastic response from the crowd. The set closed out with “Car Crash” and had fans crowd-surfing on the shoulders of friends.

The award for putting the most effort and imagination into their set has to go to Bonavega. It was a full-on theatrical production with a storyline that included a magician who briefly imprisoned Bonavega. A shark and wolf also made appearances. A young girl was off to the side of the stage, thrilled with the whole production; that is, until the magician showed that he had killed the shark and wolf and then a deep look of concern and fear crossed her face. As the set came to a close, a fan yelled out, “We’re all pregnant … even the dudes.”

Gold Star packed the Echo. The band’s folk-rock music connects with people, and many fans could be seen singing the lyrics. As was once said during another packed set, “People show up for Gold Star, baby.” Singer Marlon Rabenreither told BuzzBands.LA, “I love Echo Park, I’m glad this festival is back! I live down the street and this community is everything to us. I hope it’s around forever. Everything changes, but tonight I’m reminded of how special this neighborhood and this festival is. Big love.”

MACKandgold worked the Spirit House (the bar at Sticky Rice) earlier in the day and then took over the Sticky Rice outdoor stage at 7 p.m. The stage was at capacity and so fans lined the sidewalk to catch the set. She started out the set by announcing the disappointing news that her Instagram page got hacked just an hour earlier and that she just wasn’t going to pay $200 to get it back. She then launched into a fun and entertaining show that had her saying at one point, “That’s why we have knee pads.” And when she asked for a “vibe check,” the crowd gave her a strong one.

Jenny O. and Tender Misfit each hit the stage at 2 p.m. at Sticky Rice’s respective stages. Jenny O. played stripped-down versions of songs such as “The Big Cheese.” Tender Misfit had the electronic beats buzzing. Ariel Beesley of Tender Misfit hung around the area most of the day and spoke with BuzzBands.LA about the experience, “Yeah! Been fun as hell. Discovering so many rad bands and it’s fun running around seeing shows with friends!”

Boy Deluxe sang at Sticky Rice, “You know I want to freak out.” Buckets’ guitarist over at the Semi-Tropic took his guitar in directions that wasn’t imaginable and had the guitar strap protesting and removing itself from the situation. The Doohickeys held court at the Douglas for the early-arriving crowd. Their song “This Town Sucks” about Liberty, Mo., had a person out in the crowd saying that they grew up in that general area, but across the border in Kansas. On what potentially might have been the hottest day in September, Family Cash reminded the crowd that cooler weather was just around the corner, “Halloween decorations are at CVS. That’s huge. Fall is here.” Iress roared at the Echoplex and the crowd roared back with approval. Lara Mrgic over at Lifted Botanical House sang about the “sweet little angel on the Westside.” Tolliver at Sticky Rice told the audience that he was wearing his “finest and dirtiest wig.” Velvet Penny’s music mixed well with the candle scents over at P.F. Candle Co.

For those who just needed one more hit, the Echoplex had a Bowie Tribute Afterparty where various Los Angeles musicians took to the stage to cover his music. Laena Myers (of the band Feels and solo project Laena) sang two covers: “Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide” and “Space Oddity.”

And at the east end of Sunset, where Bar Henry’s strong lineup was anchored by Spare Parts for Broken Hearts and the Pretty Flowers, the crowd got a drive-by thumbs-up by none other than Adam Sandler.

Photos and recap by Notes From Vivace