A dark, narrow Ham and Eggs Tavern traveled overseas and back in time towards early British rock ‘n’ roll as The Molochs vocalist Lucas Fitzsimons plucked a few twangs from his six strings, starting out the first set of the night.
The room quickly filled up once the rest of the band chimed in with surf worthy riffs. As Fitzsimons rasped out stories about every day hardship, bodies began grooving to standout back beats and dance worthy melodies.
Each song performed drew from early blues. Stripped down guitar riffs called on Lightin’ Hopkins while muffled drums echoed later Muddy Waters recordings. Stand out tunes included “Get a Job Blues,” which boasted rays of beating sun and salty waves. Other songs, like “Chain Smoke,” offered classic British Invasion sounds from the likes of early Rolling Stones.
Unlike most blues-garage-rock-fuzz bands in the Los Angeles scene, The Molochs know how to put on a no-fuss, gimmick free show and still keep a crowd in tune. The group pitched the perfect mood for a psych set from Drinking Flowers. – Angela Ratzlaff
Drinking Flowers get my vote as most improved band of 2013 and the audience at Ham & Eggs apparently agrees with me, as the band’s supporting set was clearly the evening’s biggest draw. While they’re definitely a psych band, Drinking Flowers distinguishes themselves from the rest by skipping the spoonful of sugar and instead ramming the medicine straight down your throat with a series of ultra evil rock songs in the mold of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd and Brian Jonestown Massacre. If there’s any band that you can expect to blow the fuck up in 2014, it’s Drinking Flowers.
Hellshovel painted the boozy-cluttered TGI-Fridays walls of the Ham & Eggs an unfamiliar color. Both of the show’s openers (The Molochs and Drinking Flowers) fit the bill and played quite well, but neither had as immersive and outright brutal an experience to offer. It was drastic and it was dirty. I feel like a broken record, but I get tired of bands offering the local brand of psychedelia; there’s something more to be explored than sunny days at the beach.
I’ve followed Jeff Clarke’s music for years with Demon’s Claws, and while part of me misses the country yarns that paired so well with the darker, stranger sounds, I think that Hellshovel brings an interesting extension to just how heavy the psychedelic sound can be. What they brought to sunny Los Angeles Saturday night wasn’t a description of an experience or a sound–they were creating it. The pallor that soaks Hellshovel’s sound strangles the feeling that everything is alright and forces the listener into a state of immersion. It’s refreshing, actually.
This is a band that makes music unique unto itself. To see this happen live is nothing but a treat. – A.A. Yuen