No Age, Peaking Lights, Roses
Center for the Arts Eagle Rock
March 14, 2014
The Center for the Arts Eagle Rock is a gorgeous venue: pristine, peaceful, almost church-like. If you didn't know better, it's not the kind of place you'd expect to see rockin' out, jackfruit tacos, vegan "pulled pork" sandwiches and weed smell everywhere. But, hey, on Friday night at the No Age show, good vibes were in the air.
That is, except for Mark Greshowak from Dunes. He was injured in a hit-and-run accident while riding his bike earlier that day. He needs surgery on his pelvis, but he's going to be okay. So, local act Roses took over Dunes' slot.
Roses performed new wave jams as red and blue lights shone upon the group. Twangy guitars cascaded over dreamy synthesizers and drum machine beats, creating a layered sound that was easy to close your eyes and bob your head to. Computerized claps gave them a particularly "Whip It" era Devo sound: fist-pumps and other dorky dance moves ensued.
Next, Peaking Lights brought their obscure psych-dub step. It was pretty weird. Most of the crowd (skater punks, girls with septum rings and knee high socks, guys with ponytails) watched with glazed-over eyes, in a trance. One guy closed his eyes and did some awkward tai-chi-like dancing, but everyone else just looked slightly confused about what to do with their hands.
Sometimes the bass would get heavier or the duo would drop a jungle beat that pulled you back in. They played a song called "More High" that they produced for Dublab's Spring 2013 Proton Drive that went on for what seemed like 10 minutes of Indra Duris singing "vibrant visions in your mind, good vibrations all the time" while Aaron Coyes got busy on a soundboard.
Something about Peaking Lights was strangely intriguing. But by the end, one felt that to feel their "positive vibrations," one needed to be "more high."
But next No Age took the stage, and everything came back into focus.
No Age played for about 10 seconds before I was smacked in the face by a flying elbow. The dynamic in the room changed instantly, and the crowd was suddenly stage-diving, crowd-surfing, and whipping their hair like Willow Smith.
No Age delivered their 18-song set hard and fast, only pausing when Randy Randall broke a guitar string. While Randall fixed his instrument Dean Spunt thanked those that helped make their last record, An Object, possible. The handful of people he listed re-instilled the DIY spirit that makes No Age's imperfect rock so relatable, raw, and fun.
Next, the shredding proceeded. The pit reopened into a gaping hole in the center of the room, and kids quickly poured in. Raw energy bounced from the band and pulsated through the incredibly intimate space. It was like trying to keep a tornado in a shoebox.
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Then, Randy broke another string, and another. Three strings in one night: a record for the group. Maybe they were rocking a little too hard. But, judging by the pool of sweat left on the floor, it was probably more like mission accomplished.
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