The Echoplex


See also: Our slideshow of the concert

How did we get so lucky? Los Angeles was one of four U.S. cities that Bristol, England trio Beak> decided to play this time around. Geoff Barrow, you know, of Portishead, brought his experimental rock group to the Echoplex last night and bowled us all over. It went something like this:

11:00 pm: Beak> takes the stage. We can't believe we're still spelling it this way. Geoff Barrow sits behind the drums, Billy Fuller is center stage with his bass and Matt Williams stands behind the synthesizers. They lead off with “Yatton.”

11:05 pm: A girl with two dreadlock buns on her head is doing a very intricate interpretive dance. This appears to not be her first rodeo.

11:07 pm: The heavy synthesizer and dark bass line create an intensely evil psychedelic sound. We fear for anyone on psychedelics right now.

11:11 pm: The band breaks into “Spinning Tops,” which causes the girls in front of us to fight their way to the front.

11:14 pm: Now a couple of girls are doing the worm. Didn't realize it was that kind of show.

11:14 pm: Billy Fuller just made the whole room vibrate with his guitar. I guess this is the “proper rocking” they just spoke of.

11:16 pm: The next, experimental and rough track is giving the speakers difficulty.

11:20 pm: Geoff Barrow addresses the crowd after the song ends: “There we go! That one got fucking fast at the end, and he [Williams] is not a computer, he's really making those sounds!” Fortunately, he does not slice him open with a knife to prove this point.

Credit: Timothy Norris

Credit: Timothy Norris

11:21 pm: Barrow takes over the synthesizers, and Williams is now seated behind the drums.

11:24pm: Williams' drum style is more aggressive than Barrow's, and brings the song to another level.

11:27pm: A voice near the back lets out a loud bird call.

11:31pm: Barrow: “You guys are a really quiet audience, but in a good way. When we played in Philadelphia they crowd chatted the whole time.”

11:32pm: Williams pounds the synth into sounding like a deranged, out-of-tune organ.

Credit: Timothy Norris

Credit: Timothy Norris

11:35pm: After a drawn out rollercoaster of a song, Barrow, Fuller and Williams have caused the kids at the Echoplex to headbang for five minutes straight.

11:39pm: “Did you just see how many people went from standing still to completely rocking out?” says a guy behind us. “That was awesome!”

11:44 pm: The interpretive dance girl is back, but this time not dancing in an interpretive fashion. Instead she simply blocks our view of the stage with her dreadlock buns.

11:45 pm: Williams: “This is going to be our pretend last song. So you can clap when we pretend to walk off stage and then clap again when we pretend to walk back on.” Barrow: “Wait, we might need to walk off stage because I really have to piss.”

11:53pm: After the end of pretend last song, Barrow hurries off stage while Williams and Fuller stay there. Williams: “We're not the Foo Fighters.” Fuller: “I wish…” Williams: “We're the Flu Fighters!” The crowd is in hysterics.

11:56 pm: The worm girls are back for the encore!

11:59pm: Barrow: “I think that song was played too slow.” A person in the crowd: “It was good!” Barrow: “I have no excuses. I just drank too much.”

12:04pm: They play their real last song. The end.

Overheard in the Crowd: “I am so fucked up right now. Like so fucked up right now.”

Personal Bias: We went to see Beak> last time they played in L.A. at the Troubadour, and got to talk about music with Geoff Barrow briefly after the show. Word!

See also: Our slideshow of the concert

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