“I pretty much live here,” I said to a stranger in the smoking area.
It’s true. It’s hard to count all the shows and drinks I have consumed at The Echo/Echo Plex. I dragged my cigarette, sipped my beer, and kept up with conversations but drifted in and out. I had a lot on my mind. I dug into my pockets, pulled out a joint, and shared it with some new friends. It was 4/20 after all.
After much time floating around the porch, I dipped inside to get a closer view of the band. Haelos had just released their debut album Full Circle, but this wasn’t their first show in Los Angeles. I spent the past few weeks listening to their LP over and over. Each track had it’s own niche of samples and drum breaks making every song unique through the transitions. The use of space and duet vocals filled out each song. I didn’t think these songs would be great live, but I was wrong.
With only a second of darkness, they entered the stage. The lights flashed as the band dove straight into “Pray”, the hit single of the album. Industrial sound bytes and drum samples reverberated in the intimate venue as Lotti and Arthur played off each other’s voices. The crowd crept closer and closer until I was shoulder length with everyone around me. The band didn’t spare a second as they transitioned each song.
“There isn’t an end to this // We haven’t tried”
The words of “Separate Lives” lifted the room. It was almost at capacity as the audience sang along with no one moving from their place. Arthur’s shy vocals in contrast to Lotti’s bravado was reassuring. I’ve come across few bands that can hold their own melodically live. I wasn’t disappointed.
They went on to play a few more tracks from the album; “Earth Not Above”, “Full Circle”, and “Oracle” all of which are songs which can stand on their own, but “Dust” was the song I was waiting for. For me, it stands out the most all around. With two drummers backing them up, the sounds themselves meshed so well and created a fuller sound surrounding Arthur and Lotti.
Haelos gave a short and sweet goodbye to the crowd. After this performance, the group would be on their way to Coachella for the next two weekends. Although it was only seven tracks total, it gave me enough to walk out feeling full. I made it out onto Sunset Boulevard still floating from my high. The Gold Room was a few blocks over and the night had just started.
The Gold Room has been apart of Echo Park community for years as one of the neighborhood watering holes and still holds its charm. With what space we had, we drank as many shots of tequila as we could alongside our cans of Tecaté. The jukebox rang of weed anthems from Snoop to DJ Quik as we all kept bobbing our heads taking shot after shot. Finally after having some burritos to absorb the alcohol, we called it a night. I plugged the aux cord to my iPhone as I was drove through the arteries of the city. “Dust” played as traffic lights synced to the beats as I made my way home.