Icky? Not Hardly

Flashing lights? Indie pulses? and Wayfarer-wearing musical notes?? Yep, all these veiled the Echo, Friday September 27th, 2013, as .blow and Oh Boy Les Mecs opened for Icky Blossoms.

.blow are comprised of music industry musicians that have worked in areas such as production, recording, and writing. The four, vocalist Sohanny, beat conductor Prozak Morris, guitarist Mike Dez, and drummer D$, have signed with Interscope Records (one third of Santa Monica’s Universal Music Group) which manages Lady Gaga, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Black Eyed Peas, No Doubt, Maroon 5, and Eminem. All of these big timers are seasoned performers but have already proven themselves whereas .blow (their ‘younger siblings’ if you will) are out to make a name for themselves, and they sure can make an impression.

The Ickys were anything but
The Ickys were anything but

Morris’s table, composed of computer and electronic equipment, is there looking  like Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory desk. His plasma tube gives the impression that some musical experiment is about to take place (à la Danny Elfman’s “Weird Science”) as electricity stretches and branches throughout the glass encasement. Alas, there are no trumpet rips but the rhythm fiends nonetheless get the pot lid jumping. It’s easy to spot their 80’s influences (sorry no flock of seagulls hair-do’s). Think Talking Heads, The Cars, and Missing Persons.

Covering “No body walks in LA” to a tee, Sohanny sputters lyrics with her Rihanna-ish beauty and Keith Richards swagger. Morris and Dez bump and jive amping up the crowed (a definite wild rumpus if you’ve ever seen one). Out of nowhere Morris whoops out some electro-musical contraption (it’s alive, it’s dead, no it’s a beattar!! Or something you’d find in the music room at Hogwarts). A beat machine attached to a guitar neck for rockin’ stances and epic whirlwind strums (double takes allowed). They keep playing with this energy for a few more songs but fatigue begins to set in (much like any other mere mortals). You definitely get a rush from .blow’s performance but Oh Boy Les Mecs are there to catch the sway. They’re less rock ‘em sock ‘em and more stroll through the forest amidst twilight.

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.blow conditioned the room.

The singer’s echoes brood sentiments similar to what you get whilst listening to Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue”. Her voice at times sounds like Bjork–minus the impeccable vocal range. Their mood is haunted by Beach House and at the same time the vocalist’s style kind of reminds you of Zooey Deschanel from She and Him–wearing a white prairie dress. Their dreamscape backdrop works in general but it is tough to follow an act like .blow. Especially since their styles are so different. In light of this, they do well opening for the headliners from Nebraska.

Icky Blossom’s most recent self-titled album is the musical accolade that Bright Eyes and Beirut tried to accomplish with dance and electro in their later albums. It kicks out dismal dance jams that most indie bands are not able to do so easily, but they made it happen.

Lurid lights drop onto the murky stage. Sarah Boling’s baritone pipes and livid bangs infiltrate the crowd as she sings their ode to sacrilege “Sex to the Devil”. You look around to see people hypnotized by the backing synth-drum overlays and recursive electro bleeps of Derek Presnall and Nik Fackler. Everyone is rocking and swaying nonchalantly as they transition into “Babes”

In it you can hear the wonton strobiness of Peaches. Think of the scene from Lost in Translation where Scarlett Johansson is set to meet Bill Murray and friends at a Japanese strip club only to leave and later get shot at with an automatic bb gun flashing a green laser sight.

Their steady uptempo slightly reminds you of Neon Indian or Grimes (minus the falsetto feedback) but not quite. They blossom nicely with an added ick. Why DJ’s like DFA haven’t started remixing these boss gothic dance tunes is beyond me.

—Bosque Urbano

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About the author: Bosque Urbano is a creature of the night, flitting from club to club, scene to scene. His astute perceptions, musical and otherwise, stem from his vast store of human knowledge. It is rumored that he is so intelligent that he actually keeps a computer in his own home. His blog lives at christianaraya.com