The Warlocks and The Icarus Line - The Mint - 9/10/11
Better than: That Lou Reed/Metallica project... maybe.
After a brief hiatus, The Warlocks have been conjuring music magic in L.A. again. The local psych band toured Europe last year and "got burned out," according to leader Bobby Hecksher. He and his current line-up re-emerged with a couple gigs at Harvard & Stone in the last couple of months, packing the place and proving that their gloomy jams still have a devoted audience. Their show at The Mint Saturday night may not have been their most epic, but it was engrossing.
Like their pals The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Warlocks have always been pretty unpredictable on stage. Riff-heavy and rhythmically hypnotic soundscapes and feedback-fueled fits are to be expected, and their gig Saturday was no exception. The Buddyhead-promoted show was running behind schedule, so the band didn't take the stage until just after 1 a.m. The line-up, which included Spirit Vine, The Shining Twins and The Icarus Line, was definitely strong, but this crowd is a pretty late one. And while The Mint is always a cool spot for live music, the bill would have probably been better suited to a backyard house party without the time contraints.
It had been a while since we'd caught The Icarus Line's gritty garage rock. Though always Stooges-like, the band seems to be evolving into a more melodic and dramatic Nick Cave type outfit, thanks to singer Joe Cardamone, whose look and charisma is both seductive and bad seedy.
The Warlocks' set was short but (bitter) sweet, the kind of dark, free-form, metallic performance that's made the band a favorite with stoners and scenesters alike. Though a shooting outside The Echo during one of their gigs last year saw them linked them to the biker scene, we've always noticed more hipsters and hippies than hog-hooligans at their shows.
After 12 years (and over 20 line-up changes!) leadsinger/songwriter Hecksher still cuts an enigmatic presence on stage and off. He likes to jam out in the crowd... a lot. Though the band has been writing and putting out new "experimental" tracks, they chose to play some older, Velvet Underground-meets-Sonic Youth reminiscent material, all of it fuzz and feedback-laden. Though he didn't say much on stage, his directions to the sound guy kind of summed the vibe: "Turn down the lights!" and "More reverb please."