Over on Toole Avenue, Night of the Living Fest was happening. A behemoth stage, food trucks, a repurposed school bus belonging to Old Paint Records, and a silk screener customizing t-shirts dominated the fenced-off outdoor area. Massive speaker bins bookended the well-lit stage, and the adjacent warehouse boasted an equally well-equipped indoor stage.
Night of the Living Fest, “A celebration of the weird,” took place November 4 through 6, and featured more than 40 bands.
Lenguas Largas took mightily to the stage. Boasting three percussionists—like Cerberus the three-headed dog that guards the entrance to the Underworld—they performed “Ese Culito,” a fever inducing garage/soul/psych jam whose title translates loosely to “That Lil’ Ass” was the highwater mark of their set. As the applause waned a couple of long-haired dudes shouted out, “You old bastards rocked it hard!” Indeed, they did.
The Resonars described as “The Sound of Electricity plus” delivered a rad set of ‘60s folk rock and British-invasion influenced tunes with lush three-part harmonies, Keith Moon-esque drumming and wicked guitar playing. During the pop brilliance of “World Apart,” Matt Rendon reached back and cranked up every remaining knob on his beat-to-shit, yet firebreathing Marshall amp that wasn't already dimed and exploded into feedback-laden string bending bliss. That alone was worth the price of admission.
Fronted by Laena Geronimo, daughter of DEVO drummer Alan Myers, Feels delivered an inspired set of garage- and punk-influenced songs from their self-titled debut LP on Ty Segall's “home-cooked” Castle Face Records imprint. Three chicks rocked their asses off. Moreover, it was their over-top energy, fuzzy guitars, smart songwriting and swagger that won over the young crowd clamoring at the edge of the indoor stage.
In ‘65, The Sloths released a single “Makin’ Love,” hit fabled Sunset Strip then imploded in ‘66. After a dormancy, they reformed in 2011. Narrative songs like “One Way Out” possessed an epic, “People Who Died” quality; the musicians were solid. But not everyone can be like Jim Carroll was, or dare to try.
Brimming with kinetic energy, a slamming drummer and reverb-drenched guitar tones lifted from the blessed hellride that is The Ventures “Hawaii Five-O,” Guantanamo Baywatch killed with their swampy fusion of surf, garage and rockabilly, and delivered a set of pure trashy fun.
Somewhere ‘round midnight a sizeable congregation stood in devout worship before the stage where The Shivas performed as many revelers began to about-face leaving the personification of the Hindu god—the destroyer of ego and ultimately the universe—behind.
Other notables on the bill: The Canadian American garage rock of Peach Kelli Pop, Newcastle, Australia’s self-proclaimed “shit pop” of Gooch Palms, Hollywood glam combo Hammered Satin and the occult glam of Death Valley Girls.