So let me tell you about The Babe Rainbow, Australia’s sun-kissed blonder than blonde new psychedelic surf rock beaus. Their self-titled debut album had been among my top three driving soundtracks for a hot minute now, so I was beyond enthused to see them play at the Echoplex in Los Angeles Tuesday night.
Stepping into the room, I found myself surrounded by LA’s underground (and mostly underage) hip scene. Needless to say, one immediately feels cooler. Pretty much every style was represented by these youngsters – from dreads to long wavy hair and fros on white guys, sunglasses worn in the dark, fun retro hats, guys wearing blouses, guys wearing face paint, girls in baggy overalls and pigtails. It was all there. And they were ready to boogie.
Boogying quickly turned into a mosh pit after just one song. I can’t say that I expected to see a mosh pit at a psych-rock show, but hey, this is LA. The mosh pit eventually took over half of the room. Even cute little girls found themselves kicking around, fearless, excited, delighted. It was, I suppose, a “monkey disco” in the best imaginable way – which is what The Babe Rainbow calls their genre on their Facebook page.
The band’s fashion style? Equally all over the place. One showed up in his pajamas, another wore white bellbottoms in need of some tailoring and a half tucked-in golden sparkly turtleneck and one came in a warm stripy sweater to play in an 80-degree room. Adorbs.
In the background, they showed an old school surf video – “the best surfer movie ever,” as exclaimed by lead singer Angus Darling The Hothouse Flower in his thick Aussie accent. Until he decided the lights were too bright and asked to have them turned down, then turned off entirely.
This darling hothouse flower was definitely channeling Jim Morrison during his performance…that and his inner stripper, I suppose. He spent a fair amount of time crawling around the floor. And then there were also monkey sounds. It was a zoo after all.
Total babes? Definitely. Rainbows? Totes.
The opening band Maybird was a nice listening bonus, too. Similar to The Babe Rainbow, they played psychedelic rock – a bit harder, though. Tuesday was their first legit LA show, so they stated. But when asked what it’s like to be in LA, these East Coast boys thought it felt just “like playing a home show.” Most surprising was perhaps guitarist Kurt Johnson’s method of playing his chords over his guitar neck’s top. I think one audience member nailed it when summing up the show with “there were definitely some hot solos in there.” Well, when Danger Mouse and Patrick Carney (Black Keys) are backing you, you know you’re doing something right.