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The Glam Skanks - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Hundreds Turn Out for Music Showcase Featuring New Artists in Echo Park

Glam Skanks, Brothers Collective Take Part in High Quality, Low-Tech Show

Glam Skanks presented by Echo Box Music - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia for CaliforniaRocker.com

Glam Skanks presented by Echo Box Music – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia for CaliforniaRocker.com

By DONNA BALANCIA

It was hot, loud and physical at The MIME Saturday night.

In other words it was Rock N Roll at its finest, as four great young bands including The Glam Skanks and The Brothers Collective hit the stage before a crowd of about 200 fans in Echo Park.

Free admission, free beer and wine, and great new music drew hundreds to Echo Park gallery, The MIME.

The purpose?  Simply to hear some new bands play some new music.

Co-sponsors Echo Box Music and Unison Music want to bring live music from new artists to the masses and they’re willing to spend money to do it. The MIME was truly the place to be rub elbows with musicians, artists, producers, photographers and press and to even have a free beer on a Saturday night.

Glam Skanks - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Glam Skanks – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Was the music hot?  Yes.  Was the place physically hot?  Definitely. There was no air conditioning. But it was OK.  That made it easy to imagine what the kids who paid $350-plus per ticket were enduring at that little festival in the desert this weekend.  Both sets of fans are thirsty for new music.

And if Echo Box and Unison had their way, no music fans would have to pay to quench their thirst.

But really, how often does anyone get free beer and free admission as encouragement to see great bands right in Echo Park?  Basically never. And that’s where Echo Box and Unison come in.

“We want to do this often,” said Nolan Jamora, owner of Echo Box Music. By day, he’s the director of operations for Isky Racing Cams of Gardena.  “This is really about getting the music out to the people. Why should the people listening to the music have to pay?  This is a new model.  We want the people coming to hear the music to buy a CD, buy merch.”

Jaxine Sparkles keeps the beat - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jaxine Sparkles keeps the beat – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nolan is an interesting cat who has had his share of victories, you might say, as he is a Formula 1 racing guy.

But his love of music has brought him to this place — and that place is where he can help spread the enthusiasm for new bands.

“It used to be that the record companies would sign talented young musicians to a deal, but that’s a thing of the past,” said Bruce Witkin, founder of Unison Music.

Bruce is a producer who works with well-known musicians as well as the up and comers. “We just want people to hear the music, buy the merch and if we can do that by spending on beer and wine and having a show that’s free to the public, we’ll do it.”

And the crowds approved.

“This is my first time here and I think it’s great,” said Travis, who relocated to LA from the state of Washington.  “The people are really supportive of one anothers’ music.  This is a great showcase and I’ve loved the bands I’ve seen already tonight.”

Travis was among the 200 or so music fans who attended the Echo Box presentation by invitation only, packing the house and cheering on the bands.

Fans support the music - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Fans support the music – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

“I like the do-it-yourself style of this event,” said Christi. “It’s like the shows my mom used to go to, they would just say they’re having a show and tell their friends and people would have fun.”

Musicians today are familiar with DIY style in all aspects of music. Not only does a musician have to play, practice and perform, they also have to promote, most frequently through social media platforms.

But this night at The MIME was a throwback to low-tech Rock N Roll, where friends invited friends and spread the news of the event more by word of mouth than by social media.  Even our own CaliforniaRocker.com went low-tech, handing out a typewriter-printed fanzine specially designed for the event.

The Hypnotic Hyenas opened with some cool songs, this new band is an updated new millennium version of power pop and the guys have stage presence.  Their cool music led off a hot night inside the MIME.

The Brothers Collective - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Brothers Collective – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Brothers Collective are really brothers and while they have grown together, so has their music matured. They have been keeping audiences engaged for several years with cool vocals and great beats. Their music is remenicent of the good part of the 1990s.

Kid Bloom look good, play solid tunes and the lead vocals are succinct and exacting.  Their new tune “I Kissed a Girl,” is a new release and from the sounds of things, Kid Bloom has a good career ahead.

The Glam Skanks

Not because they’re all girls — sort of — but it’s hard not to notice that The Glam Skanks really took over on Saturday night. The Glam Skanks have been playing together for about three years. They kick it into high gear every time, only these days they’re showing a lot more stage presence and their act is tight.  They still have the exploding confetti bombs and glitter, but front and center here are brunette vocalist Ali Cat and her tireless lead guitarist Veronica Witkin.  Bassist Millie Chan and drummer Jaxine Sparkles round out this great group.

Glam Skanks leave audiences crawling from the wreckage - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Glam Skanks leave audiences crawling from the wreckage – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Glam Skanks music is wild fun, ranging from mic-hurling punk to faux melodic but it’s the method of delivery that wins.

It’s such a compelling act you can’t divert your eyes even if you try.

The Glam Skanks put on a whirlwind physical romp that captures the crowd, romances them, then spits them out, leaving observers star-dazed and hearing the birdies and yet wanting more.

In the crowd were lots of notables and music lovers alike. Photographers Suzanne Witkin and Heather Harris brought the star power to the event, telling the story through the lens. Suzanne has too many photo credits to mention in the celeb-rocker world, and is known for her work in helping the animals.

Harris said she was impressed with the efforts of the co-sponsors to bring the music to the people.

“The live music scene is so much healthier now,” said Harris, who has photographed up-and-coming bands as well as veteran musicians for many years. “This is a really great live event.”

Veronica the #GlamSkanks guitarist - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Veronica the Glam Skanks guitarist – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

It was refreshing how many of the people on hand “heard about” the showcase from a friend. Because while the web has developed into a great way to spread information and distribute music, unfortunately, it’s also used by the record companies to measure the “success” of a band on a quantative basis.  If the record companies don’t see a certain magic number of hits or activity, well then the new kids just aren’t going to the head of the class.  So it’s refreshing that at a time when analytics play such an integral part of all commercial business decisions that the guys from Echo Box and Unison would front these live, “non-quantifiable” showcases and spread the word the old fashioned way — from human to human.

The music community needs more events like this. New artists want nothing more than to perform their work. And the fans want to hear that new music, but for an affordable price. And while the record companies may have forgotten this, those who have not forgotten were together enjoying a great Saturday night.

 

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