Ever left a gig with the buzzing, glowing “I was there!” sensation? Sunflower Bean’s headlining turn at The Echo on March 24 was exactly such a special moment.
Touring fresh off their recently-dropped debut full length Human Ceremony and a whopping 11 SXSW performances, the Brooklyn trio of 20 year olds received the star treatment for their Los Angeles visit. Dozens of fans queued long before the doors opened and then camped at the front of the stage for the entirety of the night, which included two stellar opening sets.
It’s unusual behavior at a venue like The Echo, where the majority of the crowd usually runs to the patio for a smoke and drink between bands. In other words, people aren’t just curious about Sunflower Bean. Rather, they already care. Deeply.
Once onstage, Sunflower Bean received a riotous response that included frenetic moshing throughout the night and a massive singalong for “Easier Said.” Midway through the set, frontwoman, fashion icon and rock star Julia Cumming hopped offstage to shred in the crowd against lovestruck, often overzealous fans.
The band’s brilliance lies in their penchant for tackling heady subject matter and revisiting revered rock sounds ranging from the Velvet Underground and Black Sabbath to more contemporary psych pop fare and infusing it with an energetic, youthful urgency that’s cathartic fun, especially live.
“You guys are going to make me cry,” revealed Cumming in response to the hour-long lovefest before launching into a blistering “Space Exploration Disaster. After,”Space Exploration Disaster” the retro rockers walked offstage, while the entire venue repeatedly screamed for “one more song.”
“We don’t usually do encores, so it’s hard to figure out how much time to wait,” said Cumming before whipping the masses into one final frenzied pit for Human Ceremony standout “Come On.”
After “Come On” came and went, fans rushed to the merch table en masse to buy records, shirts and even a jean jacket. The collective sentiment was that Sunflower Bean is going to be huge, and that this is just the beginning. The hype is real.
The Paranoyds (pictured below) opened the night with a wild set of buzz-worthy riot grrrl anthems. The garage rockers have been opening for just about everyone from DIIV to Sad Girl lately, and once again, the hype is real.
Toronto’s Weaves (pictured below) delivered a masterfully unpredictable, genre-blending mashup of surf-rock, noise, R&B and much more. Last night’s show was an epic one before the headliners even started thanks to such strong support.