The night is filled with pretty girls
Dancing shoes and flying hair… ~Carly Simon
The above lyric quote: Totally incongruous—musically speaking—for the band I have come to see on this vibrant night in Echo Park. Then again, I wouldn’t mind hearing some punked out Carly Simon (punktified to the max—the likes of which only this all girl band in particular could achieve). The group in question: Potty Mouth. I have come here to see them special as my 69-year-old librarian of a mother has recommended them—no joke! Nearly as relevantly do they hail from my home valley: that of the Pioneer, in Western Massachusetts. Boasting the likes of Rachel Maddow, Gloria Steinem, Sylvia Plath, and Smith College, Potty Mouth has travelled all the way from Northampton MA, birthplace of American female license and this time it is Los Angeles’ turn to experience said femmepowerment!
The performance venue in question? The Echo/Echoplex where bands from all across the land, deemed worthy enough entertain and regale like travelling bards or yore.
Not knowing exactly what I have come to see, their facebook page bio reads as follows: “Hailing from the home of Thurston Moore and Dinosaur Jr., and drawing from the fertile music community that is Western Massachusetts, Potty Mouth are all-parts smart-pop craftswomen, specializing in taut, infectious, C-86 influenced indie pop meets ’77 punk perfection. The band released their debut 12″ vinyl EP, entitled “Sun Damage” in July 2012, which garnered the attention of Pitchfork, who called the six-song EP an “an impressive, no-filler debut,” as well as The Boston Globe, who named Potty Mouth one of the “top five indie-rock bands to watch in 2013,” with Brooklyn Vegan adding that they were “one of the most promising new bands in their local scene.” Departing from the more angular shades of post-punk heard in their EP, “Hell Bent” is marked by its significantly heavier production and melancholic hooks. Nonetheless, the album stays true to the confident, youthful punk aesthetic the band has cultivated for themselves.” –RIGHT ON!!!
I arrive at 8 pm only to find that Potty Mouth take the stage at 10:30 right after Sego, and The Bots and before Perfect Pussy. The venue sports a slow but steadily surging clientele, increasing in volume as the ten o’clock hour approaches. It curiously consists primarily of males and we are on the extreme easterly side of L.A., so no need to go *there*. The men are comprised of all ages. A middle-aged dude smelling of warm, bearable cigarette smoke sits next to me on the elongated cushy booth benches that adorn the black mirrored walls. Though I suspect he is much closer to my age than that of my parents, he reeks of 60’s anti-establishment ennui. His hair in a Caucasian Afro under a black Panama hat, in an ambient rock star drawl, (reminiscent of all too many grainy cinematic, Woodstock attendee interviews) he confesses this is his first foray out into the live music scene in twenty years. He declares that the nineties band of which he was formerly a member, used to perform all up and down the Sunset Strip, up to and including clubs such as The Whiskey, The Roxy, and The Coconut Teaszer, when there used to be a Coconut Teaszer. “Then I went to Europe, came back and they’d changed their name to ‘Full Force’ (from something previously uttered under the black hat that was multi-syllabic in nature and exceedingly unintelligible), even had a couple of singles on the radio in the nineties…” Ah, another Hollywood career that gone awry, foiled by a random trip to Europe! Dang!!!
Photos by Jennifer K. Hugus for The Los Angeles Beat:
The band alights the stage as a more enthusiastic cheer than I have ever heard at the Echo erupts in repetitive whoops/echoes! Guitars thrashing, our lead singer/rhythm guitarist Abby commences her intonation. Long, blond, windswept hair flying in a freshet of fabulousness on and off the beat, willowy figure gyrating, slinky black dress both flowing and jerking along to all rhythms, her performance is both raw and elegant–a refreshingly diverse cry from the heretofore overly testosterony genesis of the genre of music in question. It is evident that the audience is readily diggin’ the tune. Everything else is equally invigorating up to and including Pheobe on lead guitar looking stunning and slick in her black leather shorts, ripped black tights, thick black boots and gold and black tailored sleeveless shirt. Victoria bolsters the beat from behind in perfunctory T-shirt and Jeans to percussive perfection and Ally, our bassist…what can I say about Ally–she is just FUN and the most visibly and vocally excited to be in L.A! She will serve as the primary spokesperson for the group and harbors a delicious and loveable cute-geek appeal, sporting thick glasses, black shorts, black socks and equally darkly hip cushy Mary Janes. The four work well together and it is evident theirs is a bond to last a lifetime. For, who knows where they’ll go from here…?
On their facebook page, Bill Cosby is listed as one of their influences but I hear not a lyric pertaining to Jell-O Pudding Pops, Old Weird Harold, or My Brother Russell. Still, a punk song culled from the routines of Bill Cosby himself would be what any doctor might order irrespective of one’s musical preference any day—or perhaps and, at the very least, Bill Cosby run backwards and through a mixer/anti-hypocrisy funnel shattering his paper thin ‘family values’ and ‘favorite dad’ façade to Hell…
The sampling of musical male enthusiasts clambering to the front of the stage and will include, an exceedingly cute guy in his twenties who looks just a trifle bit like, Mel Gibson before he lost all kool, Brad Pitt if he’d just been insulted, or Pauly Shore if he had a totally different face, different hair and different personality… (His girlfriend or blonde female companion somewhat resembles uh… Demi Moore only with everything opposite, Sandra Bullock with a limp, Kylie Minogue if she’d just spilled her coffee, and Bea Arthur with one eye even though this girl has 2 eyes…) Then there’s smooth-skinned, teenager lookin’ guy rockin’ the Amish style beard only longer, more mustachy, mutton – choppy and less Amishy… Rounding out this rather motley, sundry, and assorted crew: a much older man embodying the facsimile’ed presence of Grizzly Adams. No joke! Nearly all of them stand right at the front lip of the stage screaming, cheering and almost fainting like teenage girls at their very first Beatles concert. Honest to God! The guy two guys down from me, staring at the lead guitarist in all her ripped, raw and elegant glory suddenly careens over an amp, a dazed and glazed smile plastered on his face as the guys behind him attempt to break his inches high fall. It is obviously a thing of pure giddy smittenness and/or drunken oblivion who knows? But the point is, he is exceedingly blissed out—as is everyone else!
Their first L.A. tour concert is a rousing success and it is clear this femrock band is exactly what these mostly screaming dancing nearly fainting males have come to see! Potty Mouth’s next stop, Austin, TX, then on to Dallas! For more information on these enterprising up and rockers/drummers, please visit: