Over The Weekend: 60 Watt Kid at Echo Curio

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The Hype: Years ago I used to live and practice in a warehouse in Santa Ana with a bunch of different bands. Bassland, Pistolero and Shanks and the Dreamers were some of these bands, but there were many more. Some were terrible, some were really good. One of them, Dance Disaster Movement, was really awesome. Their music was a punk-dance epileptic sound frenzy. When they practiced I never wanted to wear earplugs. Anyway, Kevin Litrow was the main songwriter for that band. About six years ago, he formed 60 Watt Kid as a side project. It's since evolved to be his main one, and on Saturday, I checked them out at Echo Curio.
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The Show: The Echo Curio is a tiny gallery/performance space that houses 50-100 people comfortably, and it was packed when 60 Watt Kid took the stage. Unlike DDM, 60 Watt Kid used more layers of vocal sound. It was atmospheric and dreamy, and to me it sounded like a more organic -- yet also more dance-y -- Animal Collective. Despite initial technical difficulies, the trio (a third of which is based in Long Beach) plowed on through their show, taking the audience through an amiable set. I loved how the band knew their gear and what they could do with their sound intimately, which each member listening to where the songs took them without needing to physically communicate.

There were some instances that the band seemed to infuse a Talking Heads-like quality to their sound, and others where they jammed like the Grateful Dead. But everything they did was a breath of original fresh air. Clean guitar riffs, looping sounds, an intricate knowledge of their songs' dynamics -- every moment that their songs slowed down, sped up, turned quiet or cacophonous was composed by the band. It was a short and sweet set, and left me wishing that 60 Watt Kid were fantastically famous, so they could perform in giant venues with a lot of peripheral visuals.

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Overheard (On Centipede Eest, the Pittsburgh band who performed before 60 Watt Kid):

One dude: They were kind of math-rock-ish. They were OK.
Other dude: Math rock? My least favorite genre.
My boyfriend (to me, after hearing this conversation): Why do hipsters hate jam bands so much, yet every hipster band we see wants to become a jam band?

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