Wim, Avi Buffalo in Echo Park: A must-see show at ...Taix?
I've had some delightful nights at the reassuringly frozen-in-amber Echo Park French restaurant Taix -- a one-hour interview with Jenny Lewis that turned into three hours of cracking wise over endless soup and salad; a first date that yielded my current relationship (those two nights were on different occasions, alas). But we've always gone for the salty-old-man-in-a-bow-tie vibe, never for music.
That's going to change Friday. As part of Filter's Culture Collide Festival, a bunch of shows got rejiggered and some unexpectedly marquee shows ended up in the restaurant's bar.
Avi Buffalo, who we've profiled at length, has gone through a pretty major re-imagining of his Sub Pop-signed indie project, with a very different lineup and (we hear) a new focus on his roots in blues and gospel guitar styles. If you haven't seen him play, let it be known that he puts jaws on the floor any time he touches an instrument. He headlines the night at 11:30, atop a solo set from Ian Ball of Gomez and the spritzy pop-rock of the Postelles.
But the real reason to get there early (8:30, we're not kidding) is the proper L.A. debut of a five-piece from Sydney called Wim. By chance, I met their singer Martin Solomon in a bar two years ago when he was just passing through town, and he passed along a five-track demo that hinted at a really deep well of classic pop songwriting and adventurous arrangement promise. I posted on it and figured that might be the last I heard from them.
Well, lo and behold, now they've signed to Modular Records, recorded a full length with Bob Clearmountain (who mixed "Born In the U.S.A." and records by Roxy Music and INXS) and became a totally devastating live act. Wim is getting a lot of early "Rufus Wainwright fronting Grizzly Bear" descriptions, which is a pretty fair place to start. Its self-titled debut has the former's Carnegie Hall swoon and the latter's knack for making Laurel Canyon guitars and keys intertwine like a chamber group, but the drummer is a huge metal fan and the songs have the brevity and melodic immediacy of a band out for blood on the pop charts.
And it's no mixing trick -- in person the band murders four-part harmonies that will leave you dizzy and haunted for the whole ride home.
-- August Brown
Photo: Wim. Credit: Press Here