Thursday, October 11, 2012


Niki and the Dove
Niki and the Dove performs during the Third Annual Culture Collide.
photos by picksysticks
by Jeff Pegg

Saturday, October 6, 2012. It was night three of finding female fronted bands at FILTER Magazine's Culture Collide. After two previous nights of music and again tonight, it was surprising only Saturday. And strangely enough, it was the second time going to church in the same week, starting the evening once again at Echo Park United Methodist Church. Although there was no minister preaching, it still felt like a morning service, for no drinking alcohol allowed in the church.

Mimes of Wine
Italy's Mimes of Wine performs at Echo Park's United Methodist Church during Culture Collide.
photos by picksysticks
Laura Loriga of Mimes of Wine
Laura Loriga of Mimes of Wine
It was actually nice to start the evening sober, to sit and unwind, and ease into the night with the choir orchestra sounds of Mimes of Wine (Italy). Lead vocalist Laura Loriga starts the set with a little wooden box resting atop her keyboard, a shruti box. The sound this bellow box makes is a sort of single long organ note, kind of like a long constant tugboat horn. In the church, it creates a resonating mood, like a steady hum to get everybody's attention. As the set progresses wonders comes alive. Guitars dance like glittering insects, keyboards bloom like flowers with every note, an accordion accommodates as if being played by a prancing jester, drums march of toy soldiers, and a cello rises from deep just above the bass guitar to form out of the mist, an embellished elephant lumbering along as nature's guardian. Loriga's vocals serve as ringmaster, the soft voice of dreams, leading this mystical circus through an enchanted land. Mimes of Wine sound of a fairytale choir praising under the steeple.

Icona Pop
Icona Pop's Caroline Hjelt
Pageants from Long Beach brought everything back to reality. Rebecca Coleman vocals felt like she was missing the high notes and the tone was off. The performance was after the beautiful sounds of Mimes of Wine, so it was not the equipment distorting the performance. It was as if she was performing in a church talent contest with an adolescent and yet undeveloped voice, unsure whether to talk or sing her way through the song. However, Coleman was able to make the mood melancholy with the feel of tears falling across the string of her guitar. The recorded tracks has all the flaws of the live performance smoothed out, creating a wonderful sound of dreary optimism, a feeling of daisies that can be left behind alive without love or can be plucked into a loving bouquet that will soon die. The tragedy of wonderful music unable to be heard live. 

Alas, it was time to get out of the church before digressing into contemplative sorrow to nearly want to become a member. It was now time for the big show. The big stage. The dance party. It was time for Echoplex with Icona Pop (Sweden). This elecotropop duo of Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt are musicians, emcees, and deejays all rolled together. Applause started the set and the beat never ceased until fading under the second applause at the end of the set. It was one long and continuous Icona Pop club mix of raving the night away. Beat nonstop. Between songs with the beat rolling behind, they did their shout outs to the crowd keeping it lively and connected, like two talented women just partying with the rest of us. Though their vocals are not great individually, when they sing in chorus it is electrifying, they become their own electronic beat, imagine high voltage current with a voice. No modulation.

Niki and the Dove
Niki and the Dove performs to a packed house at Culture Collide's Taix Champagne Room.
photo by picksysticks
Back at the Taix Champagne Room, it was the sounds of Sweden again with Niki & The Dove. Vocalist Malin Dahlstrom may be The Dove, but oddly, there is no Niki in the group. Dahlstrom looked like Cyndi Lauper waking up for her morning coffee with a nest of hair, dressed in a cat face nightgown with lime green stretching to the toes with lots of lime green accessories. A visual acid trip of distorted image and color. The music also sounds like Cyndi Lauper reinventing herself in the current dance music genre, sounding a bit more indie and experimental. Each song has its own twisting flow and movement, not just a steady repetitious beat from beginning to end. The music and vocals undulates between subtle building peaks, bursting climaxes, and slow discharges. It creates a feeling that crawls the skin, flows through the nerves until griping the spine, then shaking the body until it is all out, only to have it crawling the skin again. Niki & The Dove generate an overwhelming surging of cycling energy. The body feeling like this electric turbine ended night three, feeling reenergized for next day's festival ending block party!

See also:
Culture Collide: Day 1
Culture Collide: Day 2
Culture Collide: Day 4 (Block Party)