Youngblood Hawke At Echo Park Rising
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By Brent Burns
Last year a collective of shops, restaurants, bars, art galleries, and live music venues in the Los Angeles community of Echo Park joined in the 11th hour to salvage the seminal music festival formerly known as Sunset Junction. In just 72 hours the business collective was able to offer members of the community a variety of live music. On the strength of last year's unexpected success, this year more than 65 businesses and nonprofit organizations came together to launch a festival now known as Echo Park Rising.
Featuring more than 60 bands, performers, comedians, and DJs performing within the formerly disparate businesses and shops, the inaugural Echo Park Rising festival offered something for fans of all stripes on Aug. 25. The main stage, located at Taix French Restaurant, formed the perfect venue for the evening's highly anticipated headliner, Los Angeles-based indie pop/rock quintet Youngblood Hawke. Youngblood Hawke came to life after multi-instrumentalist Simon Katz and vocalist Sam Martin's previous project, Iglu & Hartly, disbanded, much like Echo Park Rising was borne of Sunset Junction's fall.
As the band took the stage with the downtown L.A. cityscape as a magnificent backdrop, they were full of confidence and infectious energy and opened their set with "Rootless." Given the warm temperatures in L.A. this night, the opening lyrics set the tone perfectly as they sang, "The world is feeling warmer." Each band member danced with his/her respective instrument as they weaved around the stage. Youngblood Hawke's performance was full of modern indie panache and timeless arena-ready bombast, a rare combination.
In essence, it is their balance between intriguing, irresistible songwriting and an explosive presence that makes this local quintet so undeniable. The interplay between band members, each of whom played a key role, was also intriguing to watch. It never seemed that all of the focus was on Martin as all members seemed to feed off each other's energy. Together, they created up-tempo rock that was danceable while remaining emotionally fun and interesting.
The band's set continued to take the audience through tracks off their recently released self-titled EP, including their current single, "We Come Running," which garnered the most cheers from the fans, all of whom sang along during the chorus. Fueled by shimmering synth sounds, elegant acoustic guitar and an uplifting and unified chant, the song is a propulsive and potent alternative pop call-to-arms that serves as a fitting introduction to the band's enigmatic and entrancing style.
To catch Youngblood Hawke in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
"In Our Blood"
"We Come Running"
(Brent Burns is the dance/electronica GRAMMY.com Community Blogger.)