A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

Joey Siara at the final Henry Clay People show at the Echoplex during Echo Park Rising

Joey Siara at the final Henry Clay People show at the Echoplex during Echo Park Rising

Part V: Echo Park Rising, An Evening at the Echoplex

On this first evening of Echo Park Rising, it was all about The Henry Clay People. This was a band I first discovered in 2009 when they toured with The Airborne Toxic Event. Actually, it was before that, early on in 2008, as I was bouncing around from band page to band page on MySpace (remember MySpace?). If there was any band that captured the feeling of good ol’ classic rock ‘n’ roll and that careening out of control, celebratory and reckless spirit, it was HCP. Sadly, theirs was another one of those “almost but not quite” success stories. Here was a band that really seemed poised for at least the semi-big time, especially after major tours with Airborne and Silversun Pickups. But it didn’t happen as much nor as quickly as it needed to happen, and other important life events had to take precedence. So here we had their final performance, at Echo Park Rising, and Echo Park did indeed rise to the occasion.

Kan Wakan

Already dazzled and delirious from a half dozen mind-melting bands and engaging conversation that afternoon, I drifted back in and downstairs to my now familiar new second home, the Echoplex. The magic carpet ride of Kan Wakan could not have been more perfect for my current state of mind. Truly, it was like indulging in a pleasant hallucinogen. Their debut album sampler/EP is out tomorrow (Monday 9/30).

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The Happy Hollows

As if this night weren’t special enough for The Henry Clay People and their adoring fans, The Happy Hollows opened for them. Celebrating their new album Amethyst and giving their dear friends a stellar send-off, Sarah Negahdari, Charlie Mahoney and guitarist Matt Fry were incendiary. Sarah careened around the stage as only she can do (like a crazed banshee). Serious voodoo was conjured, and it was marvelous to see them again. Attention Boston area peeps: they’ll be performing at the tiny Lilypad in Inman Square, Cambridge, on October 13. Don’t miss out!

Sarah soundcheckin' (with SSPU's Brian Auger giving her shit from the audience)

Sarah soundcheckin' (with SSPU's Brian Auger giving her shit from the audience)

The Henry Clay People

Celebratory. Sad. Sentimental. Rambunctious. Rollicking. Emotional. Ferocious. Teary. As they’ve always been, paradoxically, tight and polished and about to go off the rails at any moment. All Hail The Henry Clay People… we’ll miss them. | :: my 2009 profile ::

I felt honored to be at this final show, at the Echoplex. The audience was packed with family and friends, those who had been with them from the very beginning and through their crazy journey, and those of us more recent fans who discovered them at some point along the way. They performed with full-on fury, giving it everything they had — every ounce of pain and passion. It was a beautiful love fest. Very happily, a good portion of their final set was filmed and is up on YouTube (thank you, brown mouse). Their last album was Twenty-Five for the Rest of our Lives.

Coming up next: Echo Park Rising, Day 2 – brunch at Lot 1 with Spencer Livingston and Holes and Hearts; The Wild Reeds and Fort King and a very special acoustic show on a backyard deck in Echo Park (Hèléne Renaut, The Happy Hollows, Sun Rai and Warships).

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