Festival Preview: DRILL Los Angeles

by Oliver Brink on March 21, 2017

WIRE brings DRILL back to the West Coast for the first time in 4 years!

When I was seventeen I went to “The Warped Tour” in San Francisco. I had never been to a festival and it was definitely a bit mind blowing. The concept of walking from stage to stage strategically placed in a given area, with an enormous lineup of bands, having to pick and choose which bands to see and which bands to miss, was thrilling to say the least. I continued going to bigger and bigger festivals after that (Coachella, Sasquatch, Treasure Island) until about 2010 when I ultimately began to feel jaded by them and I haven’t been to a single festival since. So here we are in 2017, I am now in my 30s and I’m going to another festival. This one, however, promises to be a whole different experience entirely. Since around 2013, English post-rockers WIRE have been curating a festival called DRILL. The catch with DRILL is that it doesn’t rely on gigantic locations and 100s of bands but, instead, focuses on smaller venues and puts more energy into bringing diverse musical styles and bands, both new and old, together. While, thematically, many of the bands are linked by the post-punk, darkwave, dream pop genre, it is safe to say from past DRILL lineups that it promises to be an exciting and unique experience.

While it has always had its roots in England, this year WIRE is bringing DRILL to Los Angeles, its first time on the West Coast, and even in the country, since 2013 (the first year of the festival) when it was held in Seattle. This is a big year for DRILL as the festival expands its range, starting in Los Angeles then moving to Leeds (UK,) Berlin (Germany,) and Brussels (Belgium). Each exhibit of the festival features a unique lineup with WIRE being the only constant, and the kickoff in Los Angeles features quite an eclectic group of bands and musicians. I’m excited to cover the kickoff event at The Echo and Echoplex (one of my favorite Los Angeles venues) because I’ll be seeing most of the bands for the first time!…including FITTED, WIRE, and Bob Mould.

Since it would take way too long to discuss each artist on the roster, here’s four that I’m finding myself particularly drawn to and excited for:

WIRE:  Let’s get these guys out of the way. I’m somewhat new to WIRE. By no means am I a “diehard fan” and I don’t own their entire discography, but I’m quite excited for their performance. Their mixture of stylistic elements —  from crunchy punk guitar to blanketing synth waves —  blend together to produce their amazing sound. This cohesion of styles is incredible to me and seeing it live is something I am told is definitely an experience to behold.

FITTED:  Little is known about FITTED except for the band members, which includes Bob Lee, Matthew Sims and Graham Lewis of WIRE, as well as bass guitar legend Mike Watt of Minutemen, fIREHOSE, Dos, and The Stooges. I first heard Minutemen after reading Henry Rollins’ Black Flag memoir, Get In The Van. After looking them up I happily added them to my music collection. Anticipating something new being unveiled is thrilling and I can’t wait to see what this group of musicians has to share with the audience.

Noveller:  I first came across Noveller when she opened for Iggy Pop during the Post Pop Depression tour. I was enchanted by Sarah Lipstate’s fearlessness to stand alone on that stage surrounded by a few thousand feverish Iggy Pop fans. She has a very mesmerizing presence and an equally mesmerizing knack for delivering fantastic dreampop compositions. It should be no surprise to anyone that she has composed music for film, on top of being a filmmaker herself. Her recently released album, A Pink Sunset For No One, is fantastic and I can’t wait to see her perform again.

Bob Mould (Solo Electric):  Bob Mould’s credentials are not to be trifled with. A founding member of Hüsker Dü (a band that inspired Wayne Coyne to found The Flaming Lips as recounted in the liner notes for “Finally… The Punks are taking Acid!”) in the 80s, Sugar in the 90s, and a successful solo artist, Mould makes damn good music! His influences are incredibly eclectic and his solo career has taken some sharp turns musically so it’s exciting to see an artist with so much under his belt deliver a solo performance.

More on the festival lineup can be found at the DRILL website.  See ya there!

Oliver Brink

Oliver is a lover of film, music, theatre, and art. He writes and works out of Los Angeles.

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