Taking stage at iconic nightclub The Roxy, Red Bull Sound Select presented another outstanding night on the Sunset Strip. Sound Select veteran Tapioca and the Flea’s frontman, Samuel Lopez, played host as well guest DJ as he spun hot hits throughout the night. Wild, dancing hipsters lined the walls of The Roxy, ready to see headliners The Thermals and tune into openers, Los Angeles’ own Beach Party and Gothic Tropic. The Roxy’s sultry ambiance laid out the perfect feel for the night. Red Bull provided a GIF booth where fans could record 3 seconds of themselves for a looped image, used as hilarious imagery played throughout the night.
Once nine o’clock struck, the signature red theatre curtains rose, exposing Beach Party and all of their dingy ’60s sex vibe. Their stage presence was beyond natural and their beach garage rock vibe immediately took hold of the crowd’s attention. By the time they were in full swing into their set with “My Baby,” girls grooved while the guys tried to keep up. With their shaggy locks, it was guitarist/vocalist James Hurst, along with drummer Nico Macciocca, that contributed an immense amount of energy to their lively, catchy set.
During “Bad Decisions” guitarist/vocalist Rob Banks’ guitar string decided to go into early retirement, but Gothic Tropic’s Cecilia Della Peruti (who also turned out to be Banks’ ex-roommate) came to the rescue by lending her groovy clear guitar. Their psychedelic cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” had the crowd hitting notes as high as Banks did, impressively enough. By their last song, “Fun,” it was more of a damper to not have them perform longer, but it was a win for Red Bull Sound Select for showcasing such a radical band.
Kids continued to filter into the darkly lit venue, buzzing about Beach Party and what was to come from Gothic Tropic and The Thermals. Red Bull infused cocktails filled the hands of those lucky enough to be of age as other less fortunate sipped on new Red Bull Edition flavors. Perched up in the cool kid corner of The Roxy, Samuel Lopez continued to sync classic hits with catchy beats during intermission. Again, in timely fashion, the red curtains rose, welcoming Gothic Tropic to the stage. There stood the mastermind behind the psych-pop project, Miss Cecilia Della Peruti with her equally talented bandmates.
Her shy smile was humble as she greeted their fans below and started the show. Their combination of tropical flavor and pre-punk elements dispersed on the stage and poured from the speakers. Bassist Daniel Denton kept a cool demure, but still served too much rhythmic bass for the crowd to handle. Their songs off of their EP, Awesome Problems are all pleasantly hypnotizing, especially live. It was impossible not to dance to the band’s light, airy vocals that emanated from a swirl of pastel stage lights. The mere image of the smiles on their faces helped show that they too enjoyed themselves just as much as the crowd dancing below.
As the iconic Roxy red curtains came to a close, headliners The Thermals set up from behind. This didn’t stop the dance party, which continued to be served by the Tapioca and the Flea boys. Almost in a flash the trio emerged and a harder, punk rock sound followed with their opening single, “No Culture Icons.” By now the whole dance floor turned into a mosh pit as The Thermals gave a coy smile and unleashed their set. Opening with this lo-fi punk jam, these Portlandians were ready to stir the pot.
Guitarist and lead vocalist Hutch Harris’ wealth of energy fed the rock-hungry crowd below. An assortment of drinks, shoes and even a crowd surfer or two unraveled during The Thermals’ set. Even bassist Kathy Foster stole the show with her alert presence on stage. The trio made it a point to make their rounds throughout their discography, covering songs from their 2003 debut album More Parts Per Million to their newest record, 2013’s Desperate Ground. As they worked their way down the set list, these punk rockers unleashed an unstoppable force of spunk that rocketed throughout the night.
The Thermals Set List:
No Culture Icons
Faces Stay With me
The Howl of The Winds
Returning to The Fool
I Don’t Believe You
Here’s Your Future
Born to Kill
A Stare Like Yours
Alone, A Fool
The Sword By My Side
St. Rosa and The Swallows
Now We Can See
A Pillar of salt