The reunification of one of L.A’s the most influential neo-psyche bands, The Dream Syndicate, had fan clamoring their way to the hometown show at the El Rey Theatre in support of their latest release, How Did I Find Myself Here?, on Anti-Records. With almost 30 years from their last album (Ghost Stories, 1988), the gang has not missed a beat with a new tour and new stories to tell with their triumphant return. With an expansive collection of albums and sounds, this was one show that promised more than what was advertised.
Lead vocalist Steve Wynn started his career with a band called the Suspects (which included Kendra Smith, who made special appearance during the encore) at UC Davis and after returning back to Los Angeles, he met drummer Dennis ‘Duck’ Mehaffey who was in another band, Human Hands. Opening for R.E.M. and U2 in the mid-‘80s, bassist Mark Walton joined the group and was there for the release of 1986’s Out of the Grey. The ultimate shredding guitarist, Jason Victor, join The Dream Syndicate in 2012 after working with Wynn during the mid-2000s in the band The Miracle Three.
Opening the show was Long Beach’s talented folk/jazz influenced Chris Schlarb and his band Psychic Temple. The slender man in white resembled John Lennon from the Abbey Road album cover and had the cadence of Mitch Hedberg’s one-liners. Schlarb commented on this albums and the reason why he named his albums in the order of releases, I, II, III, IV, “I figured, ‘What’s the simplest way for the masses to be indoctrinated?’ Well if they can count to ten, they can buy all my goddamn records.” The crowd chuckled as he led them down the windy road of country-esque blues with his glorious track, “Road Song.” Psychic Temple’s exploration of the American soul, blues and folk language had the audience instantly fall in love with their sound.
With the crowd ready for a rock show, the band made their way to the stage and wasted no time and fed the rabid fans with opener, “Halloween” from their debut album, the Days Of Wine And Roses. The track erupted a heavy solo riff in the vein of one of their contemporaries, Television’s Marquee Moon and proved that time has no meaning in the face of rock and roll. This band has not lost one single step after almost 40 years in the industry and with so many hits. They paused to thank the hometown fans and introduced their special guest keyboardist and album producer, Chris Cacavas, and launched into the dreamy ballad “Whatever You Please.” They quickly turned up the heat with “Medicine Show” and the eleven-minute acid trip track, “How Did I Find Myself Here.” They paused after the last track and came back for an encore with former Dream Syndicate and Opal band member Kendra Smith on “Kendra’s Dream.”
If there is anything a band like The Dream Syndicate can show these kids today is that longevity is the key to happiness in the music business. The aging rockers will undoubtedly aim for the endurance and vitality of The Rolling Stones as they continue to add to their repertoire of fantastic tunes that demands every accolade conceivable. The Dream Syndicate’s latest album, How Did I Find Myself Here? Is out now with a current tour that will take them into 2018 with dates in Dallas and Austin, Texas.
Armed With An Empty Gun
Out of My Head
Filter Me Through You
Whatever You Please
How Did I Find Myself Here
That’s What You Always Say
The Days Of Wine And Roses
Too Little, Too Late