The Brooklyn based quartet known as LVL UP has been making waves with their last release, Return to Love, and splash landed in Los Angeles ready for a collection of loud and fearless lo-fi garage rock. Having received rave reviews for their sophomore release, Hoodwink’d, their 2016 album Return to Love has already made the lists of must-see bands on various sites with the Echo fans backing up this statement. Their mix of eclectic indie rock is melodic and infectious and a show that promised a fun time at a LVL UP show.
Opener Los Angeles Police Department is one of L.A.’s rising artist as they kicked butt with their new tunes off their upcoming release. Ryan Pollie’s guitar and piano instrumentation is laced with emotion and authentic music that captivates the listeners instantly. Philadelphia’s Palm followed LAPD’s set with quirky and innovative songs that are chaotic but at the same time improvisational gems. Like a hybrid between tUnE-yArDs and Sonic Youth, their arrangements are complex and a treat to witness in person. Definitely a crowd-pleaser.
With no main lead singer, per se, LVL UP is steered by vocalist and song writers Mike Caridi (guitar), Dave Benton (guitar) and Nick Corbo (bass). Drummer Greg Rutkins’ skills are unmatched as he keeps score behind the three axe-men. With three singer-songwriters, LVL UP has been touring hard these last few months bringing magic to ever show. Guitarist Dave Benton took the lead the lead on “The Closing Door” while Caridi riffed through the tear-jerker “Pain.” They all play off each other and bounce notes and solos around like a beach ball between Caridi, Benton and Corbo.
The onslaught of solid thrasher licks recalled wicked riffs in the vein of 90s grunge bands Pavement, Built To Spill and Superchunk. Caridi took advantage of the outro and hammered on the guitar, distorting the squeals and bringing nothing but goodness to the track. Corbo’s subtle burst of energy on “Pain” captivated the crowd and the song exploded with heavily distorted guitars drowning in a pool of E-string wretchedness. The space on the stage was barely large enough to contain the raw power of the three musicians rocking across
They paused to plug their merchandise and to mention a non-profit organization they support called Make The Road New York that works to bring together education, social services and policy reformation to empower local communities. The urge the fans to support in any way then can. The band rocks hard and is a must-see for all lovers of a good rock show. Their website has more info on their upcoming tour and releases.
Annie’s a Witch
The Closing Door
Five Men on the Ridge
I Feel Extra-Natural