notes from the coast: Black Flamingo. The Echo. 03.26.12

Usually I’m all about the metal, but for those who know me well enough know I love all different kinds of music too. I simply don’t put in the same amount of time learning about unknown, underground, indie bands.  It would take up too much of my already wasted time away from obsessively seeking out more unknown, underground metal bands.

With that said, I feel I have a pretty open mind when it comes to other styles of music simply because I don’t know enough to know any better.  And although there’s a certain style or sound I’m usually listening for, I can’t really describe exactly what that is, I just usually know it when I hear it.  Black Flamingo happen to be one of those kind of bands that just hits me in the right spot.

A very good friend of mine who’s also a huge music aficionado asked me if I’d like to check out this band called Black Flamingo at the Echo Monday night.  She told me I may not like them because they were not heavy, but since I hadn’t seen her in awhile and liked a lot of the stuff she’d recommended to me before, I decided to take a break from my normal metal existence and take her up on it.

She told me they sounded kinda like Bauhaus doing 60’s pop.  This sounded very intriguing to me as I love me some Bauhaus and was curious to hear what exactly that would sound like.  So I sauntered over to their website to listen to some snippets.  Upon listening I could hear some slightly gothic undertones in their music but the overall feel was not all dark and doomy, but sounded somewhat ‘happy’, for lack of a better word.  The melodies and vocal harmonies really did bring more of a 60’s feel to the overall sound.  I felt like the description was not too far off, however to my ears, I heard more Siouxsie and The Banshees than Bauhaus.  Lots of jangly guitars, a little background keyboard for atmosphere and those soaring, 3 and 4 part harmonies sounded fantastic, I was sold.

It had been awhile since I’d been to a non-metal show so being surrounded by Silverlake hipsters made me feel a little out of place, but once the band came out, I forgot all about where I was.  Not being familiar with any of their material beforehand, I just soaked up the sweet songs being played.  Main vocalist/guitarist Kimi’s deeper, smokey vocals really complemented bassist Ammo’s sweet, upper register perfectly, drawing me in whole-heartedly like a Siren’s call. There’s a lot of passion and emotion behind their delivery, it’s very smooth and soothing and one of the big reasons I really dig their music.  Keyboard player Mareesa’s backing vocals helped give an added heft to the choruses, while lead guitarist Chris Vick kept the bottom end of the 3 and 4 part harmonies lush and full while his energetic rhythm playing and tasteful fills gave each song a steady, backbone around which the pretty harmonies could dance around freely.  Each song swayed with an easy tempo, not terribly heavy but never getting so sappy as to turn me off with just the right balance of light and dark mood to keep me captivated.  The two drummers, Alex and Poul, switched off behind the main kit, one doing the main drumming while the other added fills on a smaller drum set up, giving the songs an added weight to them while Ammo’s slinky bass lines danced around the beats.

They only played for about 20 minutes and when it was over Black Flamingo got an impressive reaction from the crowd.  My friend and I made our way over to their merch table where I picked up their 2010 demo Luau in the Graveyard.  I’ve since listened to it a few times and the more I do, the more I love it.  It’s a great break from all the death/doom/black metal I’ve been drowning in (gleefully) but I’m really looking forward to hear more stuff from this bunch.  If you get a chance pick up their demo Luau in the Graveyard or better yet, go check out Black Flamingo live should they venture into your town….