Before I delve into the details of this performance, I’d like to give a little preface. First of all, I have never, ever, seen Los Angeles’ venue The Satellite so packed for an opening band (and I go to a lot of shows), and secondly, if you live in the LA area (or anywhere, for that matter) and still haven’t listened to NO, do yourself a favor and change that. You can download the Echo Park quintet’s EP, Don’t Worry, You’ll be Here Forever, for free right here. Although this is still brand-spankin’-new band (these guys haven’t even been playing together for a full year yet) it has already brought attention to itself by performing at The Echoplex, Bootleg Bar, Troubadour, and a Monday residency at The Echo upcoming in March. This dedication and determination has resulted in numerous publications dubbing NO a band to look out for in 2012, and I completely agree with this statement.
Wednesday night’s show wasn’t the first time I’d seen NO. I was able to catch the second legitimate live performance these guys played last month, and the energy between the band members was astonishing. I couldn’t believe they had only played in front of an audience just once before. Since then, they’ve played a smattering of local shows, so I was eager to check them out after some more practice. That kinetic vigor had grown, especially in vocalist/guitarist Bradley Carter.
The first time I saw him perform, he was mobile, utilizing the stage and feeding off his audience and band members. This time around he looked like a rock star. His charisma paired perfectly with the brand of anthematic indie rock he produces. He sauntered across the stage and used large, sweeping hand gestures as he sang. His lyrics sounded so heartfelt and authentic that when he belted out, “Stay with me, isn’t there a place for me inside your heart?” from the EP’s closer, “Stay With Me,” it sent chills down my spine. His face expressed both pain and hope. His honesty was refreshing.
The band, as a whole, was spot on. Each member in this band is such a proficient musician that he could play his part with his eyes closed. And each band member had a microphone to conduct grandiose five-part harmonies, allowing Carter to joke about the ability for the audience to apply to their men’s choir online.
NO is not meant to play in small venues (although I love intimate shows) it is meant for a stadium. Its sound is so large and its energy is so powerful, it needs to resonate in a larger space, and I think, as long as the quintet keeps doing what its doing, it will be playing larger clubs in no time.Your next chance to see NO is Monday, June 30, at Bootleg Bar. This show is FREE! 21+.