I have seen Races perform a number of times, and though the Los Angeles-based sextet always blows me away, I have never seen it play like it did Thursday night. As part of Dirty Laundry TV’s Kickstarter Campaign to keep the web series afloat, Silverlake’s Los Globos hosted a fundraiser show that featured three bands and Races as its headliner.
What I love most about the indie-folk outfit’s live shows is its energy. Recorded, the songs are beautiful, dark ballads, but on stage the band ignites the tunes with a spark that blows them into raw, frenetic pieces much more intense than their studio incarnations. During this particular set, the six-piece added a new element to its masterful performance. George Krikes of fellow Angelino folk-rock threesome King Washington joined Races as lead guitarist and unleashed a kinetic energy that heightened the band’s dynamism tenfold (and if you’ve ever seen Races play, you know that’s saying a lot).
Though vocalist Wade Ryff announced to the crowd that this set marked Krikes’ first performance with Races, he played flawlessly, including a complex guitar solo. His energy and precision emanated from his strings and soared through not only his band mates, but the audience as well. During instrumental breaks, Ryff faced Krikes and the two fed off each other, while the crowd applauded and cheered, eyes transfixed on the duo.
During its set, Races played selections off its debut, Year of the Witch (released March 27 via French Kiss Records). While Ryff crooned and thrashed his guitar, vocalist/percussionist Devon Lee harmonized with his voice and aggressively pounded a four tom, radiating her own infectious energy throughout the club. Though the sextet recently returned home from a summer tour with Saint Motel, every member performed with an intensity like he or she hadn’t played a show in months. Not one person on stage looked tired.
For the last song of the evening, Bradley Hanan Carter of NO joined Races on stage to perform “Lover, Lover, Lover,” a bonus track off Year of the Witch, helping sing the chorus and alternating with Ryff during verses. His charming presence escalated the energy even more (which I didn’t think was possible). Each musician played his and her hearts out, acting as if this was the last song each of them would ever play. By the end of the song, the crowd erupted with applause, showing support for both its local music scene and Dirty Laundry TV.
Photos (c) Katrina Nattress