The Hype: Sometimes music tells truths that words simply cannot. Costa Mesa resident Alex Knost was on the verge of stardom, signing with Vice Records, but like smoke rising from an ashtray, garage pop band Japanese Motors is left behind to slowly burn out. Knost has teamed with girlfriend Christina Kee to form the shoegaze pop duo Tomorrows Tulips (click for our interview with Knost on his surprising decision). After recording eight songs at the Distillery Studio in Costa Mesa, they are releasing a cassette and vinyl in the near future on the Papermade label. The Tomorrows Tulips Monday show at Avalon also included AM, Audacity and Tijuana Panthers.
The Show: Taking the stage around 11:00 p.m., Tomorrows Tulips seduced the audience with swaying '70s grooves. No voice proved as out-of-nowhere stunning as the dewy melodic pitch of Knost. Tilting his face up, he threw his head back and bared his throat to the microphone, lyrics bursting outward to "Eternally Teenage," deep and sun-warmed. His exhaled tones were low and resonant, intertwining some loud wailing with spiraling guitar leads that were easily digestible, completely candy-coated and totally fucking sweet. Kee shrugged, covered her eyes with the back of her arm and swung her drumstick at the back of Knost's leg and yelled, "You're singing too loud."
Garden Grove quartet AM sounding pissed!
"Roses," the show's cutest song, gleams with a sultry little scat, swinging into a heavier tempo with the snare drum and a catchy melody. The hands and feet of the crowd shuffled to the music. Kee smiled, cocked her head, looked at Knost with wide, sleepy eyelids, half-hidden behind her curtain of blonde hair. Their connection flickered on stage as though they were only playing for each other. With more practice and fluidity, Tomorrows Tulips will certainly be a band worth following around and falling in love with, oozing from your bedroom stereo.
Opener AM turned the amps up too loud and sounding pissed. The fluorescent lights danced around the screaming voices, fingers scorning thin air. The smell of incense laced through the room while PBR was poured over testosterone-intense headbangers as the Garden Grove punk quartet opened with "Same Old Thing" and "Tired," sneering slacker vocals and far-flung melodies in some sort of crude tone through the rest of their five songs. The co-lead Fonzie Heredia made the crowd go buck wild with his bull-god guitar strums and edgy metal stomps. Audacity tore it up with thrashy pop punk while inebriated bros surfed the crowd. Adorably rambunctious and explosive, the band is proof that you can still enjoy music beyond the screaming lyrics.
The Crowd: Slurred curses and shouting emerged from brown paper bag clutching hipster guys and girls. Gripping hair, shoving beer soaked bodies and sinking into the music is how the skater/surfer crowd was at Avalon. It was packed with people standing and squatting, engaging in the smelly madness. The rowdiness hypnotized most and it was hard not to join in on the fun.
Overheard: "Live like there is no tomorrow, sacred spirit! Live for today. We are all fucking rock stars," yelled chubby, dark-haired drunk guy shoving and pushing everyone in the mosh pit.
Setlist for Tomorrows Tulips:
1. Eternally Teenage
5. Optimistic Minds