Smells good

Alexander Viray

Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles and down a dark alley is a small and cozy hole-in-the-wall venue for live music and art called The Smell. For Angelinos, The Smell is regarded as a hot spot for indie and underground artists whose eclectic style of music is often overlooked by the mainstream music scene. Here you’ll find both local and out of town musicians playing music just to please the home crowd.

Recently, The Smell had a progressive rock show that was mind boggling and awe-inspiring to watch. Clevis was the first band to perform and played music that not only set the tone for the evening, but was also mesmerizing to watch. Clevis is comprised of bassist Ken Moore and drummer John Enke, but the lack of other musical instruments didn’t take anything away from the sheer quality of their performance.

The floor looked like an endless array of effect pedals, but Moore incorporated them as if he’d been using them all his life. Moore used endless styles of playing that ranged from slapping to finger tapping. Clevis even incorporated an electric cello that Moore played while the bass ran on a loop track. Enke’s drumming was not something to be ignored as he belted beats that complemented the music in every aspect.

‘The bass player was awesome, he tore it up like there was no tomorrow,’ said fan Greg Lee.’

Another solid performance of the night came from We Be the Echo of San Francisco. They played an infectious blend of progressive rock and experimental metal that would have fans of Rush take notice. We Be the Echo was the only band to have a guitarist and it was a nice change from the mix of other bands that were all comprised of bass and drums as the main instruments. The guitarist, who goes by the title of Graeme Nicholls, played intricate parts that ranged from clean melodies to heavy riffs that ran up and down the guitar. At one point they played the intro of Chocolate Rain, which was pretty cool to see played on guitar, bass and drums. The bassist, known as Myke Stryker, and the drummer, known as Ilk Koskelo, added to the elaborate style of music with a fashion that only hard working musicians could do.

Drummer Jesse Appelhans and bassist Eric Kiersnowski of Totally Serious put on show that was technical beyond belief. Appelhans was constantly beating away at the drums at an inhuman pace. The look of intensity on his face said it all as he belted away at the drum heads with the technicality of a seasoned drummer. Kiersnowski’s bass lines were so frantic and complex that everybody’s eyes seemed glued to his performance. It was a sight to see as much as it was to hear.

‘These guys are beyond belief,’ said fan Lucas Taylor of Totally Serious’s performance.
Ninja Academy spruced up their show with a little visual entertainment. The bassist and drummer, known as Indo-Ninja and Outdo-Ninja respectively, graced the stage dressed as ninjas. The use of costumes almost always makes for an indelible performance, and Ninja Academy definitely left their mark on the audience. Also in the group was Ninjamamalickum who sang vocals with opera-like gracefulness and Gongis Khan who played a taiko drum.

All in all it was a great show and none of the bands disappointed that night. The audience gave much gratitude and appreciation to the bands, and it was mirrored in all of the musicians’ performances.

‘I love the bands and I would definitely come back again, even in the pouring rain,’ said fan Jessica Parsons.