The Veils Perform at The Echo
The club’s disco-ball-lit center buzzed with a small hub of fans of The Veils, inching up to the stage when the first opening band, Pop Noir, played in their Brit-pop style. In between sets, ’80s British tunes bounced off the mirrored walls lined with pillowed bench seating.
The night mellowed as Los Angeles youths came back in from the tea light patio to hear Andy Burrows sing his California ballads with a British accent. The scene was set for the first night of The Echo’s BritWeek. Who else to remind Brit band fans of the eclectic and talented nature of music established in London but the multi-instrumented and haunting band, The Veils?
The narrow and feather-light face of the band, Finn Andrews, beamed an uncharacteristic smile under his quintessential black, wide-brimmed hat as longtime fans welcomed his band back to their Los Angeles stage. It had been a long three years since The Veils played at the Echo, a bar they had frequented often during their California shows since the band started in 2001.
London-born Andrews is the singer-songwriter and lead guitarist of the tight-knit group. Sophia Burn, the sultry wisp of a bassist, Raife Burchell, the band’s inextinguishable drummer and Daniel Riashbrook, the mellow shadow of a psychedelic guitarist, have collaborated with Andrews since their high school days in New Zealand.
The Veils released their fourth album, “Time Stays, We Go” on April 23, and with it established their independent label, Pitch Beast Records.
“A year ago, we thought we’d never be back in LA,” Andrews told the longing crowd. Thankfully, with their independent status, the enigmatic band found its way back to its cluster of Southern California fans in the cozy counterpart to the Echoplex, The Echo.
The band gave each song their all that night, which was fitting, as Los Angeles had been a strong inspiration for the album. They recorded “Time Stays, We Go” at Seedy Underbelly Studios in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles. California was also the inspiration for their second album released in 2006, “Nux Vomica.”
The Veils played six songs from their new album, four of which they recorded for an EP at music’s sacred Abbey Road Studios in London.
After opening with an eerie yet uplifting “Train with No Name,” from their new album, The Veils played the song that introduced me to the curative music, “Calliope!” from “Nux Vomica.”
The drums beat with a powerful rhythm while trumpets lifted nearly every song to the high ceiling. Andrews flew around the stage, making the music as visually intriguing as it dared to sound.
Another new song, “Birds,” drew the audience closely in for the start of a twisted rollercoaster of instrumental emotion, ridden by Andrew’s eclectic voice. His weary tones haunted the room with mournful poetry.
Moments after he took the stage, his comforting smile disappeared into a low and unsettling baritone voice. His face would take the shape of a drama mask, the corner of his lips turned down in anguish, his brow furrowed and pained. The band’s new organist, Uberto Rapisardi, imprinted his ethereal and dreamlike tone into each song, underneath a lowered head of long hair.
Andrews turned his back to us as he finished the wild “Through the Deep Dark Wood” out the sound with a serious clashing of the cymbals, sharing stage territory with Burchell.
The audience’s voices echoed in unison when Andrews sang fan favorites, “Guiding Light” and “Vicious Traditions,” from their debut album released in 2004, “The Runaway Found.” These hyperactive songs of chaos defined his teenage life; they were songs he had written in high school.
What you get with The Veils live is a visual meaning to Andrews’s aching howls and shrieks on the record. This writer nearly cried from the sorrow evoked in Andrews’s voice as he sang “Sit Down by the Fire” from the third album released in 2009, “Sun Gangs,” quieting things down for a moment in the middle of the show.
The encore song, “Jesus for the Jugular” from their “Nux Vomica” album, eclipsed the rest of the concert with a wave of convulsion. Andrews switched back and forth from hyper speed strumming on his electric guitar to possessed chanting of “Jesus for the jugular, one at a time.”
The lights that seemed to remain steady in the background throughout the show — giving us a black and white version of the band — waited until the final release of instruments to flash colors of pink and blue set to Burchell’s chaotic pounding, ending the night with a bang.
The Veils will be playing throughout the U.S. to finish out the spring. Then they will hit Europe in June and will jump over to their home base in London before launching their New Zealand tour in July.