The air conditioning is off but the crowd of The Echo is packed into the steamy 350-cap room in the middle of June eagerly anticipating the lineup to come. The 26th stop along a 5-week run of shows brings Free Throw, Prawn, and Tiny Moving Parts to LA for an evening of indie rock and emo twinkle-daddies.
Tiny Moving Parts is headlining in support of their latest release, Celebrate, a summer album chockfull of finger-tapping and shout-along anthems — the perfect remedy for a twenty-something’s 2016 quarter-life crisis. Free Throw and Prawn are the perfect compliments, with Prawn—ever wistful and dynamic—and Free Throw paying homage to the mid-to-late 90’s era of emo.
It’s one of those shows where the crowd shouts along to opener Free Throw with the intensity and enthusiasm some (lesser) audiences reserve only for the headliner. Despite their ironic (I think?) usage of “lit” and “fam” in the banter between, from their performance I’ve deduced two facts: It’s going to be a good night, and I need to listen to more Free Throw.
The post-rock guitars and raspy vocals of Prawn instantly make me feel nostalgic. For what, I’m not sure, but probably the Midwest in the fall, with flannel and hot coffee and nowhere to be. The Topshelf Records standouts don’t disappoint — me or the 300-something local youth piled into the Echo Park venue. Their 45-minute set is over surprisingly quickly, but with the impending headliner, I can’t stay bummed for long.
With Free Throw and Prawn finished and their set lists freshly peeled from the floor, the crowd, sweaty but enthused, reacts as a neon light that reads “The Parts!” lights up, signaling the start of the headliner’s set. Tiny Moving Parts wastes no time getting into their first single off of Celebrate, “Happy Birthday,” a pumper-upper if there ever was one. As singer and guitarist Dylan Mattheisen sings “Getting stoned / in the back of a car / you have no idea where you are / but you’re satisfied with life,” you get a sense that carefree satisfaction is something Mattheisen knows well, wearing a seemingly never-ending ear-to-ear grin.
The set is a well-balanced mix of their three full-lengths and one split. Perhaps their instant classic in “Always Focused” is the biggest crowd-pleaser with the sing-along bridge of “I let myself down / when I beat myself up” resonating throughout the room. “Common Cold” is next and despite their album’s release only a month prior, the fans sing along word-for-word with Mattheisen as drummer Billy Chevalier reigns over the upbeat staccato choruses and drumroll verses. Prawn’s Tony Clark makes a re-appearance to sing half of the back-and-forth vocals handled by Foxing’s Conor Murphy on the album.
After the final notes of “Sundress” ring out, the chants pleading for an encore have already begun. The band obliges with a performance of “Dakota” that starts delicate and turns frantic, luring members from Free Throw and Prawn to run on-stage, shotgunning beers and screaming along into microphones. The crowd and band members become one, infused with the love of music and everything it entails. It’s refreshing to see the phones are pocketed, with this connection between audience and performer just being there is enough.
- Happy Birthday
- Clouds Above My Head
- Swimming Lessons
- Fair Trade
- I Hope Things Go The Way I Hope
- Always Focused
- Common Cold
- Vacation Bible School