A flower blooms in DTLA

Basic Flowers played host to a wonderful night of music for “Denigration 2016.”

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Brooks Ginnan, Writer

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Although live music continually proves to be as much of a social event as a spiritual experience, sometimes it is worth experiencing alone. Such was the case with “Denigration 2016,” held on Friday, April 29 at Basic Flowers in Downtown Los Angeles.

Promising and rising

Created as a local solution for those who could not attend Austin’s Levitation Festival — ironically cancelled the day before it was set to kick off due to severe weather predications — the night included five of LA’s most promising up and coming artists. The genres spanned the dark, the experimental and the weird. Basic Flowers, with its massive ceilings and stunning interior, provided the perfect space to house it.

Choreography, a brooding post-punk trio formerly known as Maquisards, began the night. Playing cuts from the recently released “Recollected” EP, the band sounded phenomenal. The drumming was extremely precise and technical, driving the cold, eerie guitars and looming basslines. Notably, all members of the band shared vocal duties. Just as on recording, the somber, embittered baritones echoed from what felt like miles away.

The newly formed shoegaze group Unbloom followed with a short and sweet three-song set. Only the band’s third show, the sounds produced were altogether otherworldly. Droning guitars, entrancing synth parts and hypnotic bass placed the room in a beautiful lull as I closed my eyes and felt transported to another dimension.

Raucous collection of dreamy punk

The Vivids then changed the pace, offering up a raucous collection of dreamy punk. Frontman Sim Jackson was filled with an incredibly unpredictable and dynamic stage presence, flailing around like a madman at certain moments, and laying on the ground hiding his face beneath his tall frame. It was enticing to say the least, and it is no surprise that the band will go on to play venues like The Echo in just a matter of weeks.

Recent LA-implants by way of New York, Second Still kept energy levels high. With a sound reminiscent of the Cocteau Twins’ “Garlands” era and French coldwave such as Asylum Party, Second Still did not fail to impress. As the bass kept time with enthralling grooves, vocalist Suki San swayed and crooned, commanding attention on highlights like “Try Not to Hide” from their recent cassette release, “Early Forms.” Also notable was the lone guitarist, who created a wall of sound with heavily distorted and delayed sounds which furthered those of the Cocteau’s Robin Guthrie with ease.

The night drew to a close with an electronic-based set from Future Shoxxx. Falling somewhere between the joyous bliss of synthpop and the grit of electro-punk, the duo performed behind an expansive set up of synthesizers and delay pedals. The unrelenting synths put forth the raw energy of a punk set, as vocalist Sharif Dumani’s vocals — shrieks and all — echoed into oblivion on the band’s final and highly explosive song.

Although it never feels great going out alone, especially in DTLA, “Denigration 2016” proved that sometimes, music is most profoundly felt as an individual experience.

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