Originally appeared on the Music Court in February. This show took place 2/21/15.
Last time I saw Sego, I told you guys about it. I checked to see when they would be playing next, knowing I pretty much have my pick of east LA venues; they’re based here, so they play around the city a lot. I found their next show at the Echo, opening for Body Language. That sounded great, but for some reason I had relatively low expectations for the show; sure, I loved Sego, but I’ve seen them a couple times already, and how good could Body Language really be? Call me a pessimist. (Later I found out, Body Language is actually known for being an incredible live band. D’oh.) Turns out both bands more than exceeded my expectations, and this show has become one of my all-time favorites.
By some stroke of God, I was a few minutes early for the show. I’d say about a dozen people were there, all seated along the walls, two young teens sitting on the stage. I think it turned out that I was one of maybe five people that weren’t with either of the acts. Sego set up, people began to trickle in, and then they kicked off their set with “Wicket Youth,” the title track of their debut EP. Every time I see them, they impress me with how careful and exact they make carelessness sound. A few songs in, a couple people started to shout about Joel and his birthday. Spencer Petersen (lead vocals) wishes him a happy birthday and congratulates him on being to the most consecutive Sego shows. We all applaud. Nice work, Joel.
Sego ended with their Rod Stewart cover, not without Petersen assuring us that the upcoming set from Body Language was going to blow us all away. I take these comments as common courtesy, I don’t really give them any weight. Well, turns out he was right- Body Language really did blow me away.
Body Language creates a smooth but lush soundscape, and the dance beats are turned up in their live act. I noticed their recent single, “Reset,” toward the beginning, but the details of most of the rest of the set escapes me. (I know that none of it included “Huffy Ten Speed”.) It all became a rhythmic blur, which engulfed me and everyone else at the Echo. I realize now that the room had filled and was near to bursting. And everyone was dancing their hearts out.
Throughout the show, some technical difficulties had befallen Body Language, but nothing fatal- that is, until the finale. They bring the show to a climax with “Really Love,” Angelica Bess on vocals, straining to know if what we have is real, and Ian Chang wailing on drums, dripping with sweat. Bess takes to the front of the stage, then retreats back to her original position at the mic stand… and pulls the plug on something. Grant Wheeler tries to fix it, attempts to play, no sound. He rearranges something, tries again, nothing. Bess apologizes, adding, “The band is mad at me, they’re gonna hit me later. This is not the first time I’ve done this on the tour.” All the while, though, Matthew Young and Chang keep time and maintain a steady rhythm, waiting, as if the machine will come back to life soon. Bess apologizes again, says that she will just sing it, she doesn’t need it; she doesn’t take a breath and sings “Is it, is it, is it really love/is it is it, is it really love?” for several measures. The other band members chuckle and shake their heads, but they don’t stop. This determination to keep playing even after something this disastrous has happened was inspiring, and it gave Bess a moment for everyone to admire the capacity of her lungs. As anticlimactic as it may have been for Body Language, the mistake made the performance even more impressive, and was a cherry on top of a wildly fun show.