Trees Dallas (Deep Ellum, TX)
IO ECHO WITH HAIM
– Words by Jordan Buford (The Music Enthusiast)-
The fans had flocked to Trees in droves this night to witness the Los Angeles based band, Haim, and when I arrived, I was surprised to the see the venue well on its way to reaching capacity.
It was a little more than a hour before that band was scheduled to hit the stage, though, and before them the crowd was going to be treated to a performance from another LA band, IO Echo.
The quartet opened their short 31-minute long set with the title track of their debut full-length album, “Ministry of Love”. It was a very enticing start to their show, offering a catchy chorus, “’Cause the sound of your heartbeat is the sound I believe. It’s the rhythm of emotion…”, as well as dreamy indie rock/pop sound that was easy to get lost in.
“How are you doing?” frontwoman Loanna Gika asked everyone, getting a fairly loud response from the crowd before she continued. “It’s really radical to be back in Dallas, and opening for some of our best friends…” she said, referring to Haim. Paul Rinis then counted them into their next song, “Tiananmen Square”. After their first song, I found myself hoping they’d get a little more active on stage, and they certainly delivered on this track, as Loanna began bouncing up and down after finishing the first verse, and kept that up throughout the duration of the song.
They were sufficiently warmed up after that, as they moved on with the subsequent song from their record, “Ecstasy Ghost”, Loanna pulled herself onto the drum riser, dancing about for a few moments before leaping off back on to the stage floor. That song, which was tinged with some oriental style sounds, was also dripped in reverb, giving it a very distinctive quality. Actually, it made the kimono/shawl that Loanna had draped over her seem very appropriate, though once that song concluded she ditched the kimono.
That led them to their most intriguing song of the night, “I’m On Fire”, which had an ebb and flow that was sure to get your attention. Loanna almost whispered the verses in near silence, creating a creepy atmosphere for the tune, before it would roar to life on the chorus, guitarists Leopold Ross and Michael Edelstein aggressively plucking at their axes, while Loanna showed how powerful her set of pipes was, belting out the line that was also the songs title. “I love you guys.” she told the crowd as they moved right on to their next song, and I have no doubt that, that love was mutual, considering how receptive everyone was being towards their music.
The next song they tackled was the sexy sounding “Doorway”, Loanna adopting a very sultry demeanor right from the start of it, but in a very elegant way. At the start, she picked the mic stand up, thrusting it into the air and all around, before finally moving it out of the way behind the some of the amps. There was just something about that one that made the entire aura of their performance change, and in my opinion, it was their best song of the night.
Once they finished that, she worked to get the crowd pumped up for Haim, asking how many people had seen the headliner before, or if this would be the first time. She reiterated, “Or is this your first time?”, putting some emphasis on it so everyone knew what she was getting at. “I’m sorry, that’s a corny joke.” She acknowledged, though it did get some laughs. She then gave the audience a heads up about their next song, saying they hadn’t been able to practice it that much. “…So if we fuck it up I hope you won’t make fun of us.” she said, and while she threw that out there, Leopold was busy changing out his guitar for a bass.
I don’t think anyone would have pegged IO Echo as a band that would cover a song from The Beatles, yet that was what they did now. It was a song from the groups timeless “Abbey Road” album, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, and IO Echo kept it pretty true to form, while also managing to put their own little twist to it, and much like the original they had done a few songs before, this Beatles cover oozed a certain degree of sex appeal. Now, as they found themselves at the end of the show, they returned to their own signature blend of indie rock with some Asian influences, closing it out with “When the Lillies Die”.
For whatever reason, I wasn’t expecting the opening act to be as great as what IO Echo ended up being, which I think contributed to them making even more of an impression on me.
They were fun and energetic on stage, while their music was incredibly original and very well written, and no two songs sounded even remotely similar in any aspect.
They secured me as a fan with ease, and I have a feeling that I won’t be the only person who saw them this night that’ll be checking them out again the next time they come through town.