March 26, 2010
The Palladium, Hollywood
There are some bands I will continue to write about; Nico Vega is one of them. It was great to see such a sizable crowd arrive early to see “the opening band.” That’s only in quotes because Nico Vega is much more than an opening band, and the next time they play The Hollywood Palladium, I expect that they’ll be headlining.
Their set was too short. Yet, within that compact set, fans were treated to more energy, fire, and great music than you often experience during another band’s full set. Aja Volkman can sing, scream, and thrash around on stage, with grace. Both women and men seem to admire her combination of ferocity and poise. The only people who didn’t know how to receive Volkman were Palladium security whom, upon seeing Aja balance on the rail to sing amongst the crowd, looked as if they were going to go into cardiac arrest.
Dan Epand used to play drums. He’s since become the drums. Whereas he used to hit the drums and cymbals to create the sound, now his body is merely a more flexible extension of the drum kit. He levitates off his seat each time he strikes the drum. There’s an illusion that Epand has really long arms as he extends the drumsticks well overhead before hitting the next beat. I watched him walk off stage after their set because I expected the entire drum kit to move with him. Epand, whom some may mistake as the shy quiet one, has become an animal on the drums. Just remember – the “quiet” ones are usually the most fun.
While Volkman is climbing, jumping, twirling, writhing, and flawlessly singing, Rich Koehler is doing the equivalent, balanced with cool restraint, while playing guitar. Koehler may not be wireless yet, but that guitar cable does not restrain him from jetting around the stage, often in playful musical conversation with Volkman.
All of this is happening while the crowd sings all the words, jumps, and screams for more. The audience was ready for this show – they responded as if they had been craving Nico Vega for a very long time. And that’s indeed possible. Nico Vega represents all that’s cool, sexy, smart, raw, edgy, kind, authentic, strong, and graceful. You may find yourself feeling anxious between Nico Vega shows as you await your next “fix” (I often do). Nico Vega – the 100% legal drug – just say “Yes!”