Tag Archives: Dan Epand

Nico Vega at The Palladium

March 26, 2010
The Palladium, Hollywood

The last time I saw a line wrap around The Hollywood Palladium the way it did before doors opened for the Nico Vega/Codeine Velvet Club/Metric show, Nine Inch Nails was playing.

Nico Vega

Nico Vega

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

Dan = drums

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.

Rich Koehler

Rich Koehler

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.

Nico Vega

Nico Vega

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!”

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Nico Vega Kicks It Up A Notch At The El Rey

February 26, 2010
The El Rey Theater, Los Angeles

Nico Vega crush the El Rey

Nico Vega crushes the El Rey

I love it when a band transforms a venue. I’ve experienced it before – that feeling that a venue I know so well, and associate with hundreds of other live performances, has been transformed into another band’s playground.  For a moment you’re transported to an alternate reality. You lose track of space and time, forget that you own a cell phone, and question what city you’re in. That’s what Nico Vega did at the El Rey Friday night.

Nico Vega Blood Machine

Nico Vega Blood Machine

I’ve seen this band perform countless times and have always been impressed, but something was different this time. I don’t think drummer Dan Epand sat on his stool for more than a few seconds. With each strike of the drumsticks, Epand levitated completely. Rich Koehler was playing guitar as if it were a rocket launcher and we were all headed to another galaxy. And Aja Volkman, who is and always has been, a star, took us there.

When their set concluded, my friend looked at me and said, “Well, I don’t need to see anything else!”

I’d say we should all see Nico Vega again.  Hopefully soon.

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