The Blood Arm at the LA Weekly Detour Festival October 7th
by Kirsten Grimm and N. Fitzpatrick updated 10.13.06
Three outdoor stages surrounded Los Angeles City Hall on Saturday October 7 for the L.A. Weekly Detour Festival. Twenty bands over 8 hours gave downtown the musical shot in the arm it desperately needs. Beck performed with puppets on-stage plus a troupe of knife-fork-and-spoon players tapping glasses and plates. The crowds were jumping to the sounds of Basement Jaxx, Nortec Collective, Blackalicious, OH NO! OH MY!, Queens of the Stone Age, and more.
The old St. Vibiana’s Cathedral, which was saved after the Northridge earthquake and converted to an art center, was one of the festival venues and was a trip in itself. Rather than priests with bread and wine, the former altar area served as the stage for D.J.’s spinning tracks, while chicks with short skirts and black boots giggled in confession booths.
Next door to the Cathedral, on the Second Street stage at Main, and just a hop ‘n skip from Skid Row, the Blood Arm gave the most spirited show of the festival, hands down. After being introduced by their very own psychedelic emcee, the Blood Arm performed with nonstop flirtatious energy. Front man Nathaniel Fregoso jumped from the stage and pranced through the crowd singing “I like all the girls, and all the girls like me!” Fregoso, on vocals, is backed by Dyan Valdès on piano, Zebastian Carlisle on guitar, and Zachary Amos on drums, all born and raised in Los Angeles. Valdès, Carlisle, and Amos are the perfect low-key balance for Fregoso’s high energy.
The music is catchy and melodic, with a bit of a British edge in there somewhere. When the Blood Arm did the tune “Do I Have Your Attention?” they clearly had everyone’s. In a later song, Fregoso asked the crowd to create an aisle for him to walk down, “like a proper bride”, where he strutted his stuff, singing and jumping with the lively crowd. The crowd swelled from 50 to 500 during the 40-minute set. Thanks to the band’s well-earned connection with the crowd, this was as intimate and entertaining a show as their 2005 performance at the Echo in Los Angeles.
The Blood Arm recently played a last minute show at Spaceland, their old stomping grounds, in support of their upcoming release “Lie Lover Lie”, which will be out October 16, 2006 on City Rockers UK. The “Lie Lover Lie” tour will take the band through the UK and Europe in November and December. Listen to “Suspicious Character” at www.thebloodarm.com.
Singing the last song of their set at the Detour Festival, Fregoso stood on top of a speaker, eyeing the stage scaffolding above. Still singing, he set out for the top and climbed as high as the scaffolding would take him. All eyes were glued to Fregoso, the crowd wondering what might happen next. Holding on nonchalantly, he belted out the rest of the tune, and left us supremely satisfied.