Photos by Allegra Rosenberg
Rock wunderkinds The Lemon Twigs have taken the worldwide stage with their debut album on 4AD, Do Hollywood. The band, made up of teenage brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario, took advantage of a break in their national tour opening up for Sunflower Bean to make their LA headlining debut at the Echo in Silverlake. The show was sold-out to the max, and the crowd seemed to be made up of about 20% teenage personal friends of the band, and 80% hipster adult tastemaker types, the kind who probably heard about the band through KCRW DJ Chris Douridas plugging them endlessly during his hours on the air.
The opening act, Starcrawler, was a rollicking glam-rock group led by one teenaged Arrow de Wilde. She was carried onstage in a straitjacket by a burly attendant, then let loose a vocal and physical performance worthy of someone twice her age, supported by the heavy riffs and steady rhythm section emanating from the rest of the talented band. De Wilde contorted her insect-like limbs and spit (fake) blood all over the audience in a true show of old-fashioned rock-and-roll fervor. The songs were tightly-rehearsed and sprang with terrific energy from the stage — for my first-ever encounter with Starcrawler, they made a massive impression on me. Definitely an LA-area band to watch!
After some time to recover from Starcrawler’s intense set, The Lemon Twigs took the stage with a casual air that belied the huge amounts of buzz that had brought them to the venue and sold out their show. Brian D’Addario, the older brother who began his career as a child actor on Broadway and on network TV, started off the show at the front of the stage, wielding his red Melody Maker as the band ripped through their debut hit “These Words.” His younger brother Michael beat the drums like a wild animal, propelling his sticks across three rack toms in infinitely loud rolls. Touring band members Danny Ayala (keys) and Megan Zeankowski (bass) were on top form, beautifully supporting the D’Addarios in their sonic quest for retro-tinged hedonism.
The audience sang along enthusiastically to numbers from Do Hollywood like the vibrant “Baby, Baby” and the melancholy “As Long As We’re Together,” which seemed to pleasantly surprise the band up on stage. Banter, jokes, and awkward silence peppered the space between songs, which in any other band’s set may have been annoying or unprofessional, but at this show served to reinforce the deep friendship and youthful appeal of the Twigs’ togetherness.
At the midpoint of the set, Michael came to the front of the stage to sing backup vocals with Ayala on heartstring-tugging ballad “How Lucky Am I?” After that, it was the younger D’Addario who took the lead at the front of the stage, sending searing riffs out from the red Gibson and dancing with a fervor that nearly outshone his brother. Meanwhile, Brian laid it down on drums in the back with the same intensity as Michael had, proving how deep the talent runs in this multi-instrumentalist Long Island family.
After the set had ended and there was the usual whooping and cheering from the crowd, the two brothers came out one last time (without their other players) to perform a cover. After some waffling over exactly which one to play, they settled on “There’s A Place” by The Beatles, which they proceeded to perform with vocal and instrumental grace. Though they left the stage humbly, it seemed to be a historically important moment to have been there, in the room, when the Lemon Twigs truly “Did Hollywood” for the first time.
The Lemon Twigs