Married musical pair Ed and Ashley Ackerson got each other's backs at the BNLX concert at the Echo in Los Angeles on June 10th.
British New Wave has a new home: Minneapolis. Its champions are a husband/wife team (plus drummer pal) who do admirable service to the sound that New Order and English Beat perfected back in the day. And front man/guitarist Ed Ackerson is no shrug himself: He's served as producer to genre mates the Replacements, as well as to Motion City Soundtrack and the Jayhawks. Now he's teamed with the missus, Ashley on bass, and skins man David Jarnstrom as BNLX, who have just released their superbly catchy debut, LP. They recently paid a visit to groggy Eastside haven the Echo and livened up the place. Graciously borrowing equipment from the evening's headliners, Hindu Pirates, BNLX saddled into the instruments as though they were their own. Jarnstrom cozied up to the drums and kept a hearty disco beat through the gig, his rapid wrist movements guiding the colored-dot light show orchestrated by their man in the control booth.
The Ackersons generally held their ground at opposing ends of the stage. Ed made his guitar - a sleek, mint-green work of art - tremble, as though its entire body were a whammy bar. He'd hold it like a flag, brandishing it with pride as the small but intrigued audience bobbed along to danceable tomes such as "1929." He attributed that number to the "rampant capitalism" that caused the Great Depression and nervously chuckled about how similar our economy is today. Mesmerizing the east end of the stage, Ashley commanded her four-stringed bass like a regular guitar, riffing and gliding in syncopated response to Ed's billowing arpeggios. At times, her backing vocals overshadowed the low-bottom leads from Ed, a kink that might need to be worked out for future gigs. But one saw this was a true partnership at the conclusion of the show when the duo bowed and then smooched for all to see. Love: Sometimes it isn't just a lyric in a song.
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