Malajube @ The EXPLX, 3/3/07


This past Saturday was my first time venturing into The Echo’s ominous downstairs space, The EXPLX. I must say, despite its massive space and zero level of light, it’s quite cozy. I especially like the high stage, which makes for good viewing wherever you are in the club.

I arrived just as Southern rockers Snowden began their set. By the number of SLRs clicking away in the front row, it was evident that every single blogger in Los Angeles was at this show. Snowden was frantically energetic and a pleasure to experience live, especially for that one guy in the front twitching around in an awkward attempt at dancing. Got to give him credit for at least moving, not just standing there with arms folded, eyes closed and head down in the universal hipster stance denoting he was “feeling” the music.


After Snowden’s wonderfully raw set, any doubt that I’d arrived in Hipsterville was removed when Peter Bjorn & John’s “Young Folks” came on and was greeted with a massive cheer as drunk girls began fumbling in failed attempts to whistle to the catchy intro and dance at the same time. But no matter. Once Montreal’s sassy quintet Malajube took the stage, such vain attempts at hipster coolness ceased when the rawkage began.

The young French Canadians seemed to be excited to be in glamorous Los Angeles for the first time. They made some jokes about the fakeness of our city, told us we were all beautiful and had movie star faces, and then went off on a weird tangent about how we should get fake boobs on our knees. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume something was lost in translation.


Once the music started, however, any hint of lameness melted away. To say that Malajube’s set was high energy would be the understatement of the century. The band’s loud guitars, driving drum beats and harmoniously synthy keys churned out a seamless blend of punky rock and indie pop chock full of sugary hooks. The way the lead guitarist and keyboardist took turns playing off each others vocals was nothing short of brilliant.

Did I mention they sing in French? Très sexy.

Photos courtesy of 12-596/