Photo by Joe Cortez, Jr.

Photos: Killer Songs and Tales of Murder Haunt the Echo

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Local bands Caught A Ghost, Tashaki Mikyaki, Los Dead Dreams, The Little Miss (and more) took over the Echo with evil, timeless tunes.

Murder and music have gone together for centuries. The murder ballad originated as a way to carry stories of true crime from one place to another; these songs spread the news, entertained licentious listeners and often served up a moral lesson. The dark-themed music spawned a range of different versions and elaborations as they spread from one place to another.

On a recent evening at the Echo, on the eve of Halloween, the tradition continued. Curated by Los Angeleno‘s events editor, Daiana Feuer, the sixth semi-annual “Murder Ballads & Dark Songs” event was a spellbinding evening. There were haunting performances by Caught A Ghost, Los Dead Dreams, Gun Outfit, The Little Miss, Cassandra Violet, Henry Wolfe, Emily Lacy, Soft Sailors, Honey Child and other local acts. The night featured both traditional and modern ditties, including the 1800s-era song “In the Pines” (perhaps best known as the Nirvana cover “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”), the 1900s outlaw oldie “Pretty Boy Floyd” (recounting the story of an ill-fated American bank robber) and Aerosmith’s dark anthem “Janie Got a Gun,” among other cold-blooded tunes.

As guests were transfixed by the songs of evil-doers, ill-fated lovers and gun-toting gals the night proved our fascination with the darker side of human impulses remains.

Los Angeleno