Reunited Band Film School Gives Lessons at The Echo; GUIDES Leads The Way

Greg Bertens - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia
Greg Bertens, founder of Film School – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Newly Reunited ‘Beggars’ Lineup Maps Its Future

By DONNA BALANCIA – It may be Film School, but there’s a lot of history in this band’s curriculum.

In the heyday of the burgeoning shoegaze era of the early 2000s, Film School was making the rounds and building a reputation as an entertaining and talented group.

Was their kinder gentler Sonic Youth-sounding genre so popular?  Not yet, and what happens when something is a little ahead of its time?  It’s misunderstood, taken for granted, or largely ignored.

Film School - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia
Film School – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

But judging from the turnout at the Echo Friday night, it’s apparent Film School left an indellible impression on lovers of great shoegaze and may be reaping the rewards now in its newly announced reunion. The original “Beggars” lineup of Film School made its mark in the Northern California scene and as the shoegaze-alternative genre proliferated, the band’s influence on the niche was seen as undeniable.

Film School took a long break, but came together two years ago for a one-off performance and now, the band has actually put together an EP called June, and is talking a full album and touring.  Following an amazing show at the Echo last Friday, Greg Bertens appeared enthusiastic about getting back in the groove.  He told California Rocker there was one thing that was being requested more than anything.

“They ask us to tour more,” Bertens said. “We’re working on it, and now that we have an EP coming out, we will be touring more.”

Bertens is up to his familiar talented tricks as the front man for the ethereal group, which has its many fans but never got through to the mainstream.  Maybe this time around as the population is a little more accustomed to the genre and understands that this type of alternative music isn’t just some atonal mishmash.

GUIDES Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia
GUIDES Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The band performed cuts off its new EP, June, and played some familiar tunes from the past and seems like there is plenty more to come from Film School in its newly revived form.

The booking for the night at the Echo was spot on with popular band United Ghosts, which is a hit with the local crowd in particular.

The bright star of the night was GUIDES, an up-and-comer from Los Angeles, consisting of Angelenos: Chris Cogswell (vocals / guitar) Jayson Larson (drums), Be Hussey (bass / guitar) and with additional contributions on its records by Luke Ehret (guitar) and Margot Paige (background vocals).

The band will be appreciated by those who love New Order and Peter Hook and the Light, who in friendlier days together were Joy Division.  And we can only hope GUIDES has no such dischord; if they stay on their current track, the band will make the breakthrough.

Cogswell’s haunting voice is like that of an alternative angel, somewhat similar in style to Morrissey, but with a humble and undeniable American flair.  Together with the very big beat play of drummer Larson, and bass and guitar lines of veteran Hussey, the band is modern combination of alternative’s biggest and brightest: Gang of Four, The Clash and The Smiths.

Make the trip across town if you must. One day you will say that you knew GUIDES way back when.

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