Dallas trio little image are the indie-pop band you might not know about yet —and you should. Effortlessly transitioning between rock, pop and electro, and having just released debut album Self-Titled in May, little image are on a hot streak with single “Out Of My Mind” just reaching #1 on the alternative chart. little image played their first headlining show in Los Angeles on Saturday night, making a bang with a variety of new songs as well as older favorites at The Echo. little image were supported by both Nashville singer-songwriter Hastings who impressed with “Blame The Brakes” and catchy pop-rock tune “Blank Me” and Irish-American artist Levi Evans (son of U2’s The Edge), known for his song “Talk About It”.
little image was a blast from start to finish, playing a set with no filler and both alluring and electrifying songs, with so much talent coming from all three members including lead singer and guitarist Jackson Simmons, Brandon Walters on bass and synth and Troy Bruner on drums (and occasionally keys). The brief intro with questions on the screen such as “Who am I?” and “Who Do I Want To Be? turned immediately into “EGO”, with the song title flashing on the screen, and Simmons jumping atop the drum set near the end of the song. All of the guys were meanwhile dressed in black with hand-written words like NORMALIZE, ISOLATE and COMPENSATE on their black jackets with white text (from their “Runway” music video). Throughout the show, the visuals took on a number of statue figures, busts, humans outlined and silhouettes, perhaps representing an openness to all, like we are all the same.
“You ready to dance with me LA?”, asked Simmons. “Let’s go”. Party banger “Lungs Burn” was full of lots of percussion, colorful visuals shifting to fluid black and white with a pretty sick bass too. Three songs in a row were totally thrilling, including “Blue”, with warm harmonies from Walters joining Simmons and getting into the song’s groove. Bruner stood for a moment on his drum seat and following the tune, Simmons shouted out his supporting talented, “Let’s give it up for Levi and my boy Hastings”.
Following an older song, with really nice guitar effects and Bruner smashing away during Simmons’ passionate vocal, Simmons hit his falsetto perfectly on the infectious “Clean”, jacket now off while the bouncy lighting illuminated the act well to complement the song. Simmons’ vocals were muffled for effect on the synthy tune. Simmons leaned into his physicality on the stage, lifting up his leg at one point during the somewhat downtempo “Runway”, standing again on the drum set while fans had their hands up and the lights flashed in reds. The mood remained for another downtempo track, “New Lovers”, with lots of smashing and noise, juxtaposing Simmons’ natural falsetto.
“We’re gonna slow it down, this is the first tour we’ve played on acoustic”, shared Simmons. “Makeup” was one of those rare moments where a band actually makes an impact with their acoustic moment, and Simmons called drummer Bruner “multi-talented”, who was now on the keys. Simmons mentioned the song was about his “favorite person in the world” and the lovely lyrics, instrumentation and wonderful vocal from Simmons created a special showcase for the trio. “Ballet” was a change of pace, taking things to a hard rock level, with the band rocking out, almost like late 90s Limp Bizkit energy at the end, with Simmons shouting out bassist Walters at the end. “Out Of My Mind” was great fun from start to finish, with reds and yellows flashing on the band, Simmons working the stage the way a frontman should and Bruner completely crashing away on the drums as the strobes fluttered. Simmons encouraged the crowd to jump at the top of “Home”, later getting them crouching down to the floor as black and white strobe lights struck the band throughout.
An old clip of Robin Williams being interviewed by Diane Sawyer played ahead of “Glue”, a truly touching and inspiring moment where Williams said, “The thing that matters are others, way beyond yourself, self goes away”. It is a haunting reminder on loneliness, addiction, mental health and embracing others, setting up a really beautiful song, and Bruner enjoyed a special drum section involving a member of the crowd in the front row, hitting like Miles Teller in Whiplash. “I’m still really in disbelief that all of you are in this room right now”, said Simmons. “Very emotional, thank you. This is why we do what we do. We love you so much”. little image played 2017 track “Bottles”, with a noticeable guitar strum vamp, looking like all three were having the best time. The late 90s/early-2000s-tinged pop-rock mid-tempo had the crowd going with a little call-and-response and a fun guitar break and drum outro was enjoyed by all. little image concluded with “Worth It”, a slight hip-hop beat infusing the feel-good song. Simmons split the crowd on the dance floor and encouraged a mosh pit before saying, “Thank you so much LA, we love you so much, We’ll see you soon”.
Words and images by Michael Menachem