Jelani Aryeh at The Echo
Jelani Aryeh at The Echo – Photo: Steven Ward

When Jelani Aryeh finally walked onto The Echo stage late Thursday night to a sold-out room, the crowd was already ravenous for the smallest morsel of slick indie-rock hooks he might dish out first. Opening with the first track off his debut album I’ve Got Some Living To Do, the incisively intropsective “Trunk Song,” there was a severe contrast between the existential woes that vexed Aryeh when he wrote the song — and the hope that now gushed from him as he sang those words onstage. Surrounded by raving fans and seeimgly dozens of friends and friends-of-friends, when Aryeh wasn’t singing he was beaming his luminous smile of his, caught up in the whirlwind euphoria of his own set.

And what a set it was. As one of his first shows after the pandemic and since the release of his new album, Aryeh entreated fans to the kind of raucously cathartic shows everyone had been pining for. From the rubbery bounce of “Overexposed” to the buzzing rock romancer “Stella Brown,” Aryeh delivered all the jams and he couldn’t have kept the crowd from singing along if he’d even tried. Then he topped it all off with an impromptu cover of pop anthem “Mamma Mia” — afterall, a sure fire way to get any crowd to lose their minds is to dust off some ABBA.

Much like his debut album, his first show back in Los Angeles was a rapturous and spaceyly-lush meander through Aryeh’s sonic headspace. With disarming tenderness and understanding, coupled with his inspired piecing together of genres into a patchwork of alluring textures that glow only brighter with his poetic lyricism — there was something special about seeing the 21-year-old Aryeh celebrate atop such a young crowd. Through him love and hope glinted, like a match in a prism, and by the end of the night everyone was one fire.

Bennytheghost at the Echo – Photo: Steven Ward

Openers Bennytheghost and Quiet Luke riled up the crowd before Aryeh took the stage. Bennytheghost played songs off their Supersonic EP, a collection of rambunctious and funky tracks that were hits live with their groovily-spiraling riffs and angsty wailing.

Quiet Luke (aka Alexander Luke Bahta) for his part overcame some serious technical issues to deliver his intensely atmospheric productions — armed with a guitar and peddles, Luke looped his dazzling arrangements, powerfully stratospheric howls, and earsplitting guitar screams over and under each other for minutes on end. By the end of his criminally short set, fans were gushing over him as if he’d been the headliner.

Quiet Luke at the Echo - Photo: Steven Ward
Quiet Luke at the Echo – Photo: Steven Ward