Material: Los Angeles-based alternative rock band Sick Mystic is, for lack of a better word, new to the music scene. The band used their recently released demo to introduce themselves to a diverse audience. Their recordings give off a slightly harder version of the Black Keys mixed with classic rock vocal elements (i.e: KISS, Black Sabbath). But don’t let their recordings fool you; it’s a pleasant surprise to find out that their live performance leans more toward grungey hair metal than grungey indie-folk.
Musicianship: Sick Mystic gives off an at-ease togetherness that’s unusual for such a new band. Frontman Ethan Whitaker has mentioned that they tend to be very open and honest with each other as bandmates and treat their group as a relationship, which clearly translates into their live show.
Performance: Performance-wise, you’d never believe that the band has existed for less than a year. Their physical aesthetics perfectly matched the music during this intimate show. While the turnout wasn’t large, each and every member of the band worked the stage as if they were playing for a wall-to-wall crowd—something that was appreciated by the attendees. The Study is more of an indie or pop-rock kind of place, so Sick Mystic’s style felt a bit out of place but refreshingly rebellious. From beginning to end, the entrancing growls of the guitar and bass, and the energetic beats of the drums perfectly fused with Whitaker's tortured angel-like vocals. Their setlist not only appeals to the modern alternative listener (Avenged Sevenfold, August Burns Red), but also to those who appreciate the classics (Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Metallica).
Summary: Sick Mystic is a newly formed band, so it’s a bit difficult to see what lies ahead in their career. However, their stage performance exudes a camaraderie that feels as if they’ve been playing together for years instead of months. That kind of immediate, natural chemistry is rare, but it’s a positive thing nonetheless and a good enough reason to keep your eyes on this band. Combine that with their ability to reach a broad music demographic and they’ve got themselves a recipe that can potentially give them a fighting chance in the competitive Los Angeles rock scene.
The Players: Ethan Jeffrey Whitaker, lead vocals; Zhenya Pro, drums; Robert Ochoa, bass; Sam Eggenschwiler, lead guitar.
Photo by Angela Timbeross