For anyone who’s seen Los Angeles art punks No Age do their thing, you know well and good that “quiet” is not in their vocabulary. The duo, made up of guitarist Randy Randall and drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt, are a strange form of spastic brilliance. Their songs are loud, brash, and often piled high with effects, yet their arrangements and vocals lean heavily toward the romantic. On Wednesday night, the pair found themselves sharing the wooden stage behind the Ojai Rancho Inn with fellow L.A. DIY-ers Lucky Dragons, whose dusk-time set was a hypnotic mix of ambient sounds (courtesy of a homemade sound-wave distortion device) and how-did-they-do-that awesomeness that seemed to pulse in the early fall air.
Following the Dragons’ set, No Age plugged in for a performance that was tailor-made for its setting. With guitars turned down and drums played at a minimum, Spunt and Randall delivered gentle, almost soft renditions of crunchers like “Life Prowler” and “I Won’t Be Your Generator.” But while fitting for the space — and its neighborly noise limitations — one couldn’t help but wish the whole thing packed a bit more punch. Then, all of a sudden, as the clock struck 8:45, Spunt and Randall seemed to silently agree and (comparatively speaking) let ’er rip. What we finished on was a mini-set that snarled, gurgled, and fed back just enough to make an impact, and a night so intimate and bizarre that you couldn’t help but leave feeling like you’d stumbled upon something extra special.