return to live music with reckling – photo diary

LA-based band Reckling made their triumphant return to the DIY scene on August 6th at Non Plus Ultra after a 17 month hiatus from the stage ignited by the pandemic. Frontwoman Kelsey Reckling–joined by Joey Mullen on bass, Max Kuehn (of FIDLAR) on drums, and Erik Jimenez (of Together Pangea) on guitar–played an energizing set, reminding us again of ringing ears amidst a state of post-show afterglow.

Kelsey Reckling.

“It kinda looks like a cool storage facility for theater props.”

Scrunchie’s resident artist Jillian looked around the venue’s neon decor illuminating a basketball hoop, fun-house mirrors, kitschy art, arcade games, and a CD tape vending machine (tragically out of order). I think I saw a severed mannequin’s arm peeking out of a shadowy corner. A projector cast upon the stage an array of green and blue distorted scenery that danced over the mic stands and drum kit. The crowd had collected in the small courtyard in the back end of the warehouse, everyone seemingly latching onto familiar faces. A glittery blonde with dilated pupils approaches our small group and flowers us with compliments. She asks for our names even though she’d forget them in about 15 minutes; truthfully, I don’t remember her’s either. 

It felt good to be back. 

The aforementioned CD vending machine.
Our editor Sarah and one of the arcade games.

The night kicked off with an opening set from Diode. Buzzing guitars vibrated off the walls and into the ears of the crowd’s bobbing heads. Jillian and her boyfriend danced together in the back like they were the only two people in the room. I made a mental note to look up the band later.

Jillian and Dash boogie.

Kevin kept the energy going and the room began to pick up its feet. Quincy and Kimi commanded the room–projected vocals, synths, guitar riffs and all. A couple of guys try taking the opportunity to mosh, though to little avail, since everyone else appears transfixed on the band. 

Kevin during their set.

Exchanging a proper greeting with Kelsey herself before her set, I’m relieved to finally be meeting people without a Zoom screen framing our conversations. Internet-driven social anxieties aside, I began to feel a weight lifted off my shoulders. Maybe the worst days of sitting behind a laptop screen alone in my bedroom were over (at least for now).

Kelsey Reckling.
Kelsey Reckling.
Kelsey Reckling.

Reckling put on an electric show, bouncing right back into the scene and showing no signs of wear from the pandemic’s impact. Songs like “Small Man” and their most recent single, “Spiders,” garnered the attention of everyone in the room. At one point I was cross-legged on the ground and Kelsey leaned over closer into the crowd; from my point of view, she could have been on top of the world. 

Reckling playing “Small Man”.
Kelsey Reckling.
The four-piece together.
Joey Mullen.

Through the rose-colored glasses of a Midwestern girl just happy to be back in LA, the Reckling show instilled within me a newfound optimism about the resurgence of live music. Times are changing and the world feels a little bit scarier, but I trust there’s always going to be good people wanting to play good music somewhere.

Reckling together.
Max Kuehn.
Kelsey Reckling.

Reckling is out here doing the damn thing. But if you don’t believe me, you can count on the word of the gentleman that stood next to me giving his highest praise to Kelsey at the end of the night. The following afternoon, I realized it had been Reggie Watts.

Kelsey, Max, and Joey.
Kelsey Reckling.
Joey Mullen.
Kelsey, Erik, and Max.
Kelsey Reckling.
Kelsey Reckling.
Max Kuehn.
Kelsey Reckling.
Kelsey Reckling.
The full band.

Thanks LA, until next time. 

All photos and writing by Weronika Koleda. Taken on 35 mm film. All footage and copyediting by Sarah Yoerger.

In case you missed it, check out our Interview with Kelsey from earlier this year here!

Follow and listen to Reckling:

Spotify | Bandcamp | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Follow and listen to Kevin:

Spotify | Bandcamp | Instagram | Facebook

Follow and listen to Diode:

Spotify | Bandcamp

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