Live Review: Ultra Q Sell Out the Echo & Resurface Their Former Roots at Mt. Eddy for a Cathartically Chaotic Night in the Pit

Ultra Q at the Echo 2024 © Jax Samsell
Ultra Q at the Echo 2024 © Jax Samsell
From their humble beginnings in backyards of the Bay Area, to their current hot streak in the aftermath of their freshly released album ‘Empty Eddy’, Ultra Q take their punk rock daydreams to new heights at their recent Echo performance in LA.
Stream: ‘Empty Eddy’ – Ultra Q

Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, house shows, if you’re lucky, are a core facet of your experience.

I remember the thrill of watching backyard behemoths like Espresso and the Love-Inns take shape at some unlucky parents’ house, where a blind eye was turned in the name of artistry. I’d spend my school days with the buds of my headphones tucked into my hoodie, listening to their music, knowing one day, we’d all become something bigger than this.

Those daydreams are no stranger to Bay Area natives Ultra Q, formerly known as Mt. Eddy. And for bands built on the sacred bond of childhood fantasies and burgeoning rebellion, there is no greater fruition than staring down the face of a sold-out crowd at the Echo.

Ultra Q at the Echo 2024 © Jax Samsell
Ultra Q at the Echo 2024 © Jax Samsell

For Ultra Q, that face looks familiar. It looks like the kids they grew up with, older now, but still wearing those same Mt. Eddy t-shirts from high school and surfing through a sardine-packed crowd with that same spirit of wonder and rage. Even though we grew up in different atmospheres, the Ultra Q crowd made me question if the nor-cal and so-cal house show scenes were really all that different.

When you look at their trajectory from primordial days as Mt. Eddy to their current state as Ultra Q, there’s clear evolutions that reveal themselves through the music. From their growing fascination with the implications of tech and the internet, to vocalist Jakob Armstrong’s maturing propensity for risk, their artistic arch greatly mirrors that of their generation.

What started as a gritty and purgative debut album called Chroma in 2017 has set the momentum for their latest project Empty Eddy, a gruelingly introspective and profound look at love, mental health, and getting older. Grippingly self-aware, Ultra Q possesses a gift worth their weight in gold as a band; a shared love of music and each other that has metamorphosed through the ages.

Ultra Q at the Echo 2024 © Jax Samsell
Ultra Q at the Echo 2024 © Jax Samsell

I was lucky enough to see Ultra Q perform both their new music and the music of Mt. Eddy that night.

From Mt. Eddy’s liberating “I Luv Robert Smith” to Ultra Q’s darkly romantic and ruminative “Waiting”, the sense of emotional catharsis, a shedding of teenage worries left dormant, was shared between Ultra Q and their audience. Over the stark and impactful percussion of Chris Malaspina and the feverish riffs of his brother Enzo Malaspina, a treacherous mosh pit unfolded who screamed the lyrics of their youth back at them.

From the polarizing ones like, “I scream words of sex and drugs / The realization that no one gives a f***” to the lonely lovesick lines of, “Crashing a party with no one inside, I’ll be waiting, can you wait for me too?

Mt. Eddy capture a revival of our experience, one which I didn’t realize was universal. It’s a yearning for more on the precipice of rebellion in the cold face of impending adulthood.

Ultra Q at the Echo 2024 © Jax Samsell
Ultra Q at the Echo 2024 © Jax Samsell

Ultra Q, however, look back on the faces of the memories that made them, still many of who were with them that night, and fearlessly pushes forward into a great unknown. With unrelenting grit that’s taken them from a garage at their parents’ house to that pivotal Echo moment, Ultra Q are only getting started.

Many years from now, I expect to listen to the tracks on Empty Eddy and feel that same nostalgia for a time capsule of youth, just as I do now.

— —

:: stream/purchase Empty Eddy here ::
:: connect with Ultra Q here ::

— — — —

Connect to Ultra Q on
Web, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Jax Samsell

:: Stream Ultra Q ::

More from Grace Holtzclaw
Live Review: Subtle Orange Are Taking Their Childhood Dreams to New Heights & Bringing Fans Along With Them
Alt-rock five piece Subtle Orange returned to Los Angeles with a surprisingly...
Read More