Saturday, June 30, 2007

One Bad Muthaf*cker- Andre Williams, Flash Express @ Safari Sam's June 29, 2007

I can be crass; I will unabashedly tell a dirty joke while certain friends of mine will redden in shame; Those same friends are also the ones that will remind me that children will be present and please refrain from using the word fucknut. However, I will never be as crass as Andre Williams, never ever. For a man nearing 70 something, he will sing "Give it to me baby" and make me blush. Tonight, in what you guys must see as a trend here, I showed up as the second band was ending their set, which left Flash Express and then Andre Williams.

Ok. I need to put a caveat on here. I was told that the band before Andre Williams, and who also ended up being the backing band, was Flash Express. HOWEVER, there is a Los Angeles band called Flash Express as well and I cannot seem to find any info to prove that this band I saw perform was in fact Flash Express. So, please, if you look at the band in the photos and know that, Yes- this is totally Flash Express, or Uh-no this is definitely not the band, then please tell me. Thanks.

Anywho, with all that blah blah aside, they were not the most exciting/original band to see. It was only after three songs in that I started to bop my head a little. The crowd that was enjoying them though was bordering somewhere along the lines of the Rockabilly scene and guys who like Monster Trucks. It reminded me of hyped up lounge music or really fast "white guy blues". The guys though could play, I will give them that. I think what bothered me the most is how many times the singer wanted to put motherfucker into the songs; you can only do that so many times before I stop taking you seriously. The funniest thing here though was the one guy who got the job of wearing shades on stage, doing back up vocals and shaking either a tambourine or a maraca, or both, and almost never in time with the actual music. I felt like he's the friend of the band who just got out of rehab and needed something to do.

Now, once you took away the lyrics and they had to start playing Andre Williams songs, all the showiness was scraped away and they were a great backing band. Now... on to the man.

Andre Williams started off by walking through the crowd to get up to the stage. He actually seems a little intimidating walking through, what with young girls throwing themselves at a 71 year old. And it's not like a rich old man thing, he doesn't really have much money, he's just that cool. Sauntering on stage with what looked like a complete satin suit of royal blue and red, he crooned "Give It to Me Baby" over and over into the microphone. While covering songs off the last couple of releases, including "Agile, Mobile and Hostile" and "I Wanna Be Your Favorite Pair of Pajamas", he gave smooches to anyone up in front of the stage, regardless of sex.

It was apparent though that Williams was getting up there in years. In between songs, or when the band started jamming, he had to take a sit break, or lean up against one of the band members. But I give him an incredible amount of kudos just for getting up there and doing a compete set. And the show was entertaining and I danced and had fun while this cool old guy sang about bonin' and cussing. Oh, and if you're still not convinced, there's a movie/documentary coming out about him so I suggest that for future viewing material.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hey Mister Tambourine Man, Could You Put a Couple Down?- Brothers and Sisters @ Spaceland June 25, 2007

I took a little breather lately from going to shows in case you've been wondering what had become of the site for the last two weeks. Mainly I had a crap load of stuff interfering with my ability to get to shows or stay up past 10 o'clock on a weeknight. Alas, Spaceland had a free Monday night residency for the Deadly Syndrome with Brothers and Sisters, and goddammit an unannounced appearance at midnight by the Pity Party, who I keep trying to get to see but always have my plans upended when it comes time to see them. Including this night too unfortunately.

We arrived just as Brothers and Sisters started and we stayed right up till they finished, mostly in part due to an exhaustive day which made me ok with leaving cause I at least got to see ONE band. So anyways, Brothers and Sisters is outta Austin, TX (one of the best places right now for new, awesome music, besides L.A. that is) and actually does have brothers and sisters in the band, namely Will and Lily Courtney who lead and sing. They also answer the question of "Can one band have too many tambourines?" Um, yeah, actually they can. At some point during the show the numbers on Spaceland's tiny stage seemed to have doubled as people came on solely to play tambourines, a bit too much if you ask me. It's just asking for "parody" to be stamped on to them.

Anyways, the music sounded pretty good, nothing really new, even perhaps calling back to some good ol' seventies country rock. They did have a steal guitar, which for me is always a plus. Actually, the guy playing it also played about five other instruments as well including the keys and the guitar, and maybe a tambourine that I might have overlooked. Everyone on stage looked to be enjoying themselves as their bopping along to the music spread out audience wise so that I found myself swaying as well (and into a couple of people with full drinks too, sorry about that....).

Tonight was also the last night that Brothers and Sisters would be here in L.A. I believe that they were here for pretty much the whole month. They are definitely worth checking out if you're into the whole alt-country scene, and not afraid to venture knee deep into the freak-hippies that attach to bands such as these like moths to a bare bulb.

Ah, and one thing about Spaceland: free show = no parking. Which also means having to wait 20 minutes for the valet to find your car and almost get you run down in the street.

Monday, June 11, 2007

SUMMER CAMP! with the Raveonettes and the Little Ones @ Little Radio June 10, 2007

Going to see bands perform in the daytime is always a sorta surreal experience. Especially when the last band has played and you walk out the door, and suddenly your eyes are being blinded from intense sunlight, even though it's now 6:30 in the evening. Ouch.

Today was the second installment of this summer's Summer Camp, organized by Little Radio. Boasting a water slide, free food and drinks, and FREE MUSIC, you can't go wrong with this much entertainment. Today was especially important to be there because I missed the Raveonettes Friday night. This seemed to be a recurring curse that was finally lifted as of today. Over the last two or so years, every time they came to play out here in LA I missed them for some reason. Plans would be made, money in hand, and then SOMETHING had to go wrong. Not this day, finally.

We really didn't have so much time to hang out there so we didn't pack bathing suits for the pool. Really, they had a pool there too. So standing outside drinking Dewars even under the tarp canopy in jeans was proving to be too hot for us. Inside was somewhat cooler, and we had wandered inside to catch the Little Ones (having missed the opening band Brothers & Sisters).

I couldn't for the life of me remember if I'd seen the Little Ones before. I recognized the name, and they sounded familiar, but.... Anyways, the best word I can think of to describe them was HAPPY. They were all smilies and whooping and yelling and they even had what looked like choreographed drumming and keyboard playing. That's always pretty neat. They also liked to play musical instruments(like musical chairs.. get it?), which for whatever reason is always entertaining to me. Like going to see Bedroom Walls where you never seem to know which one of them will be on what instrument. The Little Ones make me think I'm listening to a British band; there's something in the lead singer's voice and maybe the sunny poppy tunes that seem lined with slight sad notes. But they're not, they're from here.

I'm not sure if everyone knows that the Raveonettes acquired their name from the Buddy Holly song "Rave On"-they did by the way if you didn't know that. So, it was fun to hear them start up their set with "Everyday", one of my favorite Buddy Holly songs (one of which I also wanted to do a cover of, but dammit, theirs was pretty great). Today's show had them performing as just a duo; in fact, I believe their tour was called the Electric Duo tour. At least it was until the newer songs, then they had help on drums by Sandra Vu (from Midnight Movies- so pissed I missed them Friday) for the rest of the set. After "Chain Gang of Love", their second song into the set, something technical went wrong with an amp or along the lines of that nature and they had to fiddle with stuff for a bit. After a few they were back up and played "Love in a Trashcan". For just the two of them (at least for the first half) they sounded amazing to me and still kept their signature sound regardless of having only two instruments playing at a time. When the both of them sing, it's very hypnotic to me and also odd that I know there are two people singing, and yet it's hard to pull out the separate voices.

In another odd turn of events, I actually kept track of most of the songs they played, which included: Attack of the Ghost Riders, the Candy Song, My Tornado, Dead Sound and some new ones including (I believe) Lust and closing with Aly Walk With Me. One thing I must try and do when writing these things down is write legibly. Then I can be a bit more accurate with these things, sorry guys.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dance Dance With Your Pants Off: Anavan, The Shark That Ate My Friend, and Bloody Robots @ the Scene, June 6, 2007

Firstly, a big thanks goes out to la-underground for putting on this show (except for the scary clown poster, jesus I hate clowns). I don't think I've shaken that involuntarily since I was stuck on a bus in below zero weather with no heat. But this was the good shaking, the boogie kind.

Tonight was a weird blend of noise, keyboards, helmets, lizard people and testosterone. The girls tonight were very underrepresented, which I don't get cause I had quite an enjoyable time. Also, it's funny that the more I've gotten out to these things, the more people I start to recognize; I'm pretty sure the drummer for the Monolators was here tonight. Anyways- the show:

Started off SO FUCKING LOUD with the Bloody Robots. It sounded like three people, but upon closer inspection it was only two. We couldn't figure out how the guy was getting his bass to sound like a guitar but thought that was pretty cool. Anyway, they played some very aggressive, brash, heavy sounding music that left my ears almost close to bleeding. With earplugs. And standing outside. Damn.

After my head finally calmed down, The Shark That Ate My Friend were up second. Coming out of Orange County somewhere these youngsters were introduced to me, on a musical level, not very long ago and I was pretty excited by what I heard. First of all, there are two keyboards and drums, nothing else. They make this incredible happy dance music that just sounds really cool, kinda reminiscent of the Unicorns. And then occasionally interjected with bizarre video game noises. OH, and the drummer played so fast I thought he was going to break the kit. They were overall really entertaining to watch. Too bad they're all the way inland.

So, the poster had Anavan headlining however they were third instead. Not to sound biased, but this band is one of my favorite LA acts so already I was beaming to see them. And man do they put on a fun show. Donning hockey helmets with microphones, this three piece makes some sick elctro-dance-noise music that you can't help shaking too. One guy in the audience looked like he was convulsing, but he was smiling so there was no need to call an ambulance. They use their own spot lights, have a smoke machine, and at one point a man wearing a red lizard/dragon suit came crawling off the stage. Fun folks, fun. And they like to get personal with the audience too, pants did come off at some point. I'm not entirely sure as to which songs they played, although I'm pretty sure they did belt out "Mingle". It was just so frenetic that I was lost in the beats, and not due to more poor memory of such things.

I was exhausted in all respects after their set so I did not stick around to see the Mormons, but I hear they're a fun band. Supposedly they wear helmets when they play too. Which is also entertaining.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

One Plus One: A Night of (ALMOST) All Duos with Matt and Kim, Japanther, Mika Miko, and No Age Friday June 1, 2007 @ the Echo

Blarg. This should have been a week long concert going extravaganza, however Matt & Kim seemed to be the only stand out show worth making the effort for. The fact that I was witness to crowd surfing for the first time in forever was just one of the highlights Friday night over at the Echo.

There was a chance this show was going to (or had already) sold out so in an act of desperation we showed up at the Echo before the doors had even opened to try and get in. Waiting paid off, but getting there that early meant we would have to stay there for the next three or so hours. Usually this is horribly painful but tonight was an incredibly solid line up of bands that made sticking it out worth while.

What a night for duos. First up to play were Los Angeles guys NO AGE. They prove my point that two people can make a lot of melodic noise. Pounding the crap out of their instruments they still work through some interesting beats and harmonies. The great thing is that there is little difference between them live and their recorded stuff, it translates well, which sometimes can be a difficult task even for bands with years under their belts. I highly recommend going to see them, and you can if you're in the area on June 10 at the Smell, also playing with this band:

Mika Miko. They sound like a combination of late 70's NY new wave/punk and mid 90's lesbian hard core, except they look like they're 9th graders. This bizarre picture forming in your head right now actually produces some fun partying music. Scurrying around the stage, bent over instruments and telephone microphones, this group of girls pump out an obscene amount of energy that really got the crowd jumping around. And the crowds really do love them. They play constantly and chances are wherever you see a group of concert posters somewhere, their name will be on it.

Third up was Brooklyn based Japanther, the second duo for the night. Two guys with a bass and a drum kit and I'm pretty sure some sampling thrown in. They play hardcore anthem music that will make your ears bleed but you want to stay around and sing along. Lightning Bolt came to mind while watching them. Oh, and they had a telephone microphone too.

Headlining tonight was Matt and Kim, the third duo and second Brooklyn based band. These two kids are probably the happiest people on earth. I've heard this about them, but seeing them live, with Kim's giant grin plastered on her face the WHOLE time they played was kinda nuts. Their music is happy poppy indie stuff, sorta like Mates of State in reverse, except grittier, much grittier. The album hasn't seen much of the light of day but you couldn't tell with the crowd at the Echo, it was SO packed there with just wall to wall people. And it was wall to wall people pumping their arms in the air and singing along to the music. One thing about the songs they play is that they are catchy, but also seem meaningful somehow, like you can't help singing your heart out along to the words. And live, when you watch Matt belting out the lyrics it all seems connected. Anyways, tonight they played tracks off their EP and the full length including No More Long Years, Yea Yeah, Silver Tiles, and It's a Fact. And the whole time people crowd surfed. I'm not kidding, really, lots of people. The whole night was just waves of energy that culminated with probably the question, "How else can we show we're excited?" to which was answered, "We can dive off the stage."

The only downside of the night was the giant glass of beer that got accidentally poured down the front of me. GodDAMN there were a lot of people there.