By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
There were few dampeners on the day's hedonistic spirit. "I got good news from the home front," Ozzy enthused. "Sharon's kicking this cancer's ass." At set's end, not even personal problems could keep the Iron Man from flashing his own butt cheeks, as if to show us the target the missus generally prefers.
at House of Blues, August 26
The venue's packed; the bars are deserted — testimony to Something Corporate's ballooning adolescent fan base. (The band members themselves are barely of drinking age.) This endearing Orange County quintet is an anomaly, bouncing between contemplative easy listening and optimistic SoCal pop-punk, equal parts Billy Joel and Blink-182. Built around piano-prodigy front man Andrew McMahon, S.C. offer supertuneful, girl-inspired romps, buffed up with spanky grooves and chugging guitars. The eccentrically disheveled McMahon considers his piano a prop rather than an obstacle, vaulting onto and off it between bouts of gonzoid escape across the stage, his in-the-moment enthusiasm offsetting guitarist William Tell's self-conscious catalog-model posturing and the headbanging, Camaro-loving chic of bassist Clutch.
Drawing from this summer's debut album, Leaving Through the Window, and the earlier AudioboxerEP, S.C. plunder a seemingly bottomless melodic vein with the wet-dream gusto of college-age guys getting off before a full house of their peers. Though they reproduce their recordings faithfully, it's this unrestrained glee that lifts an S.C. live show beyond their studio efforts, and despite an overprocessed mix, which puts a pane of glass between band and crowd, they culture an enviable connection with their audience. The minihit "If You C Jordan" remains the Corporate flagship, its sheer pop majesty and sneering verses italicized by McMahon's impassioned delivery, yet the band has plenty of gas in the songwriting tank, as the pumping melancholy of "Hurricane" and the shameless, tear-jerking pomp of "Cavanaugh Park" demonstrate.
On paper, Something Corporate are a fan fantasy — songcraft of Elton John-Elvis Costello proportions caffeinated by hormone-subservient frat-boy energy — and with a little trimming and stylistic single-mindedness, that's exactly what they'll become. Tonight they earn multiple encores but are allowed none — it's a school night, after all. (Paul Rogers)
at El Rey, September 8
Emerging and quickly diverging from the English punk scene circa 1976, Wire have off and on through the years built their very own quasi-minimalist-punk-art aesthetic, which has seen them veer from the speedy monochrome bursts of their debut classic, Pink Flag, to more expansive sound fields on Chairs Missingand 154 and into electronically tinged, tense but dancelike works such as The Ideal Copy and other more recent discs exploring ambient/remix and process-music schemes. These pieces all had something different and important to say, yet some of us were taken aback and overjoyed upon hearing Wire's new Read & Burn-01 and -02 on their own Pink Flag label, two stunning sets of superdefined fury recalling the earlier slamming starkness of Pink Flag. At this particular point in time, for some reason, Wire's decision to play hard and fast feels so right.
(Photo by Fergus Kelly)
Much like their set two years ago at the same venue, Wire used their seemingly brief time onstage Sunday to state their position with directness and force, and that's typically ironic, as this music was rather like being sledgehammered with ambiguity. The veteran foursome (singer/guitarist Colin Newman, guitar manipulator Bruce Gilbert, bassist Graham Lewis, drummer Robert Grey) approached their outbursts as studies in compressed, complicated sonority; when unleashed against Newman's rancorish rants (his yobby voice always comes off wry), the chunka-chunka and squall and ping of the band's twin guitars seared into the brain and scrubbed the body clean. Live, the Wire sound is characterized as much as anything by a superbly satisfying, metronomic snare-drum thwack laid coolly down by Grey (you remember his former surname, Gotobed); smack-dab in El Rey's sweet spot, right in front of the mixing board, the effect was neck-wrenching excitement itself.
They played like a strong, young beat band, didn't skimp on the body-rock, but more interesting was to witness a beat band with such a keen comprehension of form and content: By fiercely focusing on a deliberately narrow tonal range, Wire emphasized again — as they've done to such great effect especially on their later-period recordings — that the real power in their material has everything to do with what they leave out. I did say Wire's set was short (and not sweet), but it might've just seemed that way. In any case, one left feeling that the band had sufficiently demonstrated its points, and had in fact squeezed a lot into their time upon the stage. (John Payne)
at the Troubadour, September 3
For two songs The Used were a band beyond themselves, a crab too big for any shell. They played without intelligence but with a passion impossible to criticize. They were little kids, swinging at every ball. The crowd rushed the field. For two songs I was all "that's my boy" to indifferent strangers. After all, The Used were cultured in the same petri dish as me, the rough-and-tumble streets of Utah. Which in the end only means this: I wouldn't touch them without latex gloves.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city