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
Make no mistake, this is a band without intelligence, without relevance, without, in the end, passion for anything but themselves. They have nothing to offer but enthusiasm. The lyrics are tepid "I survived the streets, now I'm positive" nonsense. They scream a lot, and when I hear screaming I admit I get excited — I wonder who's been hurt. But even the fury rapidly resolves itself into contrivance. After two songs I wished they'd just ride off on their Harleys and leave me alone. They sounded furious about . . . Jell-O. Worse, their cheap '80s sensibility is being foisted upon the public as indie rock, well-angled music, one of the sparks dusting our desolate fields, promising flame.
I still believe in an aesthetic of desperation, still believe that there are bands out there smashing their heads into the wall not to sell records, but because they fucking hate walls. But The Used do not belong on the same page as these kittens. They don't belong on the same page as countless unsigned Utah demons. Give me the Wolves; at least they sound hungry. I'd rather listen to the Downer's sonic watercolors than The Used's cheap flannel pretension. They're just another corporate golem sent out to subdue the enemies of staid cookie-cutter rock. I want to send them back to the riverbank, find whatever magical word has animated them and erase it forever. (Russel Swensen)
at House of Blues, September 5
Every few months we find ourselves on the brink of another British invasion, but, alas, it never quite seems to happen. Whether it's that limey arrogance or the overabundance of melancholy musings the Brits have been championing lately, America doesn't stay enamored with English bands for too long, not even critical darlings like Radiohead or current ballad boys Coldplay. London's Gene probably won't be the band to actually change anything, but their bittersweet bites are some of the best of the U.K. pop crop, and their stage show is anything but downbeat or self-absorbed.
Following a strong opening set from local riff-riders Run Run Run, who spewed out smoky clouds of Spacemen 3-style rock, Gene took over House of Blues with a bevy of poignant pop tunes about how love can really fuck you up, but instead of feeling dreary or pissy, the band offered a dramatic, heartfelt performance full of movement and blissful melodies. Black-clad, shaved-skulled singer Martin Rossiter gyrated and made grandiose hand movements and basically rocked out more than you'd expect from listening to the pretty indie rock of Gene's latest release, Libertine. Rossiter's thrashing about prompted the guy next to us to dub him "the poor man's Robbie Williams," but the singer is used to being compared to a far more revered Englishman back in his neck of the woods — Morrissey.
Gene's blend of tight, bright guitars and lazy yet perfectly executed croons about heartbreak are undeniably Smiths-like. The difference? Morrissey loves irony and ambiguity, while Rossiter's totally forthright. When he sings "Let Me Move On," you know that's bloody well what he wants to do. (Lina Lecaro)