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
CROSSOVER at Electrick, October 19
Philippe Kane, promoter of the electro-bash monthly Electrick, is upset that other electro-trash nights, like Synthetic, get most of the attention, even though these copy-kittenz "have no substance." Weird, I thought people like this electro-hash for its ferocious fixation on style and its little need for substance. The style-over-substance allure of electro-crash won't do much for its future, but it's great fun for the moment, and the scene provides a common ground where rockers and dancers, straights and gays, the Fischerspooner youth and the Yaz old can properly clash. Electro-clash.
By bringing in the sexy, photogenic NYC duo Crossover, Electrick definitely showed it knows what's up. When Desmond and Verona performed their layerless, bass-heavy, synth-junky robo-punk funk at San Francisco's Fake a couple of weekends ago, the place was so glam-packed with people really into it that there wasn't even room to bounce. It was a great show. At Electrick, the crowd was about half the size, and that drained the night's potential quite a bit. After all, even with the Crossovers, the Felix da Housecats and the Ladytrons, the scene's biggest superstar at the moment is the scene itself -- without that steady flow of checkered Vans, neck-ripped tops, heavy mascara, and a flock of hairdos hovering over it all, this derivative-chic spectacle of music and fashion begins to look uncertain of itself, as though it showed up at a party overdressed and deathly sober.
Still, those who stayed for the 30-minute performance surely noticed what an absolute stage presence Crossover is -- especially Verona, whose drop-dead gorgeous, one-two punch of deep voice and deeper eyes makes the song "Phostographt" from their catchy debut Fantasmo what it is: sweet faux-German nothings throbbing from her circuitry to yours. Yeah, most of the music tonight was prerecorded, and the spastic Desmond didn't add much whenever he abused his syndrums. But Crossover awesomely demonstrated how their type of music could start a scene, and how essential it is to look the type. (Tommy Nguyen)
UNDERWORLD at the Wiltern, October 21
U.K. prog-ravers Underworld wrapped up a six-date tour in support of their new album, A Hundred Days Off, with a self-billed reincarnation. The graphic-art-inspired duo is out to disprove those who said they lost the plot when member Darren Emerson defected. The only problem is that Emerson's Moroderesque DNA still posthumously programs every arpeggio, even on the new hit "Two Months Off" (ooh, we feel love).
Without their DJing Jekyl, vocalist Karl Hyde and programmer Rick Smith quickly spooked the Wiltern crowd with minimalist shtick (bubble-pack backdrop, men-in-black fashion, intelligent lighting). An ambient intro segued to the Trainspottingclassic "Dark and Long" as a projected "LOS ANGELES" loomed above the stage (it was "L.A., make some noise!" for the chat-room generation -- lol!). Meanwhile, choons came roaring out of nowhere, filling the elegant, ornate cavern like a biblical miracle. The pioneering progressive track "Cowgirl" was rinsed with glorious, bouncing keys as a mike-toting Hyde sang of "hurting no one " -- save for the concept of live music performance, as no one actually played a keyboard. Smith tweaked an array of gear behind a black, closed-coffin console that seemed to entomb Emerson's memory, but the concert had more DATs than Soul Train.
It was preprogrammed, postmodern glory worthy of the most heinous boy bands, but somehow fresh for Underworld's self-biting egomania. Who cares if the music comes from Giorgio Moroder or Freur or Darren Emerson or Smith's mysterioso onstage gear, as long as it comes out hot, charges the synapses like a hit of E, and helps the economy? (The instrument-to-audience ratio was absolutely capitalistic; this downsized concert surely impressed the bean counters over at Clear Channel, the venue's owners.) White lights and "Born Slippy" vocals continued the medicine show as a young woman sold bottled water in the aisles like it was the World Series. Suffice to say, it was a sellout crowd. (Dennis Romero)