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
He had reason to be happy, since he'd been in rafter-splitting voice, his band (featuring Roy Z on guitar, and new bassist Jason Ward) had shredded, and both the Priest standards and the excellent selections from the two Halford studio albums — even the ones from the new and unfamiliar Crucible — had stabbed with remarkable strength through the devastated house sound system, which had largely expired two hours earlier. It was touching. (Greg Burk)
There was a moment in Elliott Smith's performance at the Henry Fonda Theater last Saturday when the world nearly evaporated. A thousand people watched in horror as the underground legend slowly derailed from his seventh song of the evening (the gorgeous "Alameda," from 1997's Either/Or), while a black hole of silence sucked the oxygen right out of the room. Elliott managed to hover in this chaos just long enough for the skipped heartbeat to rip through the clogged arteries of the audience, and then kicked back into the song, laughing on the lyric, "You see your first mistake . . . was thinking that you could relate."
The vibe in the room seemed genetically enhanced thereafter, as a group of restless strangers banded together into a one-off support group for a shy but beautiful creature whose five consecutive full-length albums have already established him as one of the greatest songwriters of the last decade. The quiet during the songs turned to reverence as Elliott meandered through 21 songs, indulging numerous audience requests. He even psyched out Beatles fans hoping for an encore of the previous night's "Long, Long, Long" by instead covering Oasis' "Supersonic" with a playful grin.
And though he seemed to enjoy Saturday's show, the titles of new compositions such as "Fond Farewell to a Friend" and "Strung Out Again," carried the obvious scars of all-too-recent suffering. Like a man recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Elliott seems to have a newfound wisdom, which he has ominously distilled into some of his most personal lyrics to date. His advice on "Little House on Memory Lane" hit like a heavy hand on the shoulder: "If it's your decision to be open about yourself . . . be careful." Fucking heavy. (Liam Gowing)
NORTON WISDOM AND BAND at Patricia Correia Gallery, February 1
"I want to dedicate this work to the seven astronauts who died," said Norton Wisdom before embarking on his music-driven painting expedition Saturday night at Patricia Correia Gallery. "And also to all the Iraqi children who died of leukemia today." ("Depleted uranium," I heard someone say. "They're dying because of all the depleted uranium in the bombs we dropped in the first war.") Then he asked violinist Lili Haydn for a dirge, climbed the ladder stationed before his backlit plexiglass canvas, and began making broad purple strokes. An Asian man with long hair began dancing madly in the corner. The music gained momentum, Haydn twisting lines around Willie Wadman's muted trumpet. Wisdom began removing spots of paint from the wide ribbons of purple. Tom Maxwell on drums (a cymbal, actually) and Phil Chen on bass pushed the beat ahead; faces emerged from the paint — ghosts, half-crescent profiles like women in the moon, the faces of children's spirits. Nels Cline and Eric Garcia's guitars accelerated the tempo — by this time anyone could dance to it — and at the very moment that it seemed worthwhile to count the images emerging like phantoms from Wisdom's paint, he wiped it all out into a neutral wash of blue. More paint; a verticle slash; a large X that became the arms of Atlas holding aloft a black globe, then Atlas became Liberty, and then, with a mere tilt of the head, the Madonna ("Genius!"). Saturn came out, and stars, and Haydn and Wadman and Garcia spun frenetic melodies in near-sync — and then someone with a video camera planted herself boldly in front of me, not to be denied. And I thought: If part of the point of Wisdom's painting to music is its ephemeral nature, why does the recording of it take precedence over the sightlines of a live observer? (Judith Lewis)