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
The late-'80s minitruck rides continued with Salt-N-Pepa's gem "Push It," which made us long for the verbal skillz of the star herself (the rhymes on her current disc, Princess Superstar Is . . ., have a buoyant old-school charm and ball-busting bravado that recall early S&P). We finally got our wish when, midset, the Stellar One took the mike and rapped to her comely club hit "Wet! Wet! Wet!" Unfortunately, though it may be her most explicit tune (she actually moans lines like "I can make your cock go higher than the hair on Kid 'N Play" with a straight face), it wasn't the best example of her astonishingly swift word-flow talents. Though she stayed at the decks for another hour, melding new and old hot tracks including Berlin's "Sex," Felix da Housecat's "Silver Screen Shower Scene," Beastie Boys' "Girls" and the Noriega's Neptunes hopper "Nothin'" (a mix that inspired devil-horn hand signs and even a few flicked Bics in the crowd), it didn't make up for the chintzy one-song rap performance. Superstar obviously knows how to shine, but on this eve she was more tease than temptress. (Lina Lecaro)
ERASE ERRATA, YOUNG PEOPLE, CIRCUIT SIDE at the Smell, Saturday, January 8
A handful of firecrackers, set off inches from your face: That's what Erase Errata felt like. Jenny Hoyston's lyrics could have been about cybernetics or Chee-tohs, but her delivery — half Kathleen Hanna, half Mark E. Smith — and fitful trumpet blasts came through loud and clear. As did the rest of the band, especially with Chicago-to-East Bay transplant Weasel Walter (of the Flying Luttenbachers) on second drum kit. (He's a temporary, as-available addition, according to their merchperson.) Unlike many bands appropriating moves from '78-'79 post-punk, their skittish rhythms and Sara Jaffe's no-tone guitar work less as calculation — Moving Units, anyone? — and more as their natural tools. Obvious inspirations Dog-Faced Hermans couldn't have been more forceful in their heyday.
If Max's Kansas City had actually been in Kansas, the house band might have sounded like Young People. Strong as Erase Errata were, this was really the local heroes' crowd — tonight was their last show before several months on the road, and guitarist Jarett Silberman's birthday to boot. They've expanded their stylistic reach since last year's debut CD; one newish song burst from an "After Hours" lope into undiluted thrash, and "The Lord" is a too-brief exploration of a Nuggets-worthy riff. But Katie Eastburn's vocals were no match for the Smell's weak PA; by contrast, Jeff Rosenberg's chant of "We are all-knowing" sliced through the squall with ease. Solid, but not the triumphant sendoff it could and should have been.
Openers Circuit Side play nearly wordless and seemingly unironic prog-metal, long on creamy distortion and short on repetition; a wholly mystifying choice of genre, especially given their cover of "Radio," formerly of Olympian anarchists the Need. Their scrupulously polite stage manner contrasted appealingly with their instrumental machisma, but not enough to make their Melvintallicisms comprehensible, much less convincing. (Franklin Bruno)
MINIBAR at Caf√© Largo, February 4
Not too long ago it looked like Minibar might end up another casualty in the series of record industry expansion/contraction cycles forever chasing market trends. After spending a half-million dollars on their album Road Movies with Grammy Award-winning producer T-Bone Burnett, Cherry Entertainment's parent company, Universal Music, decided to divest itself of the band, because — in the words of Minibar lead singer Simon Petty — "it just wasn't 'shiny, happy people' enough." But instead of returning to their native London, Minibar decided to record another album on the cheap, and turned up at Largo to promote copies of a taster EP, The Unstoppable.
Petty, whose voice evokes a young Peter Gabriel, sang well-crafted, almost anthemically catchy songs that only occasionally shared the downcast lyrical face of his alt-country brethren. Minibar lack the kind of hard-hitting sound necessary to breach the fine cheesecloth of commercial radio playlists, but that criticism misses the point of the band, who are attempting to catalyze an endothermic reaction, not an explosive one. With three-part harmonies drifting over Malcolm Cross' sensitive drums, Sid Jordan's intuitive bass meanderings and Tim Walker's beautifully spacy lap steel, Minibar perfectly achieved their artistic vision at Largo — a desert in bloom.
Petty humbly acknowledged the challenges Minibar face forging ahead without major label support. "We did the impossible," he sang on the EP's title track, "can we do it again?" In the end, their classic sound may never pull the right dollar signs to catapult them onto the world stage as superstars. But to the packed house at Largo, watching a performance that can only be described as flawless, they already were. (Liam Gowing)
Whether you ask the guy with the Kramer hair, the two-fisted Amstel-drinking muscle boy or the blond with Shakira-like tresses and earrings the size of hula hoops, they'll tell you the same thing: When Los Amigos Invisibles flipped the switch, the party was on, and on. Following a combo DJ/live-band set strategy, the New York-based Venezuelans created a seamless hedonistic flow; guitarist Jos√© Luis Pardo did double-duty as DJ Afro, headphones creasing his follicular poof as he slammed down a dance-flammable selection, including a Latin-house remix of "Soul Shakedown Party" in honor of Bob Marley's 58th birthday.
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