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
at the Derby, February 13
Some bands wear inevitable comparisons like a bird wears its cage; Voyager One's oceanic sounds led more than one to compare them to Sigur Ros, My Bloody Valentine or Spacemen 3, despite the fact that Voyager One lacks the sonic architecture of these metal-deliquescing bands. Very simply, this isn't a band with that kind of range.
Voyager One writes psyched-out pop songs. There's a lot of noise oscillating around their trajectory, but the noise is never integral to it, viz., the songs aren't committed to the noise; the songs are committed to a meaty bass line that's just shy of danceable, and fresh-faced vocals that are less shoegaze than man-about-town. Fortunately for Voyager One, they're very good at what they do. The noise never approaches variations on lit-ice, but that doesn't mean it's ineffective; think of it as a vehicle, an envelope sweet enough to taint its contents. Likewise, the video paneled behind the band colors the songs in headier hues; spectral shots give way to awkward dancing, and the word crash hangs above the band like an accusation.
Listening, just then, to the band slip into their most incendiary song is like seeing a girl's face emerge from incense gray. They close with a galaxy-angled cover of the Velvets' "What Goes On," and the puzzle of the song is shaken till it shimmers. "What Goes On" sounds like it's been dragged through their collective psyche, or, more exactly, dragged out of their eye like a long blue cloth. A good cover sounds like this — half conversation, half argument. (Russel Swensen)
at the Great Western Forum, February 14
Parking lot of L.A.'s once and still Fabulous Forum, Valentine's Day, 2003, first time in two years the most extraordinary sociocultural organic music phenomenon of all time (save the Dead prophets who gratefully started it all) is giggin' in LaLa Land, and oh how the tie-dyed masses have turned out. In the throes of orange-alert media-fed military mania, 20,000 (yes, that number is accurate, and Phish can do the same throngs in multiple dates at just about every place singer-guitarist Trey Anastasio, keyboardist Page McConnell, bassist Mike Gordon and drummer John Fishman lay their road cases) blunt-tokin', smiling, dancing children of the jam-band generation prepare to rock, Woodstock-style, for PEACE, love and the true American way.
Inside, here they come, the four freaky horsemen of virtuosity, volume and vibe. Opening with a ditty in honor of the day, "My Sweet One," then a cover of "Cover of the Rolling Stone," a cheeky prop to their long-overdue recent achievement, the band launches into a two-part set with the incendiary fan fave "Chalkdust Torture," which sets the jumpin' jam shred/groove/ phunk-phat bar higher than the twirlers behind the sound board or the dazed but not confused carolers in the first row, whom Trey blesses with umpteen disarming smiles throughout the ethereal eve.
Two hours-plus later — flying on the final notes of an ecstatic rendition of the Stones' "Loving Cup" — wasted, exhausted, hoarse, the community heads back to the lot for those "special" Rice Krispy marshmallow cakes, an exclamatory munchie after the most phenomenal, indescribable, life-exalting rock experience on the phucking planet. (Lonn Friend)