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
JAGUARES, LA SONORA SANTANERA at Universal Amphitheater, March 28
For years, Saúl Hernández and his once-Caifanes, now-Jaguares delivered their fans from terrestrial troubles with mystical musings rather than political pabulum. But there he was, on the Universal Amphitheater stage Friday night, wearing a mock-military jacket emblazoned with "No More War" and a T-shirt with a Stars-and-Stripes-painted hand offering the peace sign. In the rockero god's hands was a gleaming guitar. Phil Ochs' dream of a revolutionary Elvis was about to come true.
The music? Beautiful. An acoustic overview of all the Caifanes and Jaguares hits. Moody arena rock channeled through a troubadour soul. "Viento" became especially liberating with a bawling sax solo from session player Jimmy Zavala. Hernández let his shamanistic wails guide the sold-out crowd through the peyote dreamscape that is "Detrás de los Cerros." "The start of the Iraq war begins the darkest chapter of this world," opined Hernández. "The day we don't have war will be the day we will finally be human." Two Jumbotrons flashed images of revolt: peasants confronting police, and a grinning Dubya accepting boots from Mexico's own cowboy, Vicente Fox, for starters. The dedications flew like bullets — to murdered Mexican activist Digna Ochoa, to César Chávez, to the slaughtered women of Ciudad Juárez.
Fellow chilangos La Sonora Santanera joined Jaguares for a boogaloo "Como Tú." The tropical titans, impeccable in their sharp suits, stayed to perform their own call-and-response classic "La Boa." Hernández tried to join La Sonora in dancing simple steps but couldn't keep up. After a while, he just stood and grinned. The encore needs no elaboration. Sure, Jaguares flipped on the electricity, played a good 45 minutes more and ended perfectly with "Afuera," but the trio had already accomplished their transformation. Jaguares has always possessed a hell of a roar; now they have fangs. (Gustavo Arellano)
ANDREW WEATHERALL, PREFUSE 73, PLAID at the Henry Fonda Theater, March 28
Besides his membership in hot-five-minutes-ago Two Lone Swordsman, there must have been a reason Andrew Weatherall was headlining tonight, but even the promoters who put on this party couldn't figure it out. Surprisingly, the effete jock wasn't cutting anything remotely close to the commercial beats of the Swordsman, opting instead for Dutch-style hardcore-meets-Chicago house, with enough bpms to satisfy the tweakers. Speaking of chemicals, American DJs like to keep work and play separate, but the English tend to booze and blaze up the fags the deeper they get into the mix (it's about concentration, innit?). Fortunately, Weatherall takes greater risks the more fucked-up he gets, but by 1:30 a.m. (he spun at least a half-hour too long) it was too little too late.
Good thing Prefuse 73 (a.k.a. the king of glitch-hop) was on first, because he's got the left-field funk that makes you go geometric. The Atlantan specializes in MC flows drowning in choppy static on steroids, best heard on the primo Vocal Studies and Uprock Narratives. But since his session at Mobius last year, Prefuse has honed his keypad chops and broadened his melody files tenfold, and the results almost put the disco dancers into pleasure comas.
It was the evening's other Brit duo, Plaid, that dashed expectations of a Warp Records blip fest. Though IDM has scarcely been mentioned in the press in the last year, Plaid never identified with the laptop nerds anyway. Sure, they got clicks 'n' clacks, but it's just window-dressing for their majestic swells of angels' breath — imagine 13th-century church chorales lit up like Xmas trees — that nearly took the roof off this aging theater. Cynics won't accept that wormholes of beauty exist between the 1s and 0s, but Plaid sure know where to find them. (Andrew Lentz)
DERRICK CARTER at the Ivar, March 27
If American rave-house (think Sneak, Dan, Donald Glaude, Charlie Feelgood, Doc Martin) has an elder statesman, it's Derrick L. Carter. The Windy City legend has been spinning since junior high school, and he helped the Chicago sound make the metamorphosis from post-disco soul in the '80s to hand-raising global party music in the '90s. Like his aforementioned spiritual brethren, Carter approaches the turntables like a basketball center — manhandling his vinyl, slapping it down and taking the transition game to new levels. The transformational blends and banging house style that became a staple of West Coast jocks were long ago abused by Carter, a true party animal. His tendency to push up the tempo and animate behind the decks has given house a new entrée for the jittery candy generation.
Despite our respect, we were a little worried. Carter failed to show at a DJ Dan-promoted gig at the Martini Lounge a few years ago. But on Thursday night, Carter made it out to help open a new weekly, Fidelity, at the relatively new Ivar in Hollywood, a venue whose owners are clearly trying to make that long-needed connection between L.A.'s massive underground dance scene and its often musically deaf, industry-crazed nightlife. The pretty people in effect at Ivar, as one observer noted, were more "Hollywood" than E-culture. Carter threw down behind a booth that was guarded by a velvet rope (apparently to prevent gawkers and spotters from blocking foot traffic). It was a stiff, well-behaved vibe, but Carter got the fists pumping and the elbows bumping with a redux of the Star Wars track "Cantina Band." Carter brought out the kind of bass-line punk and dirty funk that made his album Squaredancing in a Roundhouse (released last year on his own Classic label) a critical surprise. His relentless, razzle-dazzle programming — quickly mixing record after record — charged the air, and he actually left unattended two records in the mix for what seemed like a long moment as he dug for yet another track. Bravo. (Dennis Romero)