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
A man rotates in a chair through hugely blinding bursts of flame to gasps of amusement and amazement. Spelletich exults: "The coolest thing I think I can do is empower people." A walking machine fitfully mimics a subject attached to a kludge of ripcords and coffee bean-sensing technology. Malfunctions occur: "So close — it's like a dry fuck!" A lovely lady girds a strap-on flamethrower, resulting in a burning sensation. A hydraulic flying carpet nearly throws a tenacious volunteer, but he stands steadfast, and a "fire shower" holds a subject in a rapidly rotating cage of flame spit outward in centrifugal-forced fury. The "Hugging Machine," a padded hydraulic press (like those of modern slaughterhouses that comfort cattle before they ascend the Stairway to Heaven) propagates mothering endorphins as it clasps tightly. Finally, the "Ring of Fire" (propane tanks propelling rhythmic fireballs) surrounds a man until the gas dies, and that's that. (David Cotner)
BOZ & THE BOZMEN, THE LUXUS at Fais Do-Do, April 11
Western shirts and red lips were in bloom Friday as the rockabilly flock greeted its indie hero — and Morrissey guitarist — Boz Boorer. This was a night to check out the crowd and savor a real "I love L.A.!" moment. I mean, where else would you find pomp'd and primped rockabilly kids, mostly Latino, grokking a psychobilly cover of "John, I'm Only Dancing" as performed by a Londoner who's the world's biggest collector of Marc Bolan paraphernalia? The crowd was half the fun, really, because they're up for anything: Last year Boz did mostly acoustic T. Rex and Adam Ant covers; this year it was cranked-up psycho-punk renditions of obscure '50s tunes like Benny Cliff's "Shake 'Em Up Rock" and Eddie Bond's "Slip, Slip," as well as Boz's superior originals such as "2 By 2," "Rockabilly Guy" and "I Can't Stop" (and a great cover of the Polecats' "Make a Circuit With Me"). Boz's diction sucks, but clearly the lyrical theme of the night was "rock rock rock!" With Moz drummer Dean Butterworth sitting in, the band turned rock & roll into rock & rock — if you wanted in-the-pocket danceable stuff you should have gone to Big Sandy.
With Kid Rocker (Dean Micetich) sharing guitar duties and Boz's wife, Lyn, on powerful, slapdash double bass, the Bozmen paid tribute to the era of Elvis, Carl Perkins and Chuck Berry by celebrating their imitators. But maybe that was the problem: To this listener's ears, the songs eventually blurred into one another. Local openers the Luxus were a nice contrast of Brit-poppy romanticism: cinematic lyrics about girls made of plastic and gold; far-reaching, melodic choruses of spiritual longing ("Come out and feel!") and guitar riffs so familiar you'd swear they were rip-offs (except they're not). Technical and vocal problems made for an awkward start, but by set's end it seemed the band — who've been together a month — had earned their stage legs, and shown it's possible to be cool without pretense. (Kate Sullivan)
FÁTIMA, BYE SAMI, ENJAMBRE, VIVA MALPACHE, LAS 15 LETRAS at Fais Do-Do, April 12
The Lenten season was winding down, so the Latin alternative acts playing at Fais Do-Do Saturday evening rewarded the to-capacity crowd for their penance with a maniacal musical Mardi Gras. Opening was Fátima, whose aural approach unfortunately wasn't as miraculous as their namesake virginal apparition. The rhythm, lead and bass players tortured their guitars in unison to produce lame la-la punk while a conga player added inappropriate thunks. This drivel descended to its logical conclusion for the closer — an irony-free Bukis cover. Blecch.Similar in synapse-free sound was Tijuana-based Bye Sami, who at least had the prudence to switch tempos for each song — hang-ten blasts followed by crush/kill/destroy harangues and lilting love laments.
Beautifully weirding up the night were Anaheimers Enjambre, who transmitted ditties that are probably military marches for some faraway alien race. An eerie theremin sighed throughout the quartet's too-short playing time, bubbling under the elfin hums and metal melodies of brothers Luis and Rafael Navejas. Don't leave our planet anytime soon, chavos. Viva Malpache didn't impress last Saturday at the Westchester Sports Grill, but what a difference a week makes. Yes, lead "singer" Giovanny Blanco continues to irritate with a bleat that could dissolve kidney stones. But who cares what caws lead a combo when Malpache unleashed baseball-bat bangs of joy and pseudo-rancheras that turned the slam pit into a quinceañera dance floor?
It was 1 a.m. when Las 15 Letras graced the remaining faithful with an all-request show. Giddy guys and gals hollered out the group's repertoire of super skas, wicked punk-cumbia hybrids and tumbling ballads; the veteranoscomplied. Desire fulfilled, fans joined the moshers, who swirled and swirled as the early morning grew old. (Gustavo Arellano)
It's easy to describe the crowd that gathered at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to see Sigur Rós and their instrumental doppelgänger Amina last Monday as a well-heeled group of socially conscious young hipsters, down for an event, not just another gig: Rage's fallen angel Zach de la Rocha sitting across from violin-toting goddess Lili Haydn. The KCRW crew. The intelligentsia. The unruling elite. But the music? How do you describe a group of artists performing a collection of untitled songs sung in a mixture of Icelandic and English gibberish from an album known only by the unpronounceable set of brackets on its cover? One is tempted to say that the show was ^%$#*&^ with songs like "_____," and although there were moments of lelofaierl, the overall effect was *^*^*^*^*, but that really isn't doing Sigur Rós justice, is it?