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
No, music is not a vengeful god, and the show’s vibe was one of tender mercy, even during the band’s more punishing numbers. The most poignant moment came when Jack Irons took over on drums for an extended version of “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Seeing his health-plagued friend having such a good time, Vedder was taken with emotion (and also, perhaps, wine and cigarettes), and he started crying. His back was turned to the audience, so the tears weren’t for theater. Like everything Pearl Jam’s doing these days, it seems, they were for love.
If anything, Pearl Jam has evolved into a perfectly uncool, unabashed band, anti-punk while still maintaining punk’s drive and integrity. Moreover, Tuesday’s concert was an example of what happens when a band like Pearl Jam follows its bliss; a reminder of rock & roll’s still-vast potential to raise the passions — anger, sadness, joy, sex and, mostly, as is Vedder’s preoccupation these days, love. If Kurt Cobain were alive and in attendance, chances are he’d have been dancing.
FUNKSTÖRUNG, DERU at Fais Do-Do, June 6
The crackles, snaps and hisses you associate with laptop jocks Funkstörung were conspicuously absent in their first U.S. performance in four years. At Fais Do-Do, the Munich-based duo of Michael Fakesch and Chris De Luca worked the midpoint between cerebral and crunk, kicking bootylicious algorhythms that got folks twisting themselves into all kinds of unnatural positions. Helping set the tone was Los Angeles’ very own Deru, a former scratch DJ who ditched the Swiss-watch delicateness of his Pushing Air disc to deliver a straight hip-hop set.
Funkstörung’s nerdy precision has always been a paradox. Take any old loop and they’ll atomize it into staggeringly nuanced aural mist. “Glitch” may be the duo’s trademark, but that implies machines gone kaput, and Funkstörung’s silicon lace —— intricate as the facets of a snowflake —— are the result of serious gear pimping. With melodic loveliness wrapping itself around the slack flow of sampled MCs chopped, cropped and re-routed, tonight the mix got deep, especially during “Keep This in Mind,” where the pair simply couldn’t resist the visceral slab of broken-beat bliss.
Even close to 2 a.m., the crowd not only showed no signs of thinning, but the energy visibly jumped a notch when the pair rocked classics like Appetite for Disctruction’s “Sounds Like a Break Record,” its cartoony sproing! coming on like comfort food, and the now-immortalized chirp of Ike Yard on “NCR” and Speedy J’s bad-tripping “Something for Your Mind” (the last two from Vice Versa), which capped the set on a chilling note. No words or encores from the aloof pair, just two hours of digital deconstruction and, like a power surge, they were gone. (Andrew Lentz)
Koffi Olomidé dreams of becoming an international pop star, of winning over American ears and duetting with J. Lo, Whitney or Janet J. While he may sell out African stadiums and major Parisian concert halls, Hollywood will prove a tougher nut to crack. Playing to a healthy but undercapacity crowd at the Palladium, the Congolese heartthrob and his Quartier Latin group put on a classic Kinshasa-style revue, shifting between revved-up sebenes and slowed-down sentimental rumbas. Entertaining at times and overly repetitive at others, Koffi and company showed little to indicate his tcha tcho music has crossover mojo.
While overwrought keyboards, programming and talk-sung banter plague Koffi’s recent albums, his live act was a throwback to 1970s-era Congo/Zaire “new generation” bands like Zaiko Langa Langa. Propelling the groove were four guitars, equal parts chunk, twinkle and zoom, and the drums’ boom-badda-boom-badda-boom-bom-bom shuffle, with not a synth or sax in sight. The sextet of male singers flashed fun-loving dancehall moves, belted out full-throated choruses and took sweet tenor solo turns. Four lithe young “blondes” dispersed additional pheromones with their inimitable Congolese hip grind.
Always the fashion plate, Koffi came onstage just after midnight dressed simply in a see-through black-mesh body shirt, sparkle-adorned black slacks, French movie-star sunglasses and rakish-goofy bowler. The many-nicknamed baritone has opined that “women are God’s best work so far,” thus most of the French-sprinkled Lingala tunes dealt with what he described at one point as “love with a big L.” Koffi’s songwriting chops came through during those down-tempo moments when gorgeous harmony clusters and universal-soul melodies soared. But most dancing fans didn’t want to cozy up cheek to cheek, they preferred to shake major tailfeather all the way to the 2 a.m. curfew, more evidence that we live in beat-heavy times. (Tom Cheyney)
BUZZCOCKS at El Rey, June 6
No time for small talk as Buzzcocks barreled nonstop through more than 20 lovelorn tunes in an hour. Singer-guitarists Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle must have had a Saul-type epiphany on the road to ruin a few years ago, because they whip through their sets now in an even more exhilarating Ramones blur. Twined openers “Boredom” and “Fast Cars” flickered with scratchy, faraway riffs that warned of approaching trains, then suddenly slammed into the crossing like tornadoes. After Diggle dedicated “Autonomy” to Joe Strummer, it was back to the montage of fiercely delivered, melodic classics —— “Oh Shit!,” “Harmony in My Head,” “Love You More,” “Noise Annoys,” “Breakdown” and an especially pulverizing, ballroom-tilting “Something’s Gone Wrong Again” —— any one or two of which would justify another punk band’s career. And that’s not counting the literal dozens of other equally wonderful songs, new and old, these should-be-smug-but-instead-seem-grateful bastards could’ve trotted out.