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
Image makers and ledger fakers proclaim that this Coliseum event is “the package of the summer,” a postmodern headbanger’s tribal wet dream. Multiplatinum, high-cred, hip, on the tip, must see, must be, can’t miss, don’t diss, if you hear a hiss, it’s probably for Fred Durst. (Popularity can breed contempt and tarnish the art, especially if you can’t “just say no” to Britney Spears.) But high-buzz marketing be damned. This is a Metallica concert, stadium-sized, awesome in spectacle. The openers do their duty, bark their anger, wield their weapons of metal destruction, impart their pain and collect their pay. But it’s not their show and they know it. Respect in da house: With the table competently set for another last, psychotic supper, the resurrection commences and 70,000 bruised but not beaten faithful unite to bask in the messianic waters of the mighty Metallica. “We’re here for the fans who stuck by us through our tough times,” says King James, royal in stature, but forever a man of the people. He dedicates the classic “Harvester of Sorrow” to the masses below.
Behold the loyal ones who have long forgotten Napster and forgiven the departure of bassist Jason Newsted and even James Hetfield’s own domestic falls from grace. Witness each and every fan in this perfect, primordial rock & roll moment, watch them elevate as the riffs lovingly attack the senses. Gratitude fills the stadium as the show fades to black, manifesting a collective, deafening wail aimed at the heart of the full-moon sky. Metallica is alive. We are alive. Nothing else matters. (Lonn Friend)
at El Rey, August 8
It’s not uncommon for pop combos to play the hometown card to curry favor with an audience, but Paloalto — a quartet of studiously disheveled mods — should know this strategy won’t fly in Los Angeles, where a local band is just another crab trying to claw its way out of the bucket. Still, singer James Grundler soldiered on with his group’s rigidly Anglophile rock, a kind of Verve/Radiohead redux as heard on the self-titled 2000 debut and this summer’s follow-up, Heroes and Villains. The energy rose a notch when they unleashed “Monolith” and “Breathe In,” where the guitars took on a squalling lysergic burnish that was almost — well, let’s just say Paloalto oughta let it all hang out more often.
Can’t imagine how Oxford lads Supergrass squeezed into Spaceland a mere six months ago, since they seemed almost too big for a midsized venue like El Rey, where even before they took the stage some 40 friggin’ minutes later, the crowd swelled to three times its previous size and the cuts from Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machinepumping over the PA got folks jazzed. But instead of smart-arsed cockney ’tude, the dastardly Oliver Reed–ish Gaz Coombes and his bandmates hunkered down to efficiently capture all the highs of their tarted-up hooligan Britpop — replete with frenetically winking kliegs — that aimed at nothing less than transcendent pleasure.
For a band nearing a decade into their career, what a smashing surprise it is that their latest release, Life on Other Planets, turns out to be their best, an encouraging fact given that so many of Supergrass’ like-minded mates — Manic Street Preachers, Cast, Kula Shaker, etc. — haven’t stuck with it. So snugly ensconced in their hip pocket was this throng of votaries, however, that the ’Grassers coulda skipped the ludicrously catchy “Pumpin’ on Your Stereo” (from 2000’s uneven Supergrass) without any repercussions. “So you want some more, do you?” Coombes teased before the encore. After the giddy zinger “Rush Hour Soul,” the band — suddenly remembering they’d have to be in the exact spot in less than 24 hours — decided to save some juice for Saturday, and vamoosed. (Andrew Lentz)
at Sea Level Records, August 10
When a band’s standout song involves both a titular Smiths pun (“There Is a Boy That Never Goes Out”) and a wink at their own stylistic habits (“‘ba-ba-ba-da-ba-ba,’ go the backing vocals”), you know you’ve entered the rarified, often self-referential universe of indie-pop. (Not, that is, of “rock.”) As with all the artists who transcend the style (the Wedding Present, Belle & Sebastian, fellow Aussies the Cannanes), the Luckmiths’ music succeeds in spite of its surface charm and sweetness, distinguished by an unerring ear for form and proportion, and by chief writer/singer/drummer Tali White’s rich, thoughtfully phrased delivery.
The fact that the band couldn’t score a club show here, after 10 years of record making and three previous U.S. trips, doesn’t say much for local booking policy. (Note to club owners: There actually is a healthy-sized twee constituency in L.A., and most of them only dress like they can’t buy your liquor.) Sea Level may not have the best sightlines or PA in town, but in spirit the brightly painted Echo Park shoebox made an ideal last-minute host for the trio’s jump-rope rhythms and modestly scaled melancholy.