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
An odd neo-goth-metal crossover ensemble, openers Jesus for Vegas were part hard rock, part glam rock, with a little Evanescence thrown in. While the band didn’t lack charisma, they did seem more suited for the Sunset Strip than Echo Park.
Next up were current buzz band the Fever. There are plenty of new bands returning to that old hard-hitting rock sound, but while most of them focus on the energy, they lack the Fever’s solid songwriting prowess. With ingenious chord progressions, triumvirate singing and copious amounts of dynamism (singer Geremy Jasper bobbed around onstage like a nouveau Iggy Pop), this group of ex–high school chums treated the moderately sized Echo like a rock arena. If more people in L.A. weren’t so afraid to dance at a rock show, the place would have been one big, sweaty pit. Whether cranking out high-voltage originals or a new take on Sheila E.’s ’80s jam “Glamorous Life,” the Fever were clearly the stars of the night. And yes, that was Quentin Tarantino checking them out . . .
Last to take the stage were the Vue. It’s obvious this quintet are from San Francisco — not many male lead singers can pull off wearing a peasant shirt these days. Rex Shelverton did just that, sort of, and the band entertained the crowd with their ’60s-ish, Stones-tinged rock. While they were certainly tight, something about the band’s appearance served as a time warp; it felt odd that the room wasn’t filled with the smell of pot and/or fluorescent psychedelic posters. Nonetheless, the Vue were a lively and pleasurable bunch. (Tatiana Simonian)
PORTASTATIC, THE MINDERS at Spaceland, December 13
If indie rock is dead — like the novel, and irony — why did this show feel so lively? Mac McCaughan’s first West Coast appearance under his solo pseudonym Portastatic drew a been-waiting-for-this-for-years crowd that behaved suspiciously as though it actually cared about his music. He’s sometimes used the name to explore byways the louder-faster-harder Superchunk can’t barrel down: a collaborative EP with Ken Vandermark, another of Tropicalia translations. But full-lengths like last year’s Summer of the Shark are modest yet inventive vehicles for his economical songcraft.
Tonight, McCaughan gussied up two songs with prerecorded backing tracks: a rumbling, low-tech loop for “Paratrooper” (“I just dropped in”) and his own drumming on “Noisy Night.” The show of effort was hardly needed, as a solo acoustic “Hey Salty,” with its lilting major sevenths and nautical puns (“We may be washed up, but we beat this boat to hell”) proved. On the decade-old “Naked Pilsners” and the brand-new “Autumn Got Dark,” McCaughan rocked out as much as the setting allowed, vibrating in place like a bobble-head doll while leaping to the upper-octave bray he uses to bore through Superchunk’s barrage. Punk’s not dead either, just older, and traveling lighter.
If Elephant 6 holdovers the Minders are underrated, it’s their own fault: The recent The Future’s Always Perfect barely hints at their live energy. Many of their songs could have issued from Robert Pollard’s pen — and mouth, though Portland-based but Portsmouth-born front man Martyn Leaper comes by his accent honestly. Drummer Joel Burrows drove the band straight past the candy store into the garage, while psychedelic codas tagged onto every third song or so kept them there. And Rebecca Cole, ably handling the bassless trio’s low end, Ray Manzarek style, was the most impressive keyboardist I’ve seen in a rock band this year — indie or otherwise. (Franklin Bruno)