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
|Photo by Wild Don Lewis|
MATES OF STATE, AQUEDUCT, SMOOSH
at the Knitting Factory, February 19
If Hello Kitty lived in L.A., she definitely would have made this sold-out scene. (Think I saw the Little Twin Stars getting carded at the bar, though . . . ) It was the cutest concert in town: children in the audience; children onstage; girls, gimmicks and harmonies; hardly any guitars. (Jack Black says keyboards don’t rock, but oh how they do roll!)
Although Mates of State headlined, openers Smoosh pre-emptively stole the show. Two sisters from Seattle, ages 10 and 12, Smoosh play lovely, lyrical indiepop using a keyboard and drums. Yes, their youth is compelling, as is their androgynous resemblance to early Hanson, but these are real musicians with an important message of freedom, honesty and radness for all — their one rap song, radly titled “Rad,” features the winning chorus, “Uh huh uh huh yo! I’m rad!” (Note to the dudes screaming at them between songs: You are creepy.) Indie vet Eric Erlandson was overheard commenting, “There’s hope for the future.”
Heartbroken clowns Aqueduct represent the ultimate supergeek smackdown, led by a chubby guy in a plaid shirt on keyboards, no less. With nostalgia-tripping songs about girls and listening to Guns N’ Roses on the radio — and a cover of the Geto Boys’ “Damn It Feels Good To Be a Gangsta” — you wanted them to morph suddenly into 1990-era Ween. They didn’t, but their finale, an earnest cover of “Don’t Stop Believing,” felt all right.
Mates of State, a husband-wife drums-keys duo from S.F., got the most impassioned crowd response, which made this fan feel like a jerk for checking the clock after an hour of joyous piano pop. Confession: I’d come to hear my personal Song of the Year, an anthem to heroic love called “Drop and Anchor” — which theydidn’tplay.S’okay; I got Smooshed, and that’s what counts.