Rock Picks: Circle Jerks, Money Mark, No Age 

For the week of Jan. 3 - 10

Wednesday, Jan 2 2008


click to flip through (6) Dirty white boys: Captain Ahab (Photo by Renata Raksha)
  • Dirty white boys: Captain Ahab (Photo by Renata Raksha)

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Dirty white boys: Captain Ahab (Photo by Renata Raksha) (Click to enlarge)

The Circle Jerks: Still sweatin’ out the oldies (Photo by David Miyamoto) (Click to enlarge)

Rock-a-bye your B.B. with a bluesy melody... (Click to enlarge)

Babyland, Captain Ahab, The Mae Shi at the Smell

The Smell’s Ten Year Anniversary Series barrels into 2008 like a truckload of dead rats in a tampon factory with the stomach-bashing pulsebeat of Los Angeles’ electro elite. Babyland, edging into their second decade of danceable punk junk funk, roll out their oil drums and computers to create the kind of musical voice that power lines would have if they could be shocked themselves. On the other hook, Captain Ahab created tracks for the soundtrack to the impressively violent Wrong Turn 2, starring Henry Rollins, delivering their filthy disco with a beat that urges even Templar bankers to shake their moneymakers. Longtime Smell stalwarts the Mae Shi play tonight before going on tour with the Germs and Adolescents, unveiling tracks from their upcoming HLLLYH LP, early samples of which promise a triumphal, advanced level of hi-hatted body-moving. Also: Electrocute, Dommm, Lucky Dragons. (David Cotner)

FRIDAY, Jan. 4

Circle Jerks at the Henry Fonda Theater

When you’ve got the sickness and solid punk rock is the only remedy, the Circle Jerks are always there for you. But never mind you and your ’80s hardcore panic attacks — let’s talk about history! Close your eyes and think about Keith Morris and his thick nest of dreads; crank a few bars from Group Sex; or watch a clip of the seminal punk documentary The Decline of Western Civilization... does it not bring back all the sights and smells of the L.A. punk universe where the Circle Jerks germinated, broke up and hooked up again? Well, you can re-experience all the blood, sweat and mosh-pit glory tonight at the Fonda — just remember, you’re not as young as you used to be. (Kate Carraway)

B.B. King at the Wiltern

When it comes to the matter of that little old guitar picker B.B. King, the blues never had it so good. King not only elevated the form and drastically expanded the audience; he also never made a fool of himself in pursuit of the greenback dollar — unlike so many of his peers. (Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf cut egregious “psychedelic” albums at the Chess Brothers’ eager behest, and Buddy Guy had that prolonged ofay-courting ’80s-era period of nails-on-the-blackboard Jeff Beck–style riff slinging.) From his 1949 start, King proposed a model that delivered both rumbling, agonized funk and a sleek, high-toned modern sound (the fruit of all those after-hours Beale Street shindigs), and from that solidly seductive foundation, he ascended to perhaps the greatest height any bluesman achieved. The fact that he’s still at it is a gift; acknowledge him as the ninth wonder of the world and act accordingly. (Jonny Whiteside)


Jerry Butler at Cerritos Center for Performing Arts

Sure, they call Jerry Butler “the Iceman,” but the chills he evokes are anything but frigid. The veteran soul chieftain, whose collaboration with the late, great Curtis Mayfield produced some of the most emotionally loaded, delicately delivered and irrefutable masterpieces that idiom ever enjoyed, is now one of a depressingly fast-dwindling handful of soul-music architects. Carrying not only those Mayfield-penned classics — like the monster “He Will Break Your Heart (He Don’t Love You, Like I Love You)” — but also a slew of superb, post-Impressions Gamble-Huff classics, Butler always works a set list of brilliant material, invariably making it his own with that trademark mixture of smoldering vocals and serene, outward stoicism. Verily, the Iceman cometh — and his subtle, irresistible romanticism and soul-deep expression are flat out unbeatable. (Jonny Whiteside)

Angels and Airwaves at the Henry Fonda Theater

For guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge, abandoning the multiplatinum, permanent pop-punk prom that was Blink-182 for his own brainchild, Angels and Airwaves, is like attempting promotion from the Monkees to U2. You see, DeLonge (alongside three lesser punk-lite luminaries) is now seeking something more thoughtful, grown-up and significant. Thankfully, he has retained his instinctive street-level songcraft (though it sometimes seems to be the same song), meaning that A&A end up sounding more like a maturing Blink than probably intended. But DeLonge isn’t kidding: Angels and Airwaves released their second album in the space of 18 months, I-Empire, in November, continuing the grandiose-yet-peppy theme of their ’06 debut, We Don’t Need to Whisper. It’s more Forum-ready refrains; emo-approved, eyes-on-the-horizon optimism; twinkly guitars/keys; and wafts of ’80s MTV. While hardly of Dave Grohl proportions, DeLonge’s effort to reinvent himself is both admirable and (more crucially) singable — if not remotely as fucking important as he thinks it is. (Paul Rogers)

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