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
What’s this? Finnish black metal sporting U.S.-style hardcore shout-outs and the odd industrial flourish? Stylistic tics aside, Children of Bodom, with its filigreed guitars and symphonic polish, is every bit the product of bleakest, blackest Scandinavia. Released last April, Blooddrunk is an exhilarating combo of aggression and beauty that will likely top many a year’s-end readers poll. Alexi Laiho’s stage presence, divided between singing and shredding, is all the more riveting for this multitasking feat. And instead of pseudo-Norse mythology, the band’s name refers to the unsolved real-life murder of teens on a camping trip in the ’60s near Helsinki. Cool! Earlier this year, Raleigh, North Carolina, dudes Between the Buried and Me pulled off a nuanced prog-death epic with Colors, which could be the metal sleeper record of ’08. Not only does Michigan quintet the Black Dahlia Murder have the Gothenburg playbook down, they match it riff for finger-cramping riff with a newly blackened slant. (Andrew Lentz)
Also playing Friday:
THE BANGLES, BERLIN, THE MOTELS at the Fairplex, Pomona; THE BINGES at Ports O’ Call Village; KASEY CHAMBERS & SHANE NICHOLSON at Amoeba Music, 6 p.m.; WEST INDIAN GIRL at Blue Cafe; MAN MAN, CRYSTAL ANTLERS at the Echoplex; THE GIRLS, WILD WEEKEND at Knitting Factory; GO BETTY GO, SARA MELSON at Mr. T’s Bowl; SAMANTHA RONSON at the Roxy; LOS STRAITJACKETS, LUIS & THE WILD FIRES at Safari Sam’s; QUINTO SOL, DAVID RYAN HARRIS at Temple Bar; RAPHAEL SAADIQ at Hollywood & Highland, 8 p.m.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
THE GEARS, TERESA COVARRUBIAS & THE STRANGER KIDS at Self Help Graphics
Like, wow. The return of the Vex club — the crucial early-’80s E.L.A. punk rock zone — is a sweet kick to the head. While it’s presented at Self Help Graphics as a benefit for the beleaguered cultural center (rather than at the original Catholic Youth Organization hall where it all went down 28 years ago), the whole shebang is more about the Chicano punk spirit than a street address. Booked by Joe Vex himself, with the always-killer Gears and the dreamlike return of pop-punk thrillers the Brat’s Teresa Covarrubias, this bill seems almost too good to be true. The Brat were undeniably a punk band, but, with the beatific pipes of Covarrubias, they always sounded as if they were on verge on reaching some new, fertile and uncharted musical territory — one that transcended the era’s roiling, self-destructive clash between new wave, punk and hardcore. All that genre-label bullshit only accelerated punk’s demise, but, with this fascinatin’ development, the potentialities again beckon. Better still, Joe Vex is dead set on keeping it going, with shows that blend both new and old bands. As Gears drummer Dave Drive says, “Everybody’s gonna be there,” so don’t fuck up and miss this one. Starts at 5 p.m. 3802 César E. Chávez Ave., E.L.A. (Jonny Whiteside)
Also playing Saturday:
GLADYS KNIGHT, AL GREEN at Greek Theatre (see Music feature); BECK, SPOON, MGMT at Hollywood Bowl; OLIVER FUTURE, COMMON SENSE at Ports O’ Call; GHIDORAH at the Airliner; THROW RAG, MAD MARGE & THE STONECUTTERS at Alex’s Bar; LIZ PAPPADEMAS at Echo Curio; LIAM FINN, VEILS, KÁRIN TATOYAN at the Echoplex; NEVILLE BROTHERS at House of Blues; BARR, HAWNAY TROOF at the Smell; SACCHARINE TRUST, OLLIN, CARNAGE ASADA at American Legion Post 206, Highland Park.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
From top to bottom, this evening’s lineup is stacked with nimbly sophisticated musicians who all share the ability to play a dizzying variety of music styles. Michael Franti & Spearhead’s new Anti- Records CD, All Rebel Rockers, which was produced by the legendary duo Sly & Robbie and recorded in Jamaica, is — not surprisingly — heavily steeped in reggae and dub, but the earnest leftist activists are also deft with hip-hop, funk, rock and folk styles. Ozomatli, meanwhile, cook up a percolating gumbo spiced with borderless world-music influences; they seem determined to compose the kind of L.A.-centric anthems that truly define the neighborhoods and cultures overlooked in Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” The real star of the bill, however, might be the ever-charismatic Oaxacan-American chanteuse Lila Downs, whose wide-ranging new 16-song CD, Shake Away (Blue Note), ranges from traditional Mixtec folk to rock, jazz and unclassifiable exotica. She poignantly empathizes with immigrant workers on the dusty blues shuffle “Minimum Wage,” transforms Peter Green’s standard “Black Magic Woman” with a primal heartbeat, and sings two introspective versions (in Spanish and English) of Lucinda Williams’ “I Envy the Wind.” Fantastic and captivating. (Falling James)
Also playing Sunday:
MY MORNING JACKET at Greek Theatre; ESTELLE at Pauley Pavilion, UCLA; GOLDFRAPP at Orpheum Theatre; HOT CHIP at the Wiltern; LOS STRAITJACKETS, MONOLATORS at Ports O’ Call; THE GIRLS, JAIL WEDDINGS at Alex’s Bar; MALDITA VECINDAD at House of Blues; DEL THA FUNKEE HOMOSAPIEN at Key Club; SEKTACORE, UNION 13 at Knitting Factory; JANIS IAN at McCabe’s; THE HEALTH CLUB at Mr. T’s Bowl; CROOKED I at Redwood Bar & Grill.