Rock Picks: Electric Daisy Carnival, Explosion in the Sky, Rodriguez | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Rock Picks: Electric Daisy Carnival, Explosion in the Sky, Rodriguez 

Also, DAT Politics, Mika Miko, Etta James and others

Tuesday, Jun 23 2009


Apart from maybe the Groovy Rednecks or Hank III, there aren’t any country-rock performers around these days who live it up recklessly and raucously with the same boozy, profane attitude and hell-raisin’ abandon as the Hickoids. When they started in 1984, their hardcore thrashing of C&W made a rude dent in an Austin scene that was already populated by such weirdoes as Scratch Acid, Daniel Johnston and the Butthole Surfers. The Hickoids’ cowpunk sound might have been inspired by the early Gun Club, but their alcohol-fueled exploits and the defiantly goofy subject matter on their 1985 debut album, We’re in it for the Corn, put them more in a league with one of Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s other bands, Tex & the Horseheads. Of course, even the whacked-out Horseheads occasionally revealed unexpectedly serious and touchingly soulful emotions, something the Hickoids would never bother to do. A recurring theme involves singer Jeff Smith finding himself in an unfamiliar, embarrassing place after a drunken blackout, which occurs at least twice on the Hickoids’ recent reissued 1989 CD, Waltz-a-Cross-Dress-Texas (Saustex), produced by ubiquitous ’80s indie producer Spot. “I woke up on the floor in Hollywood, California/and [drummer] Wade Driver was laying there in a dress/and the cops were kicking his ass/And I said, ‘You know, down in Texas we know that ain’t no way to treat a lady,’” as Smith eloquently explains on the transvestite ode “Queen of the Bar-B-Q.” Smith and fellow original guitarist Davy Jones are joined by new members from Haunted Garage, the Tombstones and Bigfoot Chester on this tour, their first to the West Coast since the semi-infamous Fiasco Magnifico jaunt back in 1989. They’ve also got an upcoming album, Hairy Chafin’ Ape Suit, whose title may or may not refer to Harry Chapin. (Falling James)


click to flip through (5) Paul Oakenfold
  • Paul Oakenfold

The Neurotics kicked around Detroit in the late 1980s with a straight-ahead, tunefully driving punk & roll sound that drew heavily from the Ramones and the Heartbreakers. But the Motor City’s vaunted garage-rock revival was still a decade away, so the group eventually moved to Hollywood, where they stood out for a little while as one of the more authentically rocking bands in a scene then dominated by grunge and metal mercenaries. Drummer Roy Morgan (the Excessories, Nikki Corvette, Kevin K) and lanky singer-guitarist Johnny Neurotic, who resembles the Dils’ Tony Kinman and yowls with a coolly insolent sneer, recently started up the trio again with a new bassist, George Wright. Their compact power-punk songs are as catchy as ever, albeit once again out of step with prevailing trends. How good are the Neurotics? Well, they’re able to take one of the worst and sappiest Rolling Stones songs, “As Tears Go By,” give it some speed and fuzz, and transform it into a viably hooky punk anthem. Even better, though, are such originals as “Not Right Now” and “What Was It Like,” which aim for a power-pop melodicism but have so much swarming punk energy, they instead evoke lost Australian bands like the Psycho Surgeons. The Neurotics are billed tonight with simpatico Blondie-influenced New Yorkers the Choke. 227 N. Avenue 55, Highland Park. (Falling James)


“Superblooming beats, funkdafied freaks and full-size carnival rides” are promised at this annual electronic-music blowout, which might not go on till the break of dawn either of its two nights this weekend but should come as close as legally allowed. Props to the organizers for assembling a lineup that spans pretty much the entirety of the computer-groove spectrum (excepting, you know, stuff that only works through laptop headphones): Paul Oakenfold, Groove Armada and Paul Van Dyk will bring the big-tent boom; David Guetta and Shiny Toy Guns should provide a little song craft; Boys Noize, Simian Mobile Disco and Major Lazer (featuring M.I.A.’s right-hand men Diplo and Switch) will bring the hipsters to their skinny-jeansed knees. Shame about Fatboy Slim’s last-minute dropout, but hey — would you really have remembered his set anyway? Also Saturday. (Mikael Wood)


Also playing Friday:

ARETHA FRANKLIN at the Hollywood Bowl; CANIBUS at the Knitting Factory; CLUB NOUVEAU, TAYLOR DAYNE, TRINERE, SAFIRE, PRETTY POISON, JOHNNY O at the Nokia Theatre; MICHELLE SHOCKED at McCabe’s; BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY at Club Nokia; WARPED TOUR 2009 at Fairplex (Pomona); ANI DIFRANCO at the Orpheum Theatre; CECIL BASTIDA at the Bootleg Theater; THE B-52s at the Canyon; XAVIER RUDD, JEREMY FISHER at House of Blues; JON BRION at Largo at the Coronet; IT’S CASUAL, NICK OLIVERI, GUSTO, PROFESSOR, CHINGALERA at Relax Bar; ANAVAN, TPF, WET DREAMS, NEON NAVAJO, LACOSTE, I.E., NOT THE GOVERNMENT, BASTIDAS at the Smell.



You’d be hard-pressed to find a show of more epic proportions on this night or any other. Texas headliner Explosions in the Sky has earned its rep as one of the States’ fiercest distortion-wielding post-rock outfits (Austin serving Glasgow: 15–love) via a series of albums whose overarching timbre is “seething blanket of fiery-yet-awing doom.” The four-piece apparently prefers the phrase “cathartic minisymphonies,” and that too seems fair considering the wordless long-playing epics heard on albums like 2007’s glorious All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, carved as they are primarily from a drum kit and three electric guitars. Pair this with the two-man ambient punk machine that is L.A.’s own No Age, whose local shows have mostly been confined to character-laden clubs and atypical venues, and the newly renovated Palladium should be nicely roughened up when all’s said and done. Opener and EITS label-mate/remixer Eluvium hails from Portland and specializes in thick, impermeable atmosphere. (Chris Martins)

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