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The Germs at El Rey Theatre
Joan Jett must have known something when she presided over the recording of the Germs’ G.I. album. Prior to its release, the Germs were largely considered a shambolic, drunken punk-rock performance-art spectacle. They were still a glorious mess after the LP seeped out of Darby Crash’s wounds and into everyone else’s, but fans could finally hear the method underneath all that battering madness, the hints of pop tunefulness in Pat Smear’s darting array of chords and the scraps of evocative, ambitious poetry that had previously been obscured by Crash’s self-immolating, word-swallowing, microphone-be-damned style of singing. Despite and because of Darby’s attempts to literally crawl into (not under) the stage, it was clear that he was a divine besotted fool/canny wordsmith/natural-born leader/clown prince of the highest order, making his suicide in December 1980 all the more frustrating and pointless, even when considered from the safe, faraway cushion of today. While seeing the Germs without Darby Crash (he’s replaced here by actor Shane West, who also portrayed him in the unintentionally riotous Germs biopic What We Do Is Secret) is like a day without sunshine and/or seeing the Doors without Jim Morrison, there is nonetheless a certain guilty, undeserved second-chance pleasure in hearing founding bassist Lorna Doom and drummer Don Bolles churn out Smear’s unusual, still-potent, maniacally devious progressions one more time — reality and impulsive mortality be damned. (Falling James)
Also playing Thursday:
THE ZEROS at the Troubadour (see Music feature); SON VOLT, COWBOY JUNKIES at the Wiltern; THE VERY BEST, RAINBOW ARABIA, BERSA DISCOS at the Echoplex; AMERICAN IDOLS LIVE at the Staples Center; KURT ELLING at Catalina Bar & Grill; THE MONOLATORS, FRENCH MIAMI, THE FLYING TOURBILLON ORCHESTRA, KISSING COUSINS at the Echo; DIRTY SWEET, HEAVY YOUNG HEATHENS at Spaceland; GILLIAN WELCH at Largo at the Coronet; CEU, ANDREA FERRAZ, PATRIZIA LIQUIDARA at the Roxy; JET, RED CORTEZ, PAPER TONGUES at the Key Club.