View more photos in Lina Lecaro's slideshow, "Nightranger: Rock Orgy."
If there's one thing La Nightrangerita has learned from many years of after-dark delving, it's that "drinking holidays" such as Cinco de Douche-o are best spent in one place — namely, a Mexican restaurant, with one group. The last place you want to be is caught amid the chaos of clubster-clusters, parking price-gougers and sobriety checkpoints in Hollywood. For the last few years, however, that's exactly where we've somehow wound up.
The hottest ticket of the week was definitely Bardot on Wednesday, where Duff's Addiction, Jane's N' Roses, or just "Jane's" — as was emblazoned on the band's kick drum (guess "Addiction" ain't that cute or clever anymore for the sober members, though it must be noted, Perry Farrell sure enjoys the vino) — debuted the new lineup. Call 'em whatever, J.A. retains an undeniable charisma that blinds in a supersmall venue. Stephen Perkins slams silly strong, Dave Navarro's licks (and abs) still impress, Perry's still one of the most bodacious showmen in rock, and anthems like "Ocean Size" are still abysses of badassness.
The addition of Duff McKagan brought a punkier grit to the classics. Never saw their intimate gigs at the decidedly divier La Cita or El Cid, but we can boast catching Jane's back when they first played Scream downtown in the late '80s. They were thunderous, sloppy and amazingly catchy all at the same time. These days, they're seasoned and assured, but after last Wednesday, the raw potency of their early days was conjured enough to intrugue one about where the group might go sonically in 2010. Bigger rooms, that's for sure.
TRY AGAIN TOMORROW
The Bardot show was a fiesta of party favors and famous faces. Tom Morello and latter-Gunners Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum smashed up front on sofas in front of the band, while we stood to the right along with the guys from She Wants Revenge (going out on tour with Psychedelic Furs next month!), singer Esthero, DJ Paul V. and Joaquin Phoenix(looking neither homeless, hipster nor particularly hip-hop), just days before the buzz about his mock(?) doc hit the 'net.
Navarro is busier than ever. He just opened a new bar in Vegas with Gene Simmons called The Black Door. Before jamming to Jane's, we popped by the space next door, where the H.Wood Group have resuscitated the old Las Palmas restaurant under its original name. Partner Loyal Pennings has returned the place (last known as LAX, DJ AM's foray into club proprietorship) to its former Mexi splendor, with Spanish tiles, brass details and an authentic beans-and-rice side menu (which of course, the model types won't eat). Unfortunately, it was Mayo madness out front so we didn't get in this time. Mas on Las (which opens officially this week) soon.
SWIGS IN ZEN
There was no better place to be post–Juana's Adicción than L.A.-nightlife fixture Big Daddy Carlos' reliably raucous restaurant. Velvet Margarita — which is part of the Binions Casinoremodel in downtown Vegas due to open at the beginning of next year — was born on Cahuenga on May 5 six years ago, and the occasion was marked by its annual poker tournament for charity (Friends of El Faro Orphanage in Mexico).
Free food, booze and cigars added to the revelry, but it was the DJ talent that made VM sweet as usual: L.A. club faves Scotty Boy, Cut Chemist, Richie Rich and Big Daddy in the main room, and C-Minus, Travis Keller (Buddyhead) and Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age, Sweethead) outside. Seen sucking on limes, stogies and each other into early May 6: Verne Troyer, Tequila Mockingbird, Howie Pyro, Sean De Lear, Francis Bean Cobain, and The Bravery's Sam Endicott, who seems to have some surprising new bedfellows. Endicott's date was The Real World Las Vegas sexpot Trishelle Cannatella (they refused to pose for a photo), and the singer told us his recent music collabs include Shakira (he co-wrote "She Wolf") and Christina Aguilera (he has a track on Bionic).
There couldn't be a more inappropriate event to close this week's tequila-soaked column than the Musicares MAP Fund Benefit for Women in Recovery. The annual event was eye-opening not only for the jam-packed entertainment but also for surprising stats (new studies show that only 8 percent of women with substance-abuse problems get help). Cherie Currie, who ended the all-star spectacle at Club Nokiawith a commanding "Cherry Bomb," proclaimed that she lived the statistic before MAP (Musicians' Assistance Program) helped turn things around.
Before her climactic turn, there was stellar jam after stellar jam to enjoy at the liquor-free event: Exene doing acoustic numbers; Linda Perry doing Led Zep; Beth Hart with Slash (undisputed king of the all-star jams); Slash with Ace Frehley, Corey Parks, Alison Robertson, Matt Sorum, who, Parks joked, were calling the collective, "Cirrhosis and the Morning Shakes," later joined by Lemmy, and then Chad Smith and finally Wayne Kramer; Annabella Lwin with The Go-Go's Charlotte Caffey and Kathy Valentine and Hole's Patty Schemel, joined by Billy Corgan, and Blondie's Frank Infante and Clem Burke on "I Want Candy" and a mash-up of "Boots" and "We Got the Beat." We've seen some massive megajams (Navarro's Camp Freddy free-for-alls, Morello's Nightwatchman riff rumbles, and every awards and benefit show these days), but this one might have taken the birthday cake, sober or no.