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
9009 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Region: West Hollywood
9081 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Region: West Hollywood
316 W. Second St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
611 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Category: Movie Theaters
Region: Melrose/ Beverly/ Fairfax
THE BANGLES, THE DOLLYROTS AT THE ROXY
Presented by Daisy Rock Girl Guitars, tonight's benefit for Covenant House California and Nikki Sixx's Running Wild in the Night is titled "Pretty in Punk," which may seem pretty ironic since the bill is headlined by the defiantly poppy Bangles. However, the longtime L.A. quartet used to play on bills with bands like the Descendents and Redd Kross, and singer-guitarist Vicki Peterson's early gem "Want You" has a genuine punk drive and desperation underneath those sumptuously exhilarating harmonies. Some critics might dismiss the Bangles as an '80s oldies band, but their 2003 CD, Doll Revolution, proved that they can still write vital, memorable songs. Former CSI: NY guest stars the Dollyrots have a harder, more overtly punk rock sound that's influenced by the Muffs and has drawn supporters like Joan Jett, who signed them to her Blackheart Records label. The SoCal trio has always had a lot of fizzy, fuzzy energy, but it has only been on recent albums like Because I'm Awesome and 2010's A Little Messed Up that singer Kelly Ogden's songwriting has approached the level of her influences. (Falling James)
TIFT MERRITT AT THE TROUBADOUR
When Tift Merritt first came to national attention with the release of her debut album, Bramble Rose, in 2002, she was marketed as a country singer, but she also revealed flashes of soulful R&B and even a little bit of rock & roll. Although the North Carolina singer-pianist-guitarist traffics in a generally mainstream and safely retro sound, her original songs sometimes are imbued with flashes of literary ambition and a restless wanderlust. Merritt likes to place herself in unfamiliar locales to find inspiration, such as moving to Paris to write the material on her 2008 CD, Another Country. Her fourth studio CD, See You on the Moon (Fantasy Records), is a more downbeat affair than her previous, wider-ranging releases, but there are still some lovely moments scattered among the more sentimental and pedestrian tunes. This duality is reflected in her choice of cover songs. On the one hand, Merritt's savvy enough to reinvent Merry-Go-Round mastermind Emitt Rhodes' obscure "Live Till You Die"; on the other hand, she gets pretty banal on a mawkish remake of Kenny Loggins' mediocre "Danny's Song." Let's hope that in the future she steers away from the middle of the road and comes closer to embodying the spirit of one of her new lyrics: "I've been waiting outside/most of my life/oh like a rare b-side."
WILD FLAG AT SPACELAND
They're already calling it a supergroup: Wild Flag is Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, both formerly of Sleater Kinney, plus Mary Timony from Helium and Rebecca Cole from the Minders, and this is their first tour, and are you wondering what they sound like? Well, so is everyone else. Wild Flag has decided not to provide any music online — any music anywhere, for that matter, be it streaming MySpace tracks, iTunes, even YouTube footage. "We get a lot of inquiries as to when people can hear Wild Flag," they say online. "We've answered this question before, but here it is again: You can hear us on tour first." It's a daring approach, but these women have made their names, careers and legions of fans by defying convention. Of course, it's set the Internet to begging: "Please consider posting audio and/or video of the shows!!!" said one Facebook fan. "I'm so excited for a potential East Coast tour in the spring, and *need* something to tide me over (:>Look at all the buzz you're causing! [We] haven't even heard a note of your music, and we already love the band." So: no instant gratification or internet experts. Instead, it's everyone's first time when Wild Flag plays Spaceland.
Also playing Friday: TUNNG at the Bootleg Theater; WHITMAN and EZRA BUCHLA at Origami Vinyl; COSMONAUTS, BLACK ELEPHANT, DAHGA BLOOM and DEVON WILLIAMS at the Smell; KELIS at Club Nokia; AVI BUFFALO and LORD HURON at the Echoplex; RICHARD THOMPSON, HARRY SHEARER and JUDITH OWEN at UCLA.
THE CRAZY SQUEEZE AT THE REDWOOD BAR & GRILL
Stitches guitarist Johnny Witmer hails from Ohio, where he was schooled by such legendary bands as the Pagans, the Dead Boys and Rocket From the Tombs. Unlike so many punk refugees from colder climates who've ended up basking in the California sun, he actually has a similarly encyclopedic knowledge about the L.A. scene and a refreshing curiosity about SoCal punk history instead of the usual condescension about how we're all plastic poseurs who hang out at Disneyland. His latest project, the Crazy Squeeze, combines all of his wide-ranging influences into one brand-new geography. Singer Frankie Delmane howls tunes like "C'mon and Dance" and "All Lies" with plenty of insolent swagger, while bassist Chris B churns up a boozy punk racket behind him. Drummer Johnny Sleeper also taps out insistent piano lines that add an air of glammy decadence, and Witmer ties everything together with those Johnny Thunders–style sweet-&-sour string bends. They really are crazy, man. (Falling James)
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