No Age & Tijuana Panthers at Twilight Concert Series
Last night Tijuana Panthers and No Age performed a free show at the Santa Monica Pier, as part of the Twilight Concert Series, presented by MySpace. We arrived just before sunset, and chilly air was blowing off the water; people were either bundling up with a blanket or crowd surfing. The concert area was between the amusement park and the carousel building, and their were sponsor booths, including KCRW, who was giving away some awesome pins and key chains.
There was giant sculpture of a pair of sunglasses, and next to the sculpture was the designated drinking area, where those of age could drink Shock Top beer, look down at the beach, and play beanbag toss.
DJ Chris Zeigler kept the crowd engaged before Tijuana Panther's high-energy surf/garage rock kicked into gear. Security guards stationed at the metal railings separating the audience from the stage had to lean with all their weight in order to keep them from toppling over. The crowd surfing began, and beach balls bounced everywhere.
During their set, Tijuana Panthers played a number of tracks from their latest album Semi Sweet, and songs like "Tony's Song" and "Push Over" sounded great. Phil Shaheen's drums hit hard, the guitar riffs were as catchy and clear as they are on record, and the vocals from guitarist Chad Wachtel and bassist Daniel Michicoff weren't muddied in the slightest. The flow of the otherwise solid set was only broken when concert organizers got on the mic to tell the crowd that the fire department had issued an "ultimatum," and that they all had to take five steps back. We're fairly sure no one moved an inch.
Between sets, we ventured down to the beach, where hundreds of people sat in the sand, listening to massive speakers aimed in their direction and watching the stage via a big screen monitor. Though police were near by, anything seemed permissible. Liquor of every color was consumed, and bits of broken glass lay strewn about the sands like strange glistening seashells. Couples cuddled, and tight circles of friends comiserated. Summer love and the smell of the finest local greenery were in the air.
No Age review below
Once they took the stage, the L.A. based punk/noise rock duo No Age wasted no time with introductions, attacking tracks from their entire catalogue, from their first LP Weirdo Rippers to their critically acclaimed Everything In Between, and even breaking out some cuts from their upcoming record, An Object.
A row of police were stationed behind the metal railings the entire set, and at one point we witnessed an officer angrily puncture a beach ball. But that didn't stop No Age's Dean Allen Spunt from pulling out a bin of beach balls promoting their new album and throwing them into the crowd.
Overall, No Age's loud, somewhat harsh brand of punk translated surprisingly well live. However, towards the end of their set the guys blew half of the PA system, which they then proceeded to hold a funny mock-eulogy for. Thankfully, the speakers didn't prevent them from finishing the night with a still-strong energy.
Personal Bias: It might be because they had great swag in the press area, but we're quite confident that the Twilight Concert Series at Santa Monica Pier -- which goes all the way through mid-September -- is the best place to hear free live music Thursday nights this summer.
The Crowd: Westsiders male and female, young, old, and in-between.
Random Notebook Dump: While the music may be free, the price of a beer remains the same.
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