Rock Picks: Future of the Left, Deerhoof, Ronnie Mack's Barndance, The Urinals
FRIDAY JULY 31
FUTURE OF THE LEFT
Japandroids at Spaceland
Future of the Left, from Wales, feature two dudes who used to play in the hilariously acerbic noise-rock trio Mclusky (sample song title: “Your Children Are Waiting for You to Die”). In their new guise they’ve grown no more enthused about humanity’s miserable existence — the best song from the band’s new album, Travels with Myself and Another, is called “You Need Satan More Than He Needs You” — but they have added some nifty synth licks that make the music even funnier (in a mean-spirited way). Openers Japandroids have been known to cover Mclusky’s “To Hell with Good Intentions” live, so you can imagine that they’re stoked about tonight’s pairing. Of course, Mclusky should be, too, as Post-Nothing — this Vancouver duo’s sweet-and-sour fuzz-punk debut — is one of the summer’s most buzzed-about indie artifacts. (No Age fans hankering for a Nouns follow-up — this should tide you over.) Get here early, or you might not get in at all. (Mikael Wood)
at the Echoplex
Offend Maggie, on Kill Rock Stars, is Deerhoof’s latest and is a thing of indefinable power and glory. The band makes a pointy-headedly poignant music, earnest and arty. This is a newfangled, unclinical dance music, punky and pointillistic, very heavy, like King Crimson sometimes (really), and singer Satomi endures like a most-beloved pet robot. Last year’s Friend Opportunity found the group reaching wobbly ground, where their experimental instincts stumbled upon the secret to making the heart go pitapat. The noisy, prog-jazzy Offend Maggie is even grander, funnier, more heartbreaking, and one has to wonder why it sounds unlike anything else on Earth at the present time? Could it be that it’s ’cause they can really play, and that onstage they, yes, they kick major butt? With Busdriver, the glossolalic nongangsta heaping so much healthy damage on hip-hop and the nervous systems of all hardy souls who choose to come along for the ride. (John Payne)
Also playing Friday:
PINK DOLLAZ, GO GO POWER RANGERS at the Key Club; NO DOUBT, PARAMORE, THE SOUNDS at Verizon Amphitheatre; CHIEF, MICHAEL RUNION, MINI MANSION at the Bootleg Theater; NERD, TROUBLE ANDREW at Avalon; STELLASTARR, WILD LIGHT, MASON PROPER at the Troubadour; THE TURTLES, CHUCK NEGRON, FELIX CAVALIERE, MOUNTAIN WITH LESLIE WEST, CORKY LAING at the Gibson Amphitheatre; MOTLEY CRUE, GODSMACK, THEORY OF A DEADMAN, DROWNING POOL, OTHERS at the San Manual Amphitheatre; SKA PIRATES, UPSET STOMACH, THE LUMBERJACKS, POSITIVE APPROACH, OTHERS at Cobalt Cafe; KEVIN ELLIOT & THE BROKEN, INVERSE, SILENT TREATMENT, AFTER, AXIA at the Knitting Factory; DAMION SUOMI, FLOATING ACTION, THE GENERATIONALS, GOLDEN BOOTS, OTHERS at the Hotel Cafe; COMMON SENSE, THE FLYS, THE BONEDADDYS, THE FRINGES, FRANK STALLONE at the Mint; SUSAN MARSHALL, DEAD ROCK WEST at the Redwood Bar; JOGGER, FORMER GHOSTS, QUANGSTUH, MICHAEL NHAT at the Smell.
SATURDAY AUGUST 1
JAD FAIR, THE URINALS
AT EAGLE ROCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS
“Hey, Pop Tart, look what the sunshine brings,” Jad Fair announces on “Apple Apple,” a typically bent art-pop spoken-word track set to a soundtrack of squealing noises. “This time it’s magic. ... Better days are now showing/strong and solid as caramel.” The sunshine (liquid or otherwise) brings the Half Japanese madman in from Texas for a concert of pronounced weirdness. It’s been nearly 35 years since Fair and his since-retired brother, David Fair, practically invented lo-fi art-rock in the bedroom of their Uniontown, Maryland, home, and fans and critics have been struggling to make some rational sense out of Half Japanese’s vast and prolific output ever since. As half of Half Japanese and as a solo performer (as well as a noted visual artist), Jad’s collaborated with the likes of Daniel Johnston, Eugene Chadbourne, Fred Frith, Isobel Campbell, Thurston Moore, Yo La Tengo and Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker, cobbling together found sounds, untuned guitars, creepy harmonies and random ghost voices, and putting them into all into a pop-music blender. He’s aptly billed with L.A.’s own ongoing art-punks the Urinals, who were considered a joke when they first came out of UCLA in 1978 but have since gained belated critical respect for the way their haikulike S&M lyrics and curiously minimalist chord progressions have influenced everyone from the Gun Club to Yo La Tengo. Far from being a punk nostalgia trip, the Urinals are more interested these days in experimenting with the spacy new songs from their upcoming album. (Falling James)
THE POLYAMOUROUS AFFAIR
at Hear Gallery/Loft 265
As a longtime songwriter and producer, the Polyamorous Affair’s mastermind Eddie Chacon has worked with the likes of Faith No More and 2 Live Crew and Cliff Burton (of Metallica), which seemingly doesn’t make for a résumé that leads to ass-busting, buzzing dance-pop. But realize that Mr. Chacon is the same Eddie who brought you 1992’s worldwide soul hit “Would I lie to You?” (the Charles and Eddie version, not the Eurythmics’ version) and the ease of execution on clubby songs, like “Who Controls the Grove Controls the World” makes a whole lot of sense. The dude knows a thing about reinvention, and the Polyamorous Affair delivers with tense, sensual beats and a Giorgio Moroder moodiness. The crew consists of his sassy wife and partner, Sissy Sainte Marie, their DJ, De Ja Francois, and Mr. Cocoon, on visuals. Tonight’s show will highlight their month-old release Bolshevik Disco, as well as their new Eastern Bloc/East Hollywood look, replete with furry Lenin hats and leather boots. (Wendy Gilmartin)
Also playing Saturday:
WENDY & LISA at Largo at the Coronet; DIRT DRESS, TIMONIUM, THE SOFT OPENING at Pehrspace; STEVE MILLER BAND at the Pacific Amphitheatre; FERRABY LIONHEART, TERRA NAOMI, MICHELLE FEATHERSTONE, JAMIE MEYER, KRISTEN TOEDTMAN at the Hotel Cafe; NO DOUBT, PARAMORE, THE SOUNDS at Verizon Amphitheatre;VANAPRASA at the Bootleg Theater; SLEEP YOUR EXCELLENCE, PINS & NEEDLES, BLUE JUNGLE, GUPPIES, THE HEALTH CLUB, AUDACITY, BRAAIINS at the Silver Factory Studios; GENE LOVES JEZEBEL, NAKE EYES at Pershing Square; PATO BANTON, LILL HIT, REFLECTION I, DEDICATED MINDS, DIVERSFYED at the Key Club; COMPANY OF THIEVES at Spaceland; ANCESTORS, NÜ SENSAE, UPSILON ACRUX, RANDOM CUTS, HARRY MERRY at the Smell; DUAL, THE SUNDOWNERS, CASTANO, PUSSYCOW, THE HELL SURFERS at American Legion Post 206.
SUNDAY AUGUST 2
at the Echo
It’s said that history is written by the victors, and, with the recent waves of cookie-cutter corporate-punk bands, it would be easy to assume that all of the early punks must have looked and sounded exactly like the Ramones. In fact, the original punk scene was far more musically diverse than what passes for punk rock today, but even during that more open-minded era, the local synth group Nervous Gender were a polarizing outfit. For one thing, they didn’t dress like leather-jacketed cartoons of Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Tommy. For another, these Gender benders used abrasive synthesizers instead of guitars and employed insidiously compulsive dance beats to instill a new form of subversion in jaded punks. Founding member Gerardo Velasquez died of AIDS in the 1990s, but the remaining members — Edward Stapleton, Michael Ochoa and Joe Zinnato — brought back Nervous Gender in 2007 for more audio terror. After initially focusing on releasing their past music, the trio are currently recording new material, “much to the delight of cutter girls everywhere.” (Falling James)
Also playing Sunday:
INTERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW at the Echoplex. JUDAS PRIEST, WHITESNAKE at the Gibson Amphitheatre; NO DOUBT, PARAMORE, THE SOUNDS at Verizon Amphitheatre;ANAVAN, DAZZLER at the Echo; THE PACK, MATEO, DEVI, SEAN REX at the Roxy; RUTHANN FRIEDMAN, VICTORIA & PAUL LACQUES, WEBA GARRETSON & RALPH GORODETSKY, PATRIA JACOB at Matsumoto’s 2nd Street Jazz.
MONDAY AUGUST 3
RONNIE MACK’S BARNDANCE WITH BIG JAY MCNEELY,
at Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill
Ronnie Mack’s no-cover Barndance showcase has undergone plenty of twists and turns over the past two decades, but one thing remains constant: He’s always featured the most compelling local talent. While tonight’s edition is under a double whammy, presented at a different venue and scheduled for a Monday (a shocking break from established Barndance procedure), the presence of legendary South Central R&B sax monster Big Jay McNeely nobly upholds the tradition of Mack-curated excellence. McNeely, of course, is one of the prime architects of Los Angeles’ explosive postwar rhythm-and-blues breakout, an insurrection directly fomented by McNeely’s volcanic 1949 instrumental “Deacon’s Hop,” a sock disc that opened the door for an army of honking sax cats. While competition was fierce, none equaled McNeely’s raw power or knack for manipulating audiences — he whipped crowds to frenzy pitch so routinely that, by 1952, an unofficial police and sheriff department ban precluded him from appearing anywhere in Los Angeles County — a predicament subsequently shared only by Black Flag and Suicidal Tendencies. That level of musical intensity is where Big Jay always hangs out, and one would have to be insane not to partake. (Jonny Whiteside)
Also playing Monday:
BOH RUNGA at Largo at the Coronet; KEVIN KANNER QUINTET, J-LOGIC, THE BAND OF HEATHENS, THE NICK ROSEN GROUP at the Mint; LOWER HEAVEN, THE STREET & BABE SHADOW, DISSOLVER, Y at the Silverlake Lounge; LOCAL NATIVES, THE UNION LINE, THE OUTLINE, WE BARBARIANS at Spaceland; TYRANTS IN THERAPY, THE SURRENDERS at Taix; THE GROWLERS at the Echo.
TUESDAY AUGUST 4
THE TING TINGS
at Club Nokia Theater
It’s hard to believe “That’s Not My Name” shot to the top so quickly. On top of that, it was The Ting Tings very first single released, which makes the meteoric rise even more impressive. Despite their stats — Katie White, raised by a record-company manager and part of the bubblegum girl group TKO at 15, and Jules De Martino, long known for producing bands in Manchester — the Ting Tings’ evolution toward their current, punchy, beat-crazy incarnation wasn’t easy. As interest in cutesy girl groups waned in the late ’90s, White found herself without direction or a job. She and De Martino met while working at a local music club selling drinks and DJing, where touring bands like Le Tigre and the Gossip mutually awed them. Good thing, because Katie White’s Spice Girls influence wore off quick — replaced by a need to play a guitar, tour, adopt more delinquent behavior, and wear better clothes. See them again tonight with Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, whose relentless happiness and remarkable instinct for hyper, pop concoctions make them a very hard act to follow. (Wendy Gilmartin)
Also playing Tuesday:
LYKKI LI, FRANKI CHAN, THE DEADLY SYNDROME at the Wiltern; JENNY O, ALEX & SAM, SMALL SUR, TYPEFIGHTER at the Bootleg Theater; MOON ZAPPA at Largo at the Coronet; BOWERBIRDS, MEGAFAUN at the Echo; , DWELE, NIYA BROWN, BIANCA BETHUNE, KIDA at the Key Club; WAR TAPES, AGENT RIBBONS, SISTER CRAYON, VOICESVOICES, REALLY, VERY at the Smell; INTERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW FEATURING SEXTUS, THE SHORE, IO PERRY, REDCAR, THE HOLLISTON STOPS, GARLAND at Spaceland.
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 5
TORCHE, BIG BUSINESS
at Knitting Factory
Here’s a totally sweet, hipster-metal bill you can catch for free provided you’re willing to surrender your e-mail address to the digitally minded marketing folks at Scion and Vice. (Go to www.scion.com/metalshow to RSVP.) Hard to believe, I know, but the entertainment might actually be worth the spam: Miami’s Torche kick out super-tuneful sludge-metal jams that suggest Dave Grohl fronting Boris (or maybe the dudes from Isis jamming with Queens of the Stone Age); their 2008 slab, Meanderthal, was one of last year’s best metal records, and one well-stocked with riffs that sound even better while slamming you in the face. These days the two core members of L.A.’s Big Business — bassist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis — spend much of their time as half of the Melvins. They’ve hardly left the home office to ruin, though; this year’s Mind the Drift (their first with guitarist Toshi Kasai) is a sly post-punk winner. (Mikael Wood)
at the Troubadour
Just a couple of weeks after his brother Javier led the reunited Zeros through a set of early pop-punk classics at this same club, Alejandro Escovedo offers up a set of his own critically acclaimed music. Whereas the Zeros have more of a direct, Johnny Thunders–influenced punk-rock drive, Alejandro’s solo material infuses his old punk influences with country, folk, roots and other strains of Americana. (Of course, the brothers haven’t always diverged in opposing directions; Javier was once part of Alejandro’s beloved mid-’80s Austin band, the True Believers, who were among the first groups to marry punk-rock influences with the jingle jangle of cowpunk and country rock.) Yet, for all of the gorgeous melodicism of ballads like “Sister Lost Soul” and the nostalgic reverie “Golden Bear” (from his excellent 2008 solo album, Real Animal), which are anointed with Susan Voelz’s eloquently moody violin strokes, Alejandro Escovedo still bares his punk-rock heart on weirdly damaged, shadowy tunes like “Nuns Song” and the fascinating yet harrowing Sid-&-Nancy ode “Chelsea Hotel ’78.” Simply put, he’s one of America’s best songwriters. (Falling James)
CLUB FUCK 20th ANNIVERSARY
By definition, fetish and S&M dance clubs are supposed to be forbidden (and forbidding) places where freaky, transgressive behavior occurs, but in reality most such joints these days only serve to prove how banal and mainstream the once-underground culture has become. But genuinely shocking — and genuinely sexy — behavior routinely occurred at Club Fuck, a gathering that took place at various local venues in the late ’80s and ’90s. Part of the excitement derived from the club’s entertainment, which often featured edgy live performers instead of a generic techno soundtrack. As part of a 20th-anniversary celebration, which also includes a photo exhibit, former Lock Up/Extra Fancy singer Brian Grillo takes the stage. There’s no telling what Mr. Fancy has got planned tonight, but in his heyday Grillo was an arresting, charismatic queercore exhibitionist, howling out a dark, percussively based racket over muscular post-punk grooves. The festivities also include videos by pioneering performance-art confrontationalist Johanna Went, whose favorite medium usually involved digging into bloody, squishy, disgusting things. 1643 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hlywd., (323) 856-0667. (Falling James)
Also playing Wednesday:
THE SCRIPT, PARACHUTE at El Rey Theatre; JUDAS PRIEST, WHITESNAKE at the Pacific Amphitheatre; BLUE OCTOBER, SWITCHFOOT at the Wiltern; THE RECKLESS DECISION, SEVENTH CITY FALLOUT at the Cobalt Cafe; THE YELLING, HEAVY YOUNG HEATHENS, ROLL THE TANKS, HAMMERHEADS at the Silverlake Lounge; IGUANA STU, JO JAMEZ, MODERN MARVELS. at the Whisky A Go-Go.
THURSDAY AUGUST 6
QUINTRON & MISS PUSSYCAT
at the Echo
New Orleans–based art/music/party proposition Quintron & Miss Pussycat is two people on a stage wreaking havoc with your life and making you laugh about it, basically. The snazzily dressed (mechanic’s overalls, usually) Quintron’s a one-man preacher-band, who delivers the sleazy sermons while spewing out an eerily authentic garage-y hybrid of vintage soul and greasy old rock and blues on his kustom-krafted Franken-organ and his own invention, the Drum Buddy; Miss Pussycat sings and plays a mean set of maracas, and provides the creepy puppet show. Now, you can hear a savory slice of all this on Quintron’s recent Too Thirsty 4 Love album (Goner Records), but you must come to the show to see for yourself how everybody smiles, dances and spits lots of beer. I’m just saying that Thursday nights probably don’t get much better than that. (John Payne)
Also playing Thursday:
CHARLIE HADEN’S QUARTET WEST at Largo at the Coronet; DAVE ALVIN AND THE GUILTY WOMEN, PAUL THORN at Santa Monica Pier; DAVID SANBORN at the Canyon; JOHN DOE & THE SADIES, JILL SOBULE at the Echoplex; PINE HILL SAINTS, GUILTY HEARTS at the Redwood Bar & Grill; BULLETS & OCTANE, HALESTORM, MELOTIA, THE BOURBON SAINTS at the Roxy; SPINDRIFT, ASSEMBLEHEAD IN SUNBURST SOUND, MAGIC MIRROR at Spaceland; GREG LASWELL ELIZABETH & THE CATAPULT at the Troubadour; SA-RA CREATIVE PARTNERS at Amoeba Music.
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