Zolar X, with the Raw Power Rangers
January 18 at Club Screwball (El Cid)
Zolar X, Hollywood’s original space-alien rockers, have returned to performing after a 25-year hiatus! With eyebrows akimbo, looking much like the Vulcan offspring of Brian Jones, guitarist Ygarr Ygarrist and bassist Jett Starr hovered through a pogo-positive set at Club Screwball, aided by Germs drummer Don Bolles. The result was a grin-inducing performance of pre-punk space-age rock & roll that for the most part had audience members shaking their heads with delight or scratching them in bewilderment. If you can imagine Black Sabbath dropping bennies instead of reds and watching George Pal science-fiction films instead of Hammer horrors, you might get some idea of the Zolar X sound. While the group’s stage show and costumes are less elaborate than they were back in the ’70s, the sheer energy and pure alienity of the band made the lack of props a moot. By the time they’d launched into space-teen anthem “Jet Star 19,” the crowd were on their side and fully participatory, even grabbing the mic and adding their own alien lyrics. Alienation or Alien Nation .?.?. the choice is yours!
Openers the Raw Power Rangers presented a frenetic, dysfunctional take on Iggy & The Stooges circa 1973. Since the current edition of the actual Stooges will not play songs from Raw Power, the Raw Power Rangers performed the entire album live as a rock opera, complete with between-song venting at anyone who ever took advantage of the Stooges. Vocalist David Arnson, in the role of Iggy, delighted in provoking the crowd and spared no physical action to do so, including walking on the tables, groping most of those in attendance and humping the body parts of a lucky few. With Dan Valentie on guitar as James Williamson, Mark Hoeschler on bass as the demoted guitarist Ron Asheton, and Don Bolles again as drummer Rock Action, the Rangers provided an incendiary glimpse into the demons and glory of one of the most influential rock bands of all time.