Hollywood Stars Shine at the Redwood: One of the great, underrated sub-categories of rock & roll is the guy who tried being in a band in his youth, gave up to have a normal life, and then returned to music in in his retirement. A great example of this modern phenomenon is the Stooges’ James Williamson. What better way to spend your later years than to have some fun with old friends, with some disposable income in your pocket?
That brings us neatly to the Hollywood Stars. Four decades ago, they were managed by Kim Fowley and looked to be on the brink of some modest success. At the very least, they seem destined for some New York Dolls-esque underground notoriety. Fowley and guitarist Mark Anthony wrote an early version of the song “King of the Night Time World,” later rearranged by Paul Stanley and Bob Ezrin for the classic Kiss Destroyer album. The Hollywood Stars clearly had something. But music is a cruel mistress and thing didn’t work out. They pretty much disappeared, and remained forgotten by all but a handful of the most dedicated for 40 years, until their reformation at the start of this decade.
We applaud their desire to get the band back together and have another go at this. And we applaud singer Scott Phares for defying time and nature, and squeezing into a snakeskin-print lycra shirt. Nobody is gonna stop these old Stars from having a blast.
Their set at the Redwood Bar & Grill on Friday night was an absolute blast. Brit-style glitter stomp and bubblegum pop tunes, with the merest hint of a Hollywood edge. The band is admirably tight and Phares is still a charismatic sod (even if the heat in this intimate room seemed to be getting the better of him at a couple of points).
Tracks like “Sunrise on Sunset,” “All the Kids on the Street” and “Taxi Driver” blasted by in an odd wave of nostalgic joy and the fun that comes with discovering something that has been buried. Of course, they played “King of the Night Time World,” inspiring a bit of a sing-along. Much fun was had by all.
Before that, the Slamdinistas impressed with a set that was a little more rough n’ ready that the Stars but no less infectious thanks to a ton of great songs. Loren Molinare (the Dogs, Little Caesar, loads more) is in the band, and Gabriel Johns is a frontman who simply demands the spotlight. We don’t remember song titles, but they played a Texas Terri song (very cool) and their own songs were equally trashy in all the right ways.
Opening the night, Nico Bones has a gorgeous glam-punk sound and look that is clearly influenced by the late, great Johnny Thunders (they played “Chatterbox”) — poetic and heartbreaking, but also riotous and mildly chaotic. We’ll be keeping a close eye on these guys.
Hollywood Stars Shine at the Redwood: For more info, visit theredwoodbar.com.
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