Not sure why the people behind music blog Radio Free Silver Lake decided to have their monthly rock showcase “Let’s Independent!” in Hollywood, but Boardner’s was definitely a smart choice regardless. [Silver Lake is a state of mind! —ed.] We’ve enjoyed the historic bar’s New Orleans–style outdoor music space for years, even before Moscow brought the cool kiddies there in droves. Independent attracts a more amicable, mature lot of indie-heads who really seem to care about the music presented; this month offered three übercatchy acts, all featuring fetching female talent: the Talking Heads–ish Rademacher, in town from Fresno to record with Earlimart’s Aaron Espinosa, followed by The Switch, a Pixies-peppered pop outfit embellished by viola and trumpet courtesy of funny lady Maria DeLuca (telling bad jokes during the band’s setup like What did the girl melon say to the guy melon after he asked her to marry him? “Sure, but we cantaloupe!”). Kind Hearts and Coronets played later, but by that point we were ready to shake things up, literally.
Next stop, The Echo to check out Devlin & Darko, the dudes behind manic beat mashers Spank Rock, spinning along with local heavyweights DJ Pube$ and Franki Chan. Shockingly, it was kinda empty, which we actually didn’t mind — for once we got to hear these DJs and have space to move. The Spank boys, both in baseball caps, one in a tie-dye tee, one in a Hawaiian shirt, spun sounds that clashed even more than their duds, everything from The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” to Stardust’s “The Music Sounds Better With You,” amped up and scratched out to pulsating perfection. Though the crowd was sparse, it definitely wasn’t shy, and after watching fuzzy-headed dudes gyrate for an hour or two, we’ve come to the conclusion that dancing bad is good. Is this what Napoleon Dynamite hath wrought?
Bad dancing may be good in Echo Park, but good dancing’s still good everywhere else, as proved by Blake McGrath and Nolan Padilla — two cast members from J. Lo’s MTV reality series Dancelife — who performed last week. The dancers — who were enemies on the series — have made nice, and joined forces to support Art for Life, a benefit for the American Cancer Society held at Façade nightclub in H-Wood. McGrath may be more established, but we were blown away by Padilla’s synchronized hip-hop presentation, especially his backup dancers’ impressive ability to bust moves without letting their baggy pants — belted below their bums — fall to the ground. The benefit’s main attraction was the cast of the musical Wicked, and though we haven’t seen the show (currently at the Pantages), the singers conjured quite a spell, even without their witch garb. Host Michael Urie from Ugly Betty — who plays Vanessa Williams’ catty gay assistant — wore the TV show’s signature purple and green, just in case ya didn’t recognize him. He and co-host Carol Kane did a fine job, though no one could save the awkward routine by a guy called The Gay Comic, who spent at least 10 minutes making fun of fat people, not noticing the posse of plump gals just under the stage.
It was our first time inside Rick Calamaro’s remodeled two-level club (formerly The Ivar) and, we gotta be honest, we liked it better before. There’s way too much plexiglass goin’ on in there now. Still, those see-through walls did make for lots of great viewing spots during the show. And after that event, we’re more determined than ever to check out the Wizard of Oz–prequel musical, especially since we hear Ticketmaster is offering dinner packages that include grub at trendy eateries such as Geisha House, Social, and Twist in the Renaissance Hotel. There’s no place like Hollywood . . .
Are You Ready for This Jelly?
From wicked to wanton: We recently popped into the Forty Deuce club (at Melrose and Gower) for the 100th edition of its popular “rock & roll burlesque” show Royal Jelly. Burlesque babes in L.A. are a dime a dozen these days, but none get as in-your-face (both literally and figuratively) as the ones at this bumpin’ bar, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary and has finally managed to banish any lingering ghosts of its old incarnation, Smalls KO. We’re still buzzing from the anniversary show, which brought out the likes of Audrina Patridge (the dark-haired gal from The Hills) plus CSI: NY cast members, Shear Genius contestant Theodore Leaf, and members of Bad Religion and Juliette and the Licks. The show features (natch) curvy-looking cuties in everything from schoolmarm gear (which they stripped off during — what else? — “Hot for Teacher”) to ripped-up concert tees, vamping and trampling the stage and its surrounding bar, which becomes a raucous runway for the rocker chicks. Setting a drink on it during the show was downright dangerous, as was going to the ladies’ room (marked “Vaginas”) in the jam-packed club; the line was so clustered and chaotic, we saw a couple of near-scuffles when drunk dames took cuts. Let’s hope owner Ivan Kane’s next Deuce will have a slightly more spacious layout — he’s already got one in Vegas, and just announced he’ll be opening his third club in NYC this fall, with partners Sting and David Bowie. The L.A. celebration ain’t done yet, though: If you’re reading this Thursday, May 31, check out the last night of the venue’s “555” promotion, with a $5 cover charge and $5 specialty drinks.
More pictures from Nightranger here: laweekly.com/slideshow/