On Wednesday, July 25, downtown's Redwood Bar is hosting a night of ’60s-influenced garage rock featuring three killer bands. Top of the bill is the superb Pedal Strike, a group that our own Jonny Whiteside recently described as a “high-velocity Los Angeles bike-punk quartet throw[ing] down a supercharged sound — taut, dynamic, intense.”
Pedal Strike really are an awesome band, but there are two other gems on the bill, including Covina six-piece The Night Times. Formed in 2014 as The B-Sides, guitarist Squints says they just wanted to get together and jam.
“We were always playing far places with one car packed and a dime to our name,” he says. “Sometimes we would play a show in the O.C., L.A., SGV all in the same night. That was all we wanted to do — just play.”
Squints says the Night Times sound has evolved from playing with crappy equipment to what they have now, which is a rich blend of contemporary rock, ’60s beat music and garage punk, and “with the aggressive sound and performance, we just keep it rock & roll!” The members each have different influences, though connecting factors include "early rock & roll, R&B, soul, ’60s beat, ’77 punk, and garage.”
The Night Times, currently preparing to release their debut 45 single through Outro Records, are part of an L.A. garage punk rock scene that remains extremely popular. While other genres might be faring better as far as the mainstream charts are concerned right now, rock & roll will never die. Squints has a pragmatic view of current L.A. musical goings-on.
“It depends on what scene you’re talking about,” he says. “I believe L.A. is very unique from other musical cultures from around the world, [because] there’s always something going on. You can go see one band and after down the street hit a venue and after that you can catch some killer DJs.”
The band are psyched to play the Redwood this week; they are, in fact, psyched about every show because, as Squints puts it, “I would like to think every show is the best because we have the opportunity to play our music and share it with everyone.”
The guitarist enjoys the ship-themed vibe of the room because he used to be in the navy. Still, while he has DJ’d there before, this will be the band’s Redwood debut.
“Bring earplugs and know the closest exit,” Squints says, with a laugh. “Just kidding. Be prepared for an action-packed, fuzz-filled raw and savage energy set.”
Coming in from Phoenix for the gig are The Rebel Set, a band that frontman Joe Zimmerman says formed about eight years ago with the mission of simply starting a lo-fi band for fun. There’s a surf-y vibe to the sound, plus a bit of new wave, thanks to their shared love of The Beach Boys and the B-52’s.
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“I always liked surf, and I guess it isn’t necessarily a natural fit in the desert but it worked,” Zimmerman says.
The Rebel Set are about to release their second album through Outro, in September. Meanwhile, they’re happy to be back in L.A. — they play here every six months or so, and at the Redwood, which Zimmerman describes as a “good place to play.”
“Expect a lot of songs from the soon-to-be-released LP,” the frontman says.
Pedal Strike, The Night Times and The Rebel Set play at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25, at the Redwood Bar.