For more photos, view the new Nightranger slideshow here.


Thriller Nights

Fiends ’n’ creeps (and half-naked hos) assaulted the city like something out of a bad zombie-porno flick last week, but Nightranger avoided the nightcrawling neophytes (we stayed in on the 31st), choosing instead to mingle and spine-tingle with the city’s real party monsters before and after Fri-ght night. We’re still haunted by what we saw and heard — for the most part in a good way. The wickedness began on the Sunset Strip at the ultimate wig-out, Steel Panther at the Key Club, which popped off early with a private Halloween bash hosted by Avril Lavigne and Sum 41’s wonder hubby Derek Wibley in its downstairs Plush Lounge. The punk-lite performers wouldn’t have got our butt to the club before midnight, but when we heard Petty Cash (who usually play Plush on Mondays) would be offering sets both downstairs and up that night — and that it would be the last chance to catch ’em before a long hiatus — we swooped in.

The guys, led by singer/guitarist Todd Morse (formerly of Juliette & the Licks and a recent Pink paramour), play Tom Petty and Johnny Cash covers, and they do ’em damn well, too. Plus, they’re all really hot, even in Hassidic Jew (or Blues Brothers with beards?) costumes. Down in Plush before PC’s set, Wibley — in evil-nurse guise — joined Morse and pals for some rawkin’ covers, including Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” (fittingly, with guest vox from Lavigne) and the Stones’ “Get off of My Cloud,” a weird — or intentionally ironic — choice considering Av’s been accused of copying the “Hey, hey, you, you” part in her ditty “Girlfriend” (she was actually sued by — and settled out of court with — another band, the Rubinoos, for the same song). Regardless, she seemed to be lovin’ it.

Head Over Heels

Upstairs on Key’s main stage, Matt Sorum hosted a costume contest full of, as host Josh Richman noted, “girls dressed how girls dress here every Monday” — i.e., groupie getups and Hollywood Boulevard hooker garb, plus a giant banana and a demure Sarah Palin for good measure. Though the four-eyed pitbull-with-lipstick was by far the most popular Halloween getup last week (and got bigger catcalls than all the heavy-metal hoochies at the club combined), we hope the look will be just a quickly fading memory by the time you read this. But speaking of sexy duds, Sorum’s Pussycat Dolls–like creation, the Darling Stilettos, took the stage next, unveiling their newest member, former American Idol contestant/Surreal Life-r Ryan Starr, who competently crooned AC/DC’s “Girl’s Got Rhythm” as guest guitarist Dave Navarro (everywhere lately) noodled behind her. Token brunette singer/reality star (check), five interchangeable midriff-baring dancer types (check), biggie guests (check). Looks like the Stilettos are out to play like Dolls in every way. By the time Steel Panther started prowlin’ onstage with their pumped-up potty humor, raucous riffin’ and boobie-flashing babes, we decided it was time for a change of scenery. Navarro and Lavigne ended up joining the guys, but we’d had enough of that terrorific twosome for one eve.

Unfortunately we were a tad tardy for XXX at the Viper Room down the street, and all that remained of the new live punk & dance show was a few half-naked nymphs posing amid a stage full of feathers and sweat-drenched guyliner types putting away gear. Needless to say, we’re curious to see this rock orgy in its entirety, and now that XXX has just been added to the V-Room’s regular Monday lineup we’ll all get our chance… Another club on our must-do list: former Viper chicaMelissa Hernandez, Dim Mak’s Ana Calderon and actress/rocker C.C. Sheffield’s La Boum Wednesdays at Bardot (formerly Spider Club), which saw the Yeah Yeah YeahsKaren O and Nic Zinner DJ last week. That same hump night over at Vanguard, more stellar types turned out for Hennessey’s Honey Collective celebration, featuring sets by hip-hop royalty Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Mc Lyte and DJ Quik. We hear Prince bypassed the paparazzi by sneaking in through the club’s kitchen.

Kid n’ Play

For those of us with li’l ones, the day after Halloween is less about hangovers and barf-a-thons and more about candy comedowns (and barf-a-thons). Still, tykes — and their mostly tatted/shagged/pierced parental units — seemed in good spirits as they crowded into Amoeba Saturday morning for a DVD release party/show by DJ Lance Rock and his creature castmates from the trippy Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba. This one was just as chaotic as any biggie rock band appearance there, and Mr. Rock, well, rocked. (See pics from the event in our online slide show this week and a full feature about the show in next week’s paper!) …. And finally, it may have been Dia de los Muertos (and pretty gloomy) this past Sunday, but the vibe was anything but dead at Crane’s Hollywood Tavern, where the afternoon mix-master mash known as The Do Over marked its final shindig of the season with its annual “Boo Over” party. Costumes “two days late and $2 short” were mandatory, and amid the flurry of ’fros, horns, animal ears and rapper looks (LL, Pac, Humpty, both Ice’s) were some really creative ideas (scholar Cornel West, Ashley Todd — the McCain supporter/faker who carved a “B” on her face). The real creativity at this one is on the decks, though, and guest groovers Peanut Butter Wolf, J.Rocc, Dam-Funk, C-Minus, Rhettmatic, House Shoes and Induce offered inspired backyard BBQ beats (funk, house, old school hip-hop, disco) that brought the four-year party to a freaky-good climax. This may be the happiest, hoppiest dance party in town, and though it’s done till next summer, at least there’s Do dudes Chris Haycock, Aloe Blacc and Jamie Strong’s annual post-Thanksgiving one-off, The Left Over, to look forward to on Nov. 28. After what we saw Sunday, only a jive turkey would miss it.

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