Cocky and Loaded
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Semi Precious Weapons' Justin Tranter shares
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Bra Boys producers
Sal Masakela and Jason Bergh (left) with Koby Abberton at STK
That Black Rebel Motorcycle Club song “What Ever Happened to My Rock n’ Roll” has been reverberating in Nightranger’s head a lot lately. We missed South by Southwest this year, so we have no idea if there’s a new power surge of guitar-grinders on the horizon, but right now, right here, we’re noticing a definite dearth of dramatic, balls-to-the-wall rock & roll showmanship, and the rare rebels who do sizzle with hot licks and swagger couldn’t be less hip to the electro-throb-gobbing L.A. club-kid Zeitgeist. Ironically, BRMC (who played last Sunday at The Wiltern) are one of a handful of real rockin’ acts who can even hope to sell out the city’s bigger or even medium-sized venues these days.
This was glaringly apparent Friday night (no, we didn’t go to the secret Dolly PartonRoxy show!), when smokin’ NYC pistols Semi Precious Weapons brought their gun-blazing bitch-rock to a surprisingly sparse crowd at Safari Sams. The people who were there were drooling with adoration, but not even the band’s impressive buzz — being voted Best Rock Band in The Village Voice’s readers poll last year, and praised as “the most important band in America” on the music blog of none other than Creation Records (Oasis, The Libertines) head Alan McGee — could fill the room. And thanks to openers such as dread-headed (and dreadful) metalers Suicide Holiday and dreary Orgy wannabes Gods and Monsters, the scene was a time warp of studded belts and leather pants — very Pretty Ugly Club, circa 1998.
But SPW’s glam isn’t Taime Downe glam. It’s not even Toilet Boys glam (another Big Apple outfit that was fronted by an androgynous blond boy toy). Weapons, managed by Led Zeppelin/T-Rex media guru BP Fallon, are a boastful hybrid of Bowie-esque stage seduction (singer Justin Tranter pulls off guyliner, hi-heeled boots and tights like few men can) and Sex Pistols–style insolence (they call their fans kunts — “with a K”). If it sounds shticky, it is, but it’s also a lot of fun, and the songs are catchy as hell, retro but fresh at the same time. Hopefully, when the Weapons opened for Metal Skool this past Monday, the show was better attended. Speaking of which, hear about the Skool’s name change? The hair-metal maulers recently rechristened themselves Steel Panther, and though we’re guessing it was a money/management issue (as was the case when they changed their name from Metal Shop several years ago), the band’s predictably silly statement on the official Key Club press release offered a more salacious reason: “Since our earliest days as Danger Kitty, we’ve had a thing for pussy,” they wrote. “As Steel Panther, now we can continue this legacy.”
More news from the (g)litter box: As we reported a few weeks ago, Miss Kitty’s Parlour is kit-put, but their new project should have fetishistic felines clawing to get back into the Dragonfly on a different night — the first Saturday of each month. Miss Kitty’s World of Wonder will be a “carnival of delights,” featuring more pervy performances, art and music, as well as their former party’s outlandish theme nights. The opening bash this Saturday, April 6, is a “21st Century Speakeasy,” and they’re looking for “horny hit men, vaudeville vixens and kinky crime-boss” getups, so get to thrift-shoppin’…. As for the Friday-night slot they vacated at the D’Fly, it’s been filled by Top Floor, a multimedia dance mash-up that’s broadcast live on the Web, with an interactive twist: Viewers watching at home are invited to upload their own imagery, which is shown on a big screen behind the stage. Cool concept. Too bad the place was deader than our Friendster account when we popped in around midnight last Friday night (while PYT, just down the street at Jimmy’sLounge, was MySpace-mobbed as usual). To be fair to the Floor fellas, it’s a new club, so it just might grow into a hot spot — especially if they keep booking tastemaker DJs like Stephen Hauptfuhr and Josh Glazer — who spun last week. Check out the club’s Web site at www.thetopfloorlive.com.
From Web surfing to the real deal, we got a chance to hang with a wave-riding legend last week: awesome Aussie Koby Abberton. The boarder was in town to promote the award-winning documentary about his life, called Bra Boys, produced by XGames reporter/ E!’sThe Daily 10 host Sal Masekela and his Berkela Films partner, Jason Bergh. Don’t let the name deter you, either, Koby’s not a cross-dresser; the name refers to Maroubra, the beachside Sydney suburb where he and his three brothers grew up, and the film’s focus on the clan’s bloody brawls and blood bonds is completely compelling. So much so that it’s already been picked up by Brian Grazer, with the doc’s narrator, Russell Crowe, set to make his directorial debut. The flick’s private, star-studded premiere takes place this Monday at the DGA, but we much preferred the intimate screening we attended at the swanky new steakhouse STK on La Cienaga. The meat-n-greet and its adjacent rooms were superpacked, especially for an early Wednesday evening, and we spotted the likes of The Hills’Audrina Patridge and Tom Arnold in the sleek lounge area after the movie. The place has been getting loads of press for the celeb and party scene (Kanye West hosted his post-Grammy bash here), but the food is the real draw. We’re sure Abberton would agree the dinner we enjoyed during the screening was definitely not your average steak/shrimp on the barbie. Look for Bra Boys in theaters, April 11.
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