If there's one thing the incomparable Rodney Bingenheimer knows, it's the importance of presentation and allure in rock n' roll. And while most of his faves happen to be of the female persuasion, he's been known to discover and break some rad show-men as well (The Ramones, Duran Duran, even David Bowie). He's still doing it too.
Friday night, he and DJ/ glam diva Asia Muka presented the latest installment of Romper Stomper at The Sunset Room, this one headlined by a group of charismatic whippersnappers called Prima Donna, a band whose appeal goes beyond snazzy haircuts and lithe bods… though they definitely possess both.
Prima Donna might be young (average age 23) but they've got some serious touring cred under their studded belts, namely a slot as the opening band for Green Day in the U.K. and Europe in 2009 and five countries in Asia the following year. Singer Kevin Preston -who also played with the Green Day side project Foxboro Hot Tubs– is the whole package: pranciness and poise, snarly yet smooth vox, and the ability to suck in fans (yeah, especially da ladies) with suggestive tunes like “I Don't Want You To Love Me,” (opening lyrics: “I don't want you to love me/I don't want you to care/I just want you to like it/When I lick you there/'Cause I'm beat and in heat”).
PD turned up the heat, alright. Especially when Preston started removing layers and then tore into Blondie's “Rip Her To Shreds,” dedicated to Rodney himself. (We're not sure a male vocal works on the tune, but it was a fun/fine attempt and the rest of the group –Aaron Minton on sax & keys , David Field on drums , Erik Arcane on guitar, ”Lights Out” Levine on bass- was tight as could be).
Romper wasn't all about rock boy bravado and groupie lust. Love was in the air too. Just before Rodney intro'd the band, he gave the spotlight and mic to a man in the crowd who promptly busted out a different kind of big rock (a ring) and proposed to his girlfriend. Cue “awww” here. [UPDATE: The proposer is artist John Miner who has done covers for the Weekly in the past. His wife to be is Carla Pegoraro. Congrats you two!]
Before that, we hear the previous line-up including Barb Wire Dolls (from Greece), Suddyn (from Ireland) and The Mulhollands brought their own wiles to the room, which was specked with the expected mini-skirted retro-tarts and eclectic Rodney friend list including Bananarama's Siobhon Fahey, party planner Bryan Rabin, designer Allison Burns, life coach TC Conroy, singer Ruby Friedman and members of The Dollyrots, Woolly Bandits, and Vicky and the Vengents.
The Sunset Room, just down the street from Amoeba records on Cahuenga, was a new venue to us (according to Rodney, “LA's best kept secret”). The ballroom is spacious, the sound is impressive and parking is a cinch (we parked in the Amoeba lot). It was a bit surreal to walk from the glittery atmosphere of the ballroom outside onto the adjacent Cabana Club where a bling-heavy hip-hop night was going down, but also kinda cool, especially when we noticed some of the bootilicious babes from that side of the building chillin' on the Stomper side with the glamster gaggles and vice versa. Unity through clubbing!
And speaking of surreal, the glam vibe inside extended to outside the club as well when we ran into Semi Precious Weapons' Justin Tranter (in town recording, he said) and then got randomly hit up by comely band dudes -UK to LA transplants we've actually been hearing buzz about called Purple Melon– to catch their show at the Roxy on Feb. 24. LA bands have become too cool for this kind of in-your-face, on the street promo, so we found it refreshing (they didn't know we were a music journo, mind you).
Will the Purple boys make our next Hot List? Check back here to see…