View more photos in the “Nightranger: KISS Babes, Polysexual Parties & Solid Gold” slideshow.
HOTTER THAN HELL
Holiday weekend or no, club-hopping can be like a competitive sport of sorts, with the thrill of victory (and yes, agony of da feet) achieved — at least by Nightranger standards — not just by how many clubs we’re able to conquer in a given evening but by the charge of every moment, however brief it may be: walking into a room and linking with like-minded souls; catching a killer DJ or band set; admiring the snazziest get-ups and capturing ’em on film. Friday night, the stars (and striped outfits) aligned in an utterly exhilarating way, with each stop topping the one before it. Who needs fireworks anyway?
Though it was pyro-free, the debut of L.A.’s own PRISS at Spaceland was an explosive beginning to Friday’s bash bounty. The KISS tribute band includes a quartet of musicians that girl band geeks everywhere should be very familiar with: Sharon Needles (“Doll Stanley”) and Judy Molish (“Luda Criss”), both formerly of the legendary fire-lovin’ femmes Betty Blowtorch; Evil Beaver’s Evie Evil (“Queen Simmons”) and Bandshe guitarist Jennifer Paro (“Lace Frehley”). The inherent campy/corny quality of the cover band has always seen its apex in KISS (probably the most impersonated ever) thanks not only to the makeup but to the bodaciousness of the band’s songs and personnas. It takes a particularly gutsy gal to step into these phantom’s face paint and platform boots, and these ladies do it with sleazy ease. We’re guessing it’s only a matter of time ’til Gene gets his “Jewels” out to a show. (Friday, a local dude who dresses like The Demon — fake tongue and all — was among the KISS fans in attendance). Our rock-around-the-clock agenda meant missing the much-touted musical “journey” of Infinity (a female-fronted tribute to Steve Perry and the boys) featuring members of The Muffs and The Murmurs. Though we went our separate ways, we’ll get another chance to see ’em when they play El Chavo’s outdoor Summer Music series, Chavolot, for a “Skool of Rock” edition on September 12. As for PRISS, no shows are booked at the moment, but you can catch Needles’ other band, the equally fiery Psychostar, opening for The Donnas at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach on July 18. Psychostar also features ex–Blowtorch/Butt Trumpet guitarist Blare N. Bitch, which is notable bothbecause she’s an amazing shredder and because it shows the BB babes have moved beyond the conflict and ultimate tragedy that marked their best known band’s final days (the death of Blowtorch’s beloved lead singer Bianca Butthole). Fans of that group and really, all loud, badass lasses, should check ’em out.
RED, WHITE & BLEU
Ironically, our next destination was much prissier than the above: the return of A Club Called Rhonda at El Cid. From the bitchy, bodysuit-clad doorboy demanding to see gym-membership cards (from guys) for free entry to the giant paper cutouts of lips and legs on stage, to the dirty disco deck mix, Rhonda was working it hard. As we’ve stated before, this “polysexual” party’s previous locale — the Mexi can known as Guatelinda nightclub — was part of its lowbrow appeal, and we were hopeful yet skeptical that Cid could provide the same atmospheric compliment to the bacchanal. Well, it did — and then some. The red-hued restaurant’s old world-ish main room and floor were full-froth with fierce frocks and filthy moves before midnight, and the cobblestone outdoor patio provided a breezy, less flustered place to cluster and people-watch. Considering that there was so much going on Friday, much of it in the same neighborhood, the packed turnout was astounding. (Rhonda will return the first Saturday — not Friday — of every month. Next one is August 1.) Alas, we couldn’t stay, due to one final fete, the 4-in-1 event Come Together, down the street at the Echo and Echoplex, which saw Hang the DJs and Underground meld with two resuscitated ragers Transistor and Café Bleu for one night only. Though Bleu used to be in West Hollywood, it made sense to have the reunion in Echo Park, namely because the promoters who were inspired by the late-’90’s club (Scarlett Casanova and Larry Supercrass) now hold fort there with their own parties. With visuals and footage from Bleu all over the walls and some slightly older, spiffed-up former regulars mashing with the newbie Brit-pop kids, it was a blast from the past that felt relevant for the present as well.
GOING FOR THE GOLD
Obviously, Nightranger loves traipsing the town and dancing ’til the plugs get pulled (as we did at Bleu), but when you’ve gone out as much as we have over the years, there comes a time when last call becomes an almost cautionary sign that, yes, you should really call it a night. The sweet bliss of sleep always seems more seductive than some wild, after-hours anyway. Been there, done that, ya know? But Friday night, we sacrificed some shut-eye for such a shindig and ended up with no regrets. It’s pretty underground, so we’ll be vague, but on certain Friday eves/morns, somewhere on Alvarado, a party goes down ’til the sun comes up, which is truly the grooviest, most gregarious mixed mass of heads and sounds anywhere. Thrown by the Solid Gold guys most nights but used by other promoters for postclub chillin’, too, this party space manned by Transistor DJ Dorian, sees those in-the-know from nearly every club in town converge for on the DL drinking, dancing and sobering up before long drives home. Saturday morning, the party’s selectors, DJ Dia and Soft Touch (who also spun at Come Together), helped us cap off a winning night, with a climactic crack-of-dawn music mix. Maybe it was the just hullabaloo of the holiday, but we plan to rest up and return to find out. Wanna join? Go to Solid Gold’s MySpace for clues.