Nightranger’s post-Coachella recovery period usually lasts at least a week or two, but this year we found ourselves out among the masses again after only one day of (merciful) rest. How could we not be seduced back into the social flurry when three of the town’s happening-est hubs promised “special surprise guests”? (After all, this is a time when ya never know who might pop up.) It’s been eons since we’ve been to Dim Mak Tuesday at Cinespace, but its annual Ed Banger bash was the obvious swarm spot, and the disheveled denizens weren’t disappointed: Guest spin-wizards included DJ AM (who’s expanded his mash-up repertoire with some absolutely berserk, badass electro jams) and the boys from Justice (still don’t know if these guys are truly religious or not, but their mixes definitely have moments of transcendence). And by the way: If, like moi, you’re a 30-something who fears ya might be too seasoned to shake with the cutie-pies at this sassy soiree, think again, especially if you’re female. Our gal pals got their cougar on big time with an array of crooked-coifed, skinny-jeaned lads on the dance floor — and off. Now we just gotta find those boys’ blogs …
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The final Check Yo Ponytail party at the Echoplex featured
minimalist Erol Alkan
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Corey Parks and Lemmy, rockin' “ace of spades”
Everyone was having such a good grind, in fact, that we decided to pass on a set by Coachella ’08 alums the Cool Kids, who stopped by Young and Restless at 86 (the latest party from Matt Goldman, a.k.a. MFG, promoter of Dance Right and PYT), so we could bid adieu to Franki Chan’s Check Yo Ponytail at the Echoplex. The ’Tail marked its final night with sets by Dan Deacon (who gave one of Coachella’s most interactive DJ performances), Le Castle Vania and requisite surprise guest Erol Alkan (founder of U.K. electro-fave Trash and an innovative beat basher best known for his meld of Kylie’s “Can’t Get You Outta My Head” and New Order’s “Blue Monday”). When we got to the ’Plex around 1 a.m., Alkan had Chan and his farewell-sayers in full-on freak-out mode onstage — funny, considering across town at the same moment his mates from Justice (each is in the other’s Top 12 on MySpace) were spinning at more raging rival Cinespace. And speaking of the oft-reported rivalry: Any “hipster” worth his haircut knows that Chan helped start the Cinespace night, before a falling-out with Steve Aoki led him to do Check Yo (attracting a more Eastside-flavored, if similarly ’80s-garbed, crowd). Though the club had moved to Saturdays monthly, it climaxed as it began: on a Tuesday, with loyal followers bouncing to ironic — and seemingly conflicted — final tracks, including Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and Backstreet Boys’ “End of the Road.”
As we write this, we’re still beat from all the dancin’ we did the past few weeks. Thankfully, more adrenalin kicked in on Thursday, when we found ourselves strolling the Sunset Strip, first, for a little bonding with the gals who throw the Viper Room’s Girls School party (where the Lady Tigra strutted her stuff), and later, for the Roxy’s Camp Freddy, the glorified rock-star cover band/Indie 103.1 DJ dudes. Haven’t been to the V-Room since it was bought by the Pink Taco chain, but we’re glad to report that nothing much has changed at the intimate venue, including the staff (they’ve even started a record label, whose first release happens to be from longtime DJ/bar-back Jaime Scrap’s punk outfit, No Thanks).
Down the street, Freddy’s famous fellas — Donovan Leitch, Dave Navarro, Matt Sorum, Billy Morrison, Chris Chaney — were joined by Mark McGrath on vocals, and the first part of the set was pretty hit-and-miss. McGrath sizzled (and sweated — a lot) on Killing Joke’s “Eighties,” but Morrison’s and Leitch’s posturing at the mike was almost as irritating as their on-air banter (we used to listen to their radio show every Saturday, but the smugness and perpetual pats on the back finally became too much). When, from the stage, Navarro started hitting on a scary pancake-makeup- and fake-eyelash-sporting Barbie-doll type in a belly shirt near us, we thought we might not even get through the set, even when the cast of revolving guests commenced: Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt (still hot, by the way), Ratt’s Warren DeMartini, Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell… what was this, Metal Skool? Tom Morello’s jam, which we reported on a couple of weeks ago, had some of the same anthems and so blew this away, we thought. Then, things got more interesting. Poe rocked a Led Zep tune. Stephen Perkins slammed the skins with Sorum. And Steve Jones (in velour lounge pants) walked onstage with a sly smile.
“I’ve done a lot of douchey things in my career,” said a red-faced McGrath (well, it sounded like he said douchey, or he should have: Extra, anyone?). “But this is the coolest thing I’ve ever done. I’m about to play with one-half of the Sex Pistols.” Drummer Paul Cook then joined the group, and the band offered a blistering cover of “EMI,” a number that was only topped when the one and only Lemmy Kilmister joined the supergroup — along with Die Hunns’ Corey Parks and trashy dance troupe Darling Stilettos — for “Ace of Spades.” Okay, all the band probably had to do was drag the Motörhead man away from his regular table next door at the Rainbow, but still, the ’Mister rules, and seeing him onstage surrounded by that sexy circus was priceless and absolutely worth camping out for. The band promises even bigger surprises for its Thursday-night residency all this month. Ego à gogo or no, we’re sure they’ll deliver, so get your tix ASAP.