Tuesdays are always teeming with possibility when it comes to live music in Los Angeles. Of course, the toe-to-toe hipster hoedowns that are Dim Mak Studios and Check Yo Ponytail dominate the night most of the time, but other venues big and small seem to be drawing us in with diverse offerings these days.
Last night was such an eve, as we joined the sweaty, sing-a-long that was The Sounds' sold out show at Avalon and then, a more riotous shreik-fest, Punk Rock Karaoke at the Dragonfly. Both were the kind of gigs that disproved the old cliche about LA crowds: that we're too cool to dance, sing and totally let go.
Swedish indie rockers The Sounds may not be household names, but their fanbase is extremely fervent. Admittedly, we've been more of a casual fan since their debut disc, but after last night, it's clear they've not only left their mark on dance rock, they're aiming for more. The infectious energy of the hit single, “Living in America,” off the debut disc is an enduring anthem made for wailing/rebelling, as is most of the follow-up Dying To Say This To You (best known for its cover featuring MisShapes' Leigh Lezark and a pal, an image that sort of epitomized hipster blog-style photography and culture).
The new wave dancey appeal of the new release, Something To Die For, should keep them in the good graces of Gen Y music lovers, too. Last night, The Avalon was brimming with shaggy do's, skinny jeans and big grommet piercings. Also, a notable gay continigent. Everyone seemed to know the words to every song.
Lead singer Maja Ivarsson cuts a magnetic, almost androgynous figure on stage. Her wiry frame, bleached locks and angular beauty is imposing, but it's her sandpapery vocals that suck you in. The rest of the band match her energy on stage and offer sharp, synth-embellished instrumentation, especially on the new stuff.
The Sounds show ended relatively early. Many in the audience surely hit the aforementioned Dim Mak or IHeartComix parties (or Mr. Black above the Avalon at Bardot), but we hopped to the Dragonfly for a more amped up event. With a backing band that includes Greg Hetson (Circle Jerks, Bad Religion), Steve Soto (Adolescents, 22 Jacks), Stan Lee (The Dickies!) and Derek O'Brien (Social D., Adz, Agent Orange, D.I.), Punk Rock Karaoke offers punk fans the chance to jam with the best of the boisterous.
This really hit home when some guy from Brazil took the stage and declared what an honor it was for him to be singing (Sex Pistols' “Bodies”) with these “punk rock legends.” Other fans tackled faves like Dead Kennedys' “California Uber Alles,” Dead Boys' “Sonic Reducer,” Ramones' “Blitzkrieg Bop” to name a few, some better than others but all giddy and aggressive. There were no biggie surprise guests or “ringers,” as the week prior (Moby took the stage) or like when they band did its much touted Roxy shows, but in a way, last night was a lot cooler: real fans, real rock, real raw.
The Sounds will be call-in guests on our new Moheak.com radio show this Thursday, 6 p.m.
Follow Nightanger/Lina Lecaro on Twitter at @L_in_A.