Another Great Band Bites It

Photo by James BunoanGOFORTH, KINDERGARTEN
THE GYPSY LOUNGE, LAKE FOREST
SATURDAY, APRIL 10

There's one thing we've learned these many years, and that's how to cope with severe bouts of sonic depression. No, we're not talking about all the awful, awful bands we've been subjected to, but rather, the fantastic, incredible, stupendous bands we've fallen in love with that—for completely, totally selfish bullshit reasons like "paying the rent" and "needing real jobs" and "maintaining a constant presence in my child's life"—eventually break up, their dreams of worldwide aural conquest falling deader than George W. Bush's latest excuse for invading a foreign nation.

These are the bands that, for whatever reason, couldn't get signed to a decent label, never built a gargantuan following and weren't all that into weeks-long van tours. But still, if for just that one transcendent night on an OC or Long Beach stage when we were lucky enough to bear witness, or the moment when we popped that majestic CD (or tape cassette, even!) into our boom box—even if only one song clicked—these are the bands that meant something enough for us to want to tell the world about. Local music we wouldn't dream of selling or purging from our home collection, tunes that shall forever live among our private stash with the Springsteen and the U2, the Pubic Enemy and the Wilco, the Funkadelic and the Flaming Lips. And we've got heaps of it—the Great Unheard Music from bands too cool to be forgotten.

GoForth—once known as Go Forth Getters—were one of those bands, and it blows that we have to use past tense now because Saturday night was their last show. Ryan Mead, the guy who's helmed the band for eight years, says it's time for him to do something else (though he'll still do music, mostly songwriting and playing, as opposed to the guy-standing-there-singing-and-trying-to-hold-your-attention-while-you're-off-getting-sloshed thing he's used to), and so another great band bites it. This was a wake for a band that deserved better things—a set of GoForth's terrifically hooky rock & roll that blazed brighter as their hour-plus wore on, their excellence manifested in the physical presence of the orgasmically gyrating girl in the middle of the room who wiggled along to every note as if GoForth were the greatest band ever (we don't think it was the alcohol dictating to her, either) and our own notepad, which a mere three songs in developed a huge dent where we had banged it ferociously in time against the stool we were perched on. Every song thrilled, each a hit record that could've been, and by the time they wrapped up, we barely noticed that they didn't even do either of the two cuts we used on a pair of Weekly compilation CDs, "Suzy" and "I'm On My Way Out" (and that last one would've been so apropos on this night, too). They brought out old GoForth mates to play on eight-year-old songs, and just when things looked to be getting a tad weepy, everything skidded to a stop in a glory of strobe lights, a final dying scream from a band that's now only a memory. But on our CD rack, at least, GoForth are eternal.

Opening trio Kindergarten may be as good as GoForth one day, but probably later than sooner. They started out decently enough, launching a set of perfectly fine rock & roll with a solid guitar riff. Only real problem was their singer could do anything but. We know, we've argued this before (can Neil Young/Bob Dylan/Lou Reed really "sing"?), but it was as if this guy wasn't even trying, more like "lemme do my hoarse spoken-word thing up here whilst we play these instruments," which in turn made him seem jaded and disinterested. Too bad because their front man was a perfectly good guitarist, but the band needs somebody else to work the vocals. Really—he sings like we sing, which is to say he can't sing at all, outside of maybe alone in his car on the 405 when he thinks nobody else is watching like we do. Otherwise, the music was satisfactory, approaching Crazy Horse or even old Bottle Rockets in its crunchy goodness. And even though they blindly stole the "Rape Me" riff for one tune, they made up for that by sweetly covering Social D's "Dear Lover," which is hardly the Social D cover anyone would expect. Still, their lead crooner mumbles more than even Mike Ness. (Rich Kane)

 
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