Live Concert Reviews

BIG BUSINESS > KOO'S, LONG BEACH WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24 Someone out there is gonna stack Big Business' apeshit bass defenestration—Jared (ex-Karp!) yanks on those strings like he's gutting a fish, and he seems like a purposeful, no-fucking-around sorta guy who could well have gutted a lotta fish—on Big Business' knuckle-gnawing drumming—every time a vein pops, you know Coady just did something cool—and tally it all up as something sexy, probably just because the low end—actually, all Big Business is is low end, low end buried under low end until it blooms into a black hole and collapses in on itself—hits enough pink notes to flood some blood toward the ankles. But Big Business is not sexy, not even just on the raw brawn thing (well, one gal did say she found them "erecting"—can't say we don't do our research!); instead, Jared and Coady's thrust-and-response Melvins metal is more that woozy back-and-forth head bob you get when your brain starts to float after a long, hard, heavy, brutal . . . well, whatever. Big Business: music for nights that, no matter where they go on the way, are determined to end curled around a nice cold toilet.

Anyway: a stack of bass amps as mangy, ill-pedigreed and noisy as yard dogs; and a drum set that was basically a trophy collection for a drummer who has been fucking awesome as a career for at least 10 years. "This entire band is just a showcase for the fuckin' drummer!" says Drew from the Manifolds, nursing an erection of professional respect, and then something broke right at the end. Last song had such a minutely intricate drum pattern—Coady's jaw tight like he was chawing a ball of beef jerky—that it instantly sounded like they'd fucked it up: the bass started peeling off the drums, and Jared's face flattened, red and angry, into his neck as he tried to cock an eye down at his effects pedals; his stubble piled into the trenches in his double chin. "Fuck," he said. "Fuck shit!" The microphone was digging around in his mouth like a flashlight after cavities. "Piss fuck shit!" he said. "Fuck it!" He knocked the pedals from side to side with his toe, and everyone pivoted slowly away from Coady—hey, cussin'!—to see what he was gonna do now that the song had popped a tire, and he went, "Shit shit shit shit shit!" And that was it. The big, black, dog amps were panting, and Jared said thanks, thanks, and so on, sort of like he was disappointed. But on the way out, we thought about it and wondered if he didn't actually fuck up—it coulda just been a grand finale. (Chris Ziegler)

THE UNCALLED 4/KNIGHTS OF THE NEW CRUSADE/THE FLAKES/THE CHOPSTICKS > DOLL HUT, ANAHEIM SATURDAY, JUNE 26 What goes best with a Tupperware cup full of wine? Besides a pounding hangover the next day: cheap thrills, that's what, and the cheaper the better! No dollars down got us the Uncalled 4 (a.k.a. Satan's Cheerleaders) up first, a trio from Texas (wink-wink!) so lo-fi they only show up on subsonic radar. But the guitar player had pretty twang and pretty elbow-length brown hair, parted down the middle, and the drummer looked like he should be digging through the Cramps' garbage cans—probably has, considering the Uncalled's infrequent public appearances. By the time we looked up from our empty Tupperware answer to life's emptiness, the Knights of the New Crusade were clanking onstage: if you thought it was tough trying to drive with a neck brace, try playing a musical instrument in armor! Full suits, even! This is Mike Lucas' (née Phantom Surfers) new shtick: How can you not LOVE a sword-wielding apostle leading his choir through fundamentalist garage hits such as "Dangers of Dating" and "Ain't No Monkeys in My Family Tree," during which an orange gorilla tripped off the stage and over a sieg-heiling sinner? The Flakes sassed up next with no introduction but a sonic boom—they out DMZ'd DMZ (Boston's archetypal rock & roll band) with a savage backbeat—courtesy drummer Russell Quan, who's famous mainly to losers—that made us dance like we were drunk, which we were. The Flakes do every fuzzy fave you'd find on a Norton Records Pacific Northwest trash-o-pological singles comp, except less presentably: these guys pound harder than the puke hitting the porcelain the next morning. Best part: they only came down from SF to visit the Buena Park record swap and sort of resignedly figured, well, since they were already doing the drive, they might as well play the show. Suckers—cheap all the way down the 5. (James Bunoan)
 
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