Diary of a Loud County

The Year In Live Reviews

SUNDAY, NOV. 7

"OH! YES! OH! YES!" says the video screen; the stuffed animals are pushing out balloons, and Wayne Coyne just smiles in his suit, the punk rocker who finally took acid, the cool dad no one really had, pumping a fake fist ("B-U-S-H"; the other said, "S-T-O-P") and telling everyone, "This is your last chance to sing along all night." Or, "If you don't know the words, just sing something; let the anger out!" (for "War Pigs" with Peaches). Or asking, "Should I get the bubble?" They were the only band that really filled up the stage, blowing up balloon after balloon where Lou Reed had deflated before, everybody backstage moving aside so little kids could see the crowd out front. It was goofy, and we're all too old for that kind of thing, but maybe we aren't, and it's dumb, but it was just fun to listen and look up at the lights. Guitars everywhere, and girls were beautiful, boys were beautiful, sound guys were beautiful—it was a song from a commercial, but fuck it. You couldn't see past the top of the stage, but the confetti lit up all across the field. (CZ)

OHNO, ALOE BLACC

DETROIT BAR, COSTA MESA

SATURDAY, NOV. 20

Right toward the end of the set came actually-from-OC Aloe Blacc (who had been happily hanging out in the crowd all night) to do his part for OhNo's "The Getaway," just like he does on the album. All the laid-back smoothness that makes the studio version stretch out and relax was torn up by the Detroit PA; even DJ Romes' clipped "Get-away/get-away-get-away" came out a little heavy. But Aloe and OhNo align well together, OhNo tipping out syllables ("Explosions and bruises and contusions/And everybody else useless and so damn clueless!") like a welter of ice cubes from a bucket and Aloe leaning forward for the chorus, putting a little sing-song into his voice to keep everything from tangling up ("All we got to do/Is getaway"). People kept slinking away-- "Every hip-hop show, they leave after four songs!" griped one fan—but OhNo and Co. didn't seem to notice or care, deploying a sorta-encore—"We aren't gonna leave you like that!" he said—apparently (and commendably) just for the sake of artistic fulfillment, since there were only about 12 people left and the girls were dancing with one another. (CZ)

THE BEAT FARMERS A.D.

COACH HOUSE, SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO

SATURDAY, DEC. 4

The surprise of the night was hearing the other special guest, OC's own punk legend/nice guy Billy Zoom, singing lead—LEAD! Like, who even knew he could talk?—on three of his own, pre-X rockabilly tunes, one of which served as background music to John Holmes laying the wad to two chicks in a pool in a circa-1975 porno. The joy all these cats had playing together naturally spilled into the crowd, and the show reinforced the notion there was always much, much more to the Beat Farmers than Country Dick's goofy novelty numbers. Still, it woulda been nice to hear the Dr. Demento nugget "Happy Boy," which Mojo Nixon sang the last time the Farmers staged a reunion here. Also missing from that show was Joey Harris, who joined up in 1986 when Buddy Blue left as the band headed in a more mainstream-rock direction. After egos—and even wives—clashed at the previous reunion, A.D. forged ahead without Harris. Ironically, it was his spirit that was present, at least at the bitter end, when Blue introduced his band mates and signed off with "and me, Joey Harris." "Ooooooo," the audience cooed disapprovingly. "That was unnecessary," a woman behind me said. "He's a dick," added the guy next to her. (Matt Coker)

THE MOVING UNITS

V20 THE VENUE, LONG BEACH

FRIDAY, DEC. 9

It was the summer of 2002, and the Rapture kept stalling their major-label release and electro-clash was a word a guy could say to a girl without wondering if she were really 18, a time when driving to the club did sorta feel like a car commercial—yellow lights and fast-food fries and bleach-blond hair and the disco-drumbeat drummer Chris Hathwell probably snores in his sleep—and that was Moving Units. Fun till school started again. And now it's two years later, and they're stuck back there, and people who want to like them have to decide to stick there with them, and the reason every self-styled cool person in LA dips between a cringe and a wince when they mention the Units is—oh, yeah, besides all-consuming jealousy, since no one likes their own awful band—it seems like the Units went straight through the romance to the money when there was talent enough to have gone somewhere else. (CZ)

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