By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
THURSDAY, SEPT. 22
American shit-rock claws through the top of its coffin this week: the still-alive MC5 tried hard at UCLA over the weekend and draped a shadow over the whole future, starting with John Wilkes Booze, who rip off both parts of the MC5 ("Black to Comm" space noise and "Sister Anne" rock & roll). At der Pixel Palace punk house in Riverside, which the Bellrays made good for a while.
AND: American shit-rock too with Flash Express and the Red Onions, who each fed the same stack of soul 45s (Harvey Scales/Rodger Collins/BW Souls) through the Funhouse black hole to get two very different bands that fit together the way the Stooges and the MC5 (or the Dogs and the Up!) must've way back when the when was. Flash X: hardest rock & roll with obvious cops from certain old soul songs (call it sampling) and a rhythm section permanently attached to either the phrase "James Brown" or "outta Detroit." Red O: MC5 had about one funk song on the barely released Gold soundtrack and the JBs had about four LPs worth on Polydor and the Red Onions are working from the one to the other; one bent melody beat straight per song plus something a little like some Hound Dog Taylor I heard once. Plus the Alleged Gunmen, who sound more like dub, at the Prospector, where American shit-rock gets shit-faced for cheap.
American shit-rock redux with the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, who cheat-sheeted their band name the same way Radio Birdman did but then took a long rest; they're back for only two new shows after three years because they felt like letting that fake-y garage revival happen without having to feel personally invested, though certainly all their friends called them up all freaked out the first time the Hives got on MTV. Name aside, it's fast rock & roll but doesn't do anything the Stooges or MC5 really did except probably set up a Marshall stack or two; fans of Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman please consult an Electric Eels rip-off instead. Then again, Rolling Stone gave it four stars, and if you like anything to which Rolling Stone awards four stars, certainly must the bloody heart of true rock & roll beat strong within your young and supple breast. At der Brigg in Huntington Beach.
ALSO: Royal Crown Revue for big bad voodoo swing at Alex's, as part of a going-away party for famous Ms. Jen (Alex's door gal/Barflies.net gal/more and more); lately, Royal Crown's horn section has been working amiably with Bette Midler on covering standards once performed by Big Maybelle and Hank Ballard, paving the way for Jack White and furball from the Strokes to make their eventual way into musical theater circa, say, 2014 in outer space. Also also: bye to Jen; we read Barflies lots.
PLUS: Richard Smith, who has performed with Kenny G. but sadly never the Stooges, at the Brea Jazz Fest at the Birch Street Promenade in Brea; Horse the Band at Chain Reaction the Building; up-and-scummy rocker band Bubonic Plague at Glass House; Keith Sweat put out a record called Rebirth two years back and that's always a bad sign, yet tonight he's sweet and sweatin' like it was 1993 all over again at the Grove.
LA Symphony are just about to release their second LP, Disappear Here, with guests Posdnous (De La Soul) and Tonex and production by various guys including of course Madlib. Is posi the word? Album teaser puts out smart lyrics and some tweaked beats: "Say what you feel or don't say nothing!" At Club Pepe Le Pue, nobly bringing live hip-hop to Que Sera each month.
So De La Soul is back and running and A Tribe Called Quest is mostly back and running and now Native Tongues gets more reinforcements with the return of Black Sheep, whose 1991 A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing delivered songs you know even if you don't remember: "You can get with this/or you can get with that!" was Black Sheep, along with "We don't punch girls/and we don't punch a clock!" and songs like "Flavor of the Month" and "Strobelite Honey" and "Similak Child" and about 12 others that were solid right through to the other side. Bad circumstances and show biz tipped them under for the past 10 years, but this tour is to support an all-new record, hopefully headlined with a "Rock.Co.Kane.Flow"-caliber single of their own. Underneath Scratch star DJ Z-Trip, whose new record Shifting Gears strings Murs, Aceyalone, a rabid Busdriver and more over his famously schizo beats. At HOB.
Dillinger Escape Plan ride the rim of that new wave of heavy bands so technical it's pornographic, having crawled up from the bottom of the black-T-shirt-dude-band trench to heights so high that King Freek Mike Patton himself put them on a tour with Mr. Bungle. A Hydrahead Records album means they're arty, and a Relapse Records album means they're hard; DEP break knuckles through Internet guitar tab and drop jaws at HOB.
PLUS: New such thing is no wave: Chromatics (not KRMTX anymore?) used to be pretty harsh but new two-piece tracks sound like NYC loft disco about 1981, maybe Vivian Goldman with half her effects filtered out. "Lampshades doused in gasoline": creepy/cool bass-and-LinnDrum pop for the guilty haircuts at Koo's.