By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Those Aren't Words ... Nightlife and More: Jan. 26 - Feb. 2
THURSDAY, JAN. 26
No, no, let's move on.
Chicago blues session dudes and more appearing under the Chicago Blues Reunionflag as a shadowed supergroup of '50s and '60s big-city electric veterans, who not only knocked headstocks with the best—Little Walter, though that would probably be more like bumping harps—but also zeliged their way into everything from Dylan at Newport (Sam Lay and Barry Goldberg) to Monterey Pop (Nick Gravenites) to Woodstock (Harvey Mandel) and now the Coach House, where the train keeps a-rollin' and the people love to moon it.
PLUS: Moving Units flak-gathering notwithstanding, these dudes have always been good about remembering where they came from—Aron's Records and Festival of Dead Deer, if remembering works right—and so they get baby ducks like Lion Fever—three guys and one girl with absolutely equal Nick Caveness between them—and FM Bats—four humans slowly turning into werewolves and also Flipper—to open for them at the House of Blues, which might misunderstand exactly what is going on when the curtain comes up.
AND: Alex's Bar kicks off its sixth anniversary with the mighty Riverboat Gamblers, the fire-breathing, rafter-dangling Texan maniacs who gift Cheap Trick riffs with viciously acrobatic delivery, plus support from the Sultans and locals the Days End. Alex's is the loving sun around which most heavy LB-local music must rotate, and six years of unpretentious rock damage demands at least two nights of loving respect, so come back Saturday for Riverboat Gamblers (redux) and support from Throw Ragand Hit By a Semi.
Lifetime back like Iggy and the Stooges plus Mike Watt to show the peachfuzzers how it used to be done: Thursday and Yellowcard and New Found Glory or why do I even have something in my brain that recognizes those as bands? Lifetime had about a five-year run 10 years too early, ballooning out of basements and warehouses to . . . not much, or not the stadiums and million-dollar deals all the young Hüsker Düs got later. But now they are back and older and playing Chain Reaction to one billion legacy fans, if the crystal ball that was Hello Bastardstells things true. If you didn't get tickets, well, you had 10 years—what happened?
PLUS: Froggy-voiced Virginia old-cool-man Mike Stinson rides a little glossy on his recordings, but live—when you can hear the wood in the walls as much as his breath over the mic—he knocks out by turns winking or wistful honky-tonk country that's as happily sedative as cold beer in a bottle. A few writers have mentioned Gram Parsons, but—and not to ignore Mike's more reverent influences, or influencees, either, like that guy Dwight Yoakam who likes to cover his songs—there's some Paul Westerberg in here too: "The friendly girls have all flown the coop/And the sheriff has staked out my car/That's what it's like to be the last fool at the bar." Here comes a regular, right? At the Gypsy Lounge with backing from some of the I See Hawks cats.
AND: Kool and the Gang celebrate some times at the OC Pavilion; Walter Clevenger and co. bash out covers for Basher Lowe at Fitzgeralds; Crown City Rockers roots-rock Detroit; Alex from Laguna Beach and Shane from the Germs (it burns!) host something called Hollywood Nights at a storefront in Newport Beach called Hogue Barmichaels.
As lavender as a cowboy could like: Ditty Bops (flavor of a few months ago) do a girlied-up ukelele'd-out descendent of western swing—"Sister Kate" coming out of Bob Wills would have been an entirely different endeavor—and, ooh, maybe some of the up-tempo Patsy Kline kickers too? But who knew that beneath those precious harmonies were lyrics they lifted from Roky Erickson? Or Flipper? "You're always killin' something/Just by living on the earth/ . . . you might find the meaning of life in the barrel of a rifle/If it's pointed at a bird or pointed at your head." When one of these girls goes electric, this band will become awesome and insane. For now, their restraint underscores their substance at the Folk Music Center in Claremont. If you would like to hear other women playing acoustic guitar and singing about frightening things, you may wish to investigate Althea and Donna. Or Wendy O. Williams.
Oh, wow, Morningwood: If your music was at my party, how would I politely ask it to leave? It's fantastic to watch some management types drop quarter on quarter in the slot until something like this falls out and takes their big budget on tour—there's not much band to this band, but like Alfred Bester figured out, people love to see lots of money get spent as much as they appreciate any other craft, and so units like Morningwood (and Wheatus and Jackyl before them) get to suck up terrain like a sinkhole even though probably half the musicians involved don't even want to listen to the music. Funner fact: this band toured with Gang of Four, just to prove that there really are some things you don't want to catch. If you're 14—and you might be—then it's all right, but if you're listening to this in your rental car and talking to me about it, well, I see your lips moving but those aren't words coming out. At Chain.
PLUS: Opposo-Morningwood by the Numbers: Devo reducted through the Urinals one-note bug-beat and pounded through a pinhole. In a scary way: the flat pastel charisma of Stereolab or Young Marble Giants and the loud-fetish of Blue Cheer, digitized for maximum portability. Definitely a band that demands a little homework, but kids who do math problems with Rough Trade and Fast Product on the turntable already got the answers anyway. At the Glass House.
AND: Lemmy-come-lately Eddie Spaghetti leaves the Supersuckers to suck alone and tours his second solo record Old No. 2. The 'Suckers draw big in OC, but will the suckers support Eddie unbound at the Blue Café?
No, no, let's move on.
And some days since Ken the All-Night Rocker rocked into that long night: famous Flipside fixture and local character Ken Ramsey passes officially as a lifer, one of those rare punk-rock types who rides it to the very end. A touching Myspace page says goodbye to a Californian who lived killed-by-death till he died.
THURSDAY, FEB. 2
One week since Wilson Pickett: "Baby," he once told a writer, "I am a mean motherfucker. Don't you be writing nothin' nice 'cause you'd be jivin' people. I AM THE WICKED. Dig? I AM NAMED THE WICKED. I GOT TO BE THE WICKED." Gerri Hirshey writes some static think-pieces on species of lawns and aluminum siding for Parade mag now, but her book Nowhere to Run put her little British girl at dinner and drinks with every living soul man at the time, and she and Wicked Pickett shared some Chinese chow and wisdom that seems both happy and sad now that he's gone: "You know why a shark is such a tough, mean motherfucker? He don't sleep. Never. Not at all. Somethin' about the way the gills are built. Anyway, he got to keep that water movin' through him, he don't ever stop swimmin', movin' around the ocean, he stop movin'—bang. He's dead." So here's some rest and peace—feels a little weird at first, right?
See Calendar listings for club locations. Also: be smart; call ahead.