By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
THURSDAY, APRIL 20
Ziggens back with a weekend of shows to douse a long absence with a couple of rockabilly songs, a couple of polka songs, some Pink Floyd zone-out moments, probably some loud shirts or weird hats, maybe a Mellotron, possibly a harp, could be a lawn mower—it's been a while, but the circus is rolling back into town. To the Fullerton Farmer's Market today and then with a Friday show at diPiazza's and Saturday with Bargain Music at the Gypsy Lounge. Funny: listening to this some months after the normal cellular regeneration process purged and renewed every tiny atom of my body that was thinking about or remembering these guys, it's strange how it basically sounds like the Obscured By Cloudssoundtrack with a little Santo and Johnny and a little Toots and the Maytals. Plus class-clown lyrics that lost-in-OC people who saw them when will love forever.
When we were young fuckups still unclear just exactly why we liked wearing makeup so much, we at least had GWAR, who formed in art school and who come off like a Paris salon—Gertrude Slymenstein and Henri Balsac—next to Insane Clown Posse, the Kiss-painted gonad wrestlers who led seriously confused fans through about 10 albums of gory clown-cult incoherence before revealing that the Dark Carnival (featuring the Ringmaster, the Riddlebox, the Great Milenko, sort of a Plutonian figure, and the Amazing Jeckel Brothers) that framed their entire experience was really just God all along. (Acts 26:25: "I am not insane," says Paul. "What I am saying is true and reasonable.") That is Michael Jackson-caliber insanity marketed for a food-stamps budget. And founding clown Shaggy 2 Dope on tour now with his new solo single, featuring mush-mouthed cursing and a lot of rhymes about piss plus disco conga whistle and canned 808 beats: "Fuck the Fuck Off (FTFO)." Which is just a rip-off of Exodus 32:10: "Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and I may destroy them." Auto modown the clown at the Galaxy.
AND: In further grown-dudes-in-costume-and-makeup news, Aquabats at the Glass House, looking stupid all the way to the bank. (Genesis 35:2: "Purify yourself and change your clothes.")
And in further grown-dudes-in-costume-and-makeup news: you locals will be heartened to learn that mystery freak Buckethead (real name Brian . . . well, don't wanna ruin it) [ed. note: McPheeters ruins it, left] grew up in Huntington Beach and then moved to Claremont, where the only known un-bucketed photo of him was submitted to Guitar Player magazine years before he would temporarily join Guns N' Roses, perturb Ozzy Osbourne ("Call me Brian." "Okay, Brian." "Nobody but my mother calls me Brian."), share songs with Death By Stereo's Efrem Schulz on his Buckethead & Friends record, and release instructional videos of him sitting mutely in some clammy storage room shredding so hard that contrails materialize around his guitar. When you stare into the bucket, the bucket stares back at the Coach House.
PLUS: Hemingway, Steinbeck and Jimmy Buffett are half of the six writers whose books debuted at number one on the New York Times best-seller list. My kids and my dignity go to Margaritaville University. Wasting away at Verizon.
Living Things are stringy rock hoboes stealing pies off Marc Bolan's windowsill. When writers use words like "sexy" or "swagger" to describe bands, it means they either don't know what they're talking about or they're really lonely. And when bands use words like "sexy" or "swagger" to get gigs and press, it means they don't know what they're doing and they're really lonely too. Hollow-body guitars if not hollow-body showmanship with these guys—a noodlehead glam interpretation that is just gonna end up so much makeup smudge a few months from now. At the Galaxy.
Oh, but showmanship: Cheap Trickrocked a lot of trailer-park Romeos with the most all-American in-love-with-the-AM-sound back-seat-make-out power-pop ever to eventually declare bankruptcy within these borders. They're county-fair now, but they were Steve Albini before—probably one of the only huge-ish bands of the '70s (besides Grand Funk) that hasn't yet woken up in a wet warm puddle of their own credibility. Like blues to me at the HOB.
Minneapolis' Atmosphere touch-and-go at the Glass House before a Coachella weekend with a new-ish single and an old record and that Felt collab with Murs—the first record where Atmo producer Ant really got to push his knuckles into song structure and not just beat construction—and a little set on Jimmy Kimmel. Imagine how much fun they're having? We wouldn't know where to start.
PLUS: Jared Leto's frat-rock band 30 Seconds To Mars at the Coach House with bro Shannon in there too, but more importantly: Jared Leto is playing the lead in a Mark David Chapman bio pic? Stu Sutcliffe sleeps in Lee Harvey's grave.
Back to college graduate Ellen Griley for her college opinion on college rock band Koufax, and she refuses to discuss them because they are fragile little men in fluffy scarves and need as much protection from people like me as they can get. "Move Out, Move On" sounds like Elephant Six goofed up for Vagrant, and that's from a career high in 1997. Your call, college kid. At Chain.
THURSDAY, APRIL 27
The Band trend-beaters Dusty Rhodes and the River Band take a load off down at Grand Ole Chain Reaction, advanced by quiet girl Rachael Cantu and her quiet guitar—cute, but the locals from Anaheim will out-cute her.
PLUS: Ray Barbee and his flyin' Hawaiian guitar stylin' at Detroit.
See Calendar listings for club locations. Also: be smart; call ahead.