Photo by James BunoanThe premise was simple enough: show up to any Virgin Megastore on Jan. 20, chip in two bucks, score one of those lovely rubber bracelets that the kids dig so heavily these days—this one a cool cherry red!—and catch a free in-store show featuring some of Your Next New Favorite Bands. Except that aside from some sparse cardboard donation boxes and a banner heralding Virgin's nationwide 100 Acts of Support tsunami-benefit show, the record store at Triangle Square looked pretty much like it always does—empty.
Not helping matters at all was the lead singer of Body, a frail pile of malnourished limbs and unkempt skuzz bundled inside a tattered hoodie who insisted upon doing a whole destitute/insane-and-loving-it! shtick, moping to the drum machine beats of his band's very not-good music and speaking in hushed tones to his Aquafina bottle. Turning away from the crowd in a move that was probably intended to be dramatic but really just looked ridiculous, he motioned toward the benefit banner and garbled, "Tsssssssssunami!" all cave-man/scary-homeless-junkie-like before falling to his knees and screaming whatever lyrics he could think of to what was perhaps his best bet for an audience—the floor.
It was all terribly lame—and totally unnerving; Virgin spent loads of money and put weeks of planning into a slam-dunk fund-raiser, and this was the best they could do?—that is, until LA band du jour the Blood Arm barreled through the door in a frenzy of pals-with-Franz-Ferdinand flash and just-got-a-write-up-in-NME swagger, turning what had been an empty store for Body and the bands before them into a fashion show/dance party of which every MySpace hipster within a 20-mile radius was a part.
Turns out the Blood Arm are actually worthy of all the fuss and buzz, staging a fierce, no-breathers-allowed 30-minute set filled with every delectable post-punk guitar riff you've ever heard before— but just can't quite get enough of—and all the smash/tumble/kiss/lick audience interaction and jump-off-a-CD-shelf showmanship that's been lacking at shows in these parts—or at least Virgin Megastore—for far too long.
No word yet on how successful 100 Acts of Support was in the end, but thanks to the Blood Arm, it at least wasn't a total failure—and not just because all four band members bought bracelets.
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What was formerly the Taphouse, then Blue Agave and then Wabo'z is now Scorpion, the latest attempt at anchoring a successful bar inside the seemingly cursed property that sits next to Kikuya on the corner of Beach Boulevard and Adams in Huntington Beach. This time, though, it's not just a bar—it's an upscale steakhouse and lounge. With scorpion tanks, naturally. Oh, and a mechanical bull—of course.
Aiming for a rock & roll meets Western atmosphere—because scorpions, by nature, are so very rock & roll? The restaurant/lounge touts a menu featuring recipes from Sid's on Old Newport Road and promises the finest in dance-club mixes once the kitchen closes.
While a quick drive-by past Scorpion last week confirmed that this all is not, in fact, a hoax—the new signs glimmering out front had replaced the old Wabo'z signs, which were sadly piled in a heap of trash behind the restaurant; hurry and get your very own piece of Orange County history today!—the building appeared, unfortunately, a few weeks behind on its promised January opening. But when it does finally open, you can bet we'll be the first in line for the mechanical bull. Because if scorpions and sore crotches can't wake up this quiet little corner of OC nightlife—well, never mind. It's totally cursed, but that doesn't mean you can't have a few fun hours at Scorpion before it closes. Again.
Dig through the trash and pester the construction workers at Scorpion, 8092 Adams Ave., Huntington Beach. Need a job? They're hiring. (714) 654-6768.