THURSDAY, MARCH 16
Korn: D-E-V-O at the Long Beach Arena.
Hey, good lookin': "Rhinestones and Twangin' Tones" opens in a flurry of sparkle and steel guitars at the Fullerton Museum Center, where collector Mac Yasuda opens his vaults full of Nudie suits—thee cowboy drag of choice; Botany 500 for the Texas playboy set—and famous guitars for an exhibit that's a loving look at the garish and glorious years of country music. Wear sunglasses for safety, but make sure they have rhinestones on them, too.
PLUS: St. Whiskey With a Beer Back Day at Alex's with very Ubu locals Blow Up Blow; Bone Thugs 'n' Harmony at the Vault.
Falling spikes pin Warlocks to the one-note—maybe two on the pop songs—repetition tradition that's one of the best legacies delivered from the '90s to us people of the future: between Slaughtahouse and Forged Prescriptions, I could satisfy every emotional need I might ever develop. Shoegaze was a weird term for bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain who used to hit people with rakes and bundle poisonous baby snakes with their 45s, but I still like a band that's just basically a big ol' fur coat—wrap you up in a big fuzz sound and go to sleep at the HOB. With the Sisters of Mercy.
Toots and the Maytals made their American mark after the Clash covered their "Pressure Drop"—delivered in the original with a Sam Cooke-style sad smile—but those Brit boys couldn't have sunk with that kind of original material. Reggae was about one beat out from American funk and soul, part of the global push-pull that put James Brown in Zaire and Fela in LA, and Toots and the Maytals were a band big enough to borrow the best from everybody. If "I Shall Be Free" didn't start in Otis Redding, it's only because the pelican dropped the baby an ocean too early. And "54-46 Was My Number" has a bass line that pads on cat paws down the stairs, makes you pop up your feet just so you don't trip over it—"Give it to me four times!" honks Toots and POW!-POW!-POW!-POW! like James Brown, and then the organ comes thickly dripping in—hot-wax melody for some of the hottest wax of 1971. "I said, 'Yeah!'" at the funky HOB.
Anti-Flag is all right because someone has to teach kids the things they won't ever learn in school—I actually don't even know why we have schools anymore; considering my health teacher once told us the anus was used to hold frozen water (which actually offered chilling insight into his character and posture), they should just teach kindergartners to use Wikipedia and check back in 16 years—but man, suffer this as the shittiest fucking music, garbage octaves over dried-up power chords, suffer, which is what happens when your politics and your record collection both zero out about 1977, and that's being generous because Anti-Flag sound like they listened back to Crimpshrine and Operation Ivy and then decided homework was boring. Someone once said punk was so liberating because it freed rock from the love song—true if you're a Raincoat or a Minuteman, untrue if you're a Generation X—but a) rock and punk both could have used more love songs anyway and b) the Beatles sang about murder and drugs more than Charles Manson ever did. Punk worked because it was shockingly easy to play, but a lot of people took that to mean they didn't ever have to learn anything else; you bands can be political for me by trying as hard as you can to put something as ambitious and honest and new and true into the world as you can, and you don't need to make bad rhymes like chief/thief to do that. Said a guy who freed himself from love songs about 1968, "The people, they are dying, and somehow you help them live." I ain't marching anymore to the HOB, who are just piling on the shows of note this week.
Where did my spring go?
Ah, what the shit? An Albatross makes the music the Locust would smoke if they were less ambitiously human: fat boa organ runs, MC5 hair-farming, songs that clock in low minutes and not low seconds, probably lots of fluorescent colors and makeup and shirtlessness—one of those bands that makes a big deal about "sweat" and "energy" and revels in same. At the Glass House.
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THURSDAY, MARCH 23
Beat club with the Makes Nice, who absorbed the guy from one-man soul revue Harold Ray Live In Concert into the 2006 redux of the Datsuns, themselves the excellent 2002 redux of "La-La-La-Lies" and "How Does It Feel to Feel" and "Sorry" (Easybeats edition). Psych pop by the elements the same way Screeching Weasel did the Ramones: with love and because they could. At Alex's.
PLUS: Glitchy microchip pop from the Dirty Projectors, organizing the postal service for Brian Wilson's American pastoral. It might get boring, but at least it isn't always pretty; at Detroit with support by the kitty-cats in Senior Recreation.
AND: Rap grandpa Too $hort revisits the West Coast at the Vault.
See Calendar listings for club locations. Also: be smart; call ahead.