THURSDAY, FEB. 23
Dub outlaws Future Pigeon in probably their first ever Orange County show, though you will certainly remember singer Jason Mason and co. from their former Orange country-rock band Wiskey Biscuit, whose Santa Ana River Delta Blues did for the scrubby floodplains beside the 57 what Future Pigeon's Echodelic Soundswill do for the scrubby hills to the far back of Sunset Boulevard. Rasta dub it everywhere at Detroit.
PLUS: Like me, the Alkaholiks are bad at goodbyes; like me, they let the firewater do the farewelling at the Vault. "Last call" (pun demanded by alt.-weekly peer pressure) from this soon-to-retire top-10 California hip-hop crew.
KRS-ONE launches from planet rock to planet stucco for a still-skeptical-this-is-gonna-happen show at Quan's Rockin' Sushiin Fullerton with Philly group Jedi Mind Tricks in tow. This is like finding out the Jesus and Mary Chain played Huntington Beach: one of those surreal it-couldn't-happen-here moments that is apparently going to happen anyway, with a string of other KRS-ONE appearances (at the UCI hip-hop conference, at a party in Long Beach) that are just as off-the-grid. Next up: Masta Ace plays Plush Caf or possibly my apartment.
AND: Aerosmith at the Pond for the first of this weekend's wiener-rock spectaculars. But then again, who are we to diminish the cultural bellwether that is Aerosmith? From shooting that video with RUN DMC to doing that tour with Jackyl to that movie with Wayne and Garth to siring that girl from Lord of the Rings, it is a rare moment in our nation's history that doesn't have Steve Tyler's lip prints still sticky on it. And truly we are the stickier for it.
Before Young Guns and "Livin' on a Prayer" and even opening up the Daytona 500 (a landmark gig long coveted by the Art Ensemble of Chicago), Bon Jovi was just a kid named John Bongiovi who worked at a New York recording studio, waiting for his first big break . . . waiting . . . and then cruel fate shows up with a high school choir and something called Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album. Which is as vicious an indictment of American decadence as anything else from those post-oil-crisis years, and which featured young John on his first lead vocal, singing things like "If the snow becomes too deep, just give a little peep!" on a song called "R2D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas!" which was released as the B-side—the B-side!—to "What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb)?" Somewhere in a giant corporate tower in New York, the dark overlords of the recording industry watched as young Bongiovi non-vomitingly did everything the producer asked and decided that, yes, this one—this one had what it took to be a star. And then Bon Jovi sold 100,000,000 records and Ronald Reagan won re-election, and the true meaning of Christmas was redefined yet again. Wiener-rock spectacular #2 at the Pond.
AND: Shattered Faith weren't Black Flag or TSOL, but they had a little of both, skewing to the darker side of an OC punk sound with downer songs like "We Love America" (". . . so drop the bombs!") and guitar leads that snapped in and out like a live power line bouncing off the pavement. Also: dude from US Bombs is in this band, if you just hatched from your egg yesterday. At the Brigg.
PLUS: Toys That Kill do Wire drone and Cheap Trick choruses; wave a pink flag in surrender at Alex's.
Ain't it fun-day?
Social Distortion's endless hit parade continues this week—year?—with openers the Hangmen, one of those booze/blues/born-to-lose bands that sounds like all the dead people from the Cramps, the Heartbreakers and the Stones re-rock & rolling together again. Some of the world's greatest sinners here at the HOB.
Gotta be pretty optimistic to be in the Toasters these days: Ska is back? Well, some might say it was never here in the first place, bizarre over-caffeinated homegrown mutations to the contrary. But the Toasters' 24-year career is the fossil that can't be classified: an argument against evolution at the Chain.
The special mostly annual Stereolab small-club show at Detroit: the first real sign that spring is sproing in OC; Chris Fahey pokes his head out of his hole and sets up the tour kickoff show in a way-cozy room. After the final crisp notes of the night, it's all big gigs up and down the coast—venues with no personality, no elbow room, no nice places to sit—and no return to Southern California until a set at the Fonda in LA at the end of the month. Discerning discothequers know: Stereolab at Detroit is a thing to be appreciated and savored, a smooth cocktail setting for this smooth cocktail band.
AND: Jenny Lewis' collab with the Watson Twins wants to be the sweetheart of the rodeo/radio, but oddly this feels like some crazy '70s Bowie with a little pedal-steel to shine it up: gospel backups courtesy the twins, neatly die-cut pop songs and sad storytelling lyrics; if Ziggy Stardust was a Flying Burrito Bro, he'd sound a lot the same! Cowboy hats: Bowie loved them as much as the Byrds, right? At the Glass House.
THURSDAY, MARCH 2
Minneapolis knocked up as crazy a hip-hop scene as Oxnard; proof that it's not where you're from, it's whether you can get a copy of Mecca and the Soul Brother and an SP-1200. Rapper P.O.S. learned punk rock bass first and slipped into hip-hop later in life but (like a lot of people in Minneapolis, which since Slug and Lifter Puller must be like the most harmonious music scene going) still mixes back and forth (don't think crossover) by sampling Kill Sadie and having dudes like Craig Finn—described as an indie-rock Philip Seymour Hoffman—stop in to kick verses. LA isn't too far behind this (2MEX and Ikey Owens, Busdriver and Subtitle and the Unicorns) but still: a little envious of a city where rock and rap share a lot more than just space on the record shelves. Carole Sendaero, paging you to sing a hook. Some of the best Midwest hip-hop at Glass House.
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