The Invisible Men/Throwrag/The Moseleys/Witching Hour
Lava Lounge at Java Lanes
Friday, Feb. 25
We have some mighty big shoes to fill this week. Mighty big. Shoes so big that they may as well be big, flippy, floppy, slappy, rubbery, orange clown shoes. And why, you ask, are we attempting to fill such gargantuan shoes? Why, you ask again because you are inquisitive and, it seems, kind of impatient. Well, we're throwing out our back in these enormous shoes because Locals Only creator and writer Rich Kane (regular filler of said shoes) is currently traipsing all over Ireland wearing nothing but an "I kissed the Blarney Stone and all I got was this damn T-shirt" T-shirt and acting out his favorite scenes from The Commitments.
And so the shoe-filling honor falls to me. I mean us.1 And are we up to it? Why, yes, we are. We began the Locals excursion by driving2 to Long Beach for some tasty guitar-drenched rock tuneage3 at Java Lane's Lava Lounge, whose fiery-surf-hell dcor reminds us of the fiery-hell portion of Disneyland's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.4 Because we are never on time and also because we encountered a maddening inability to find a parking spot in Java Lanes' huge parking lot and had to park across the street, we sadly missed the Witching Hour and arrived right as Moseleys guitarist Paul Frank, a.k.a. Bunny Moseley, put a pair of black, lacy G-string panties on his face. He is Paul Frank, hip alternative fashion designer of the moment, after all, which means that you, too, will soon be wearing panties on your face and calling it couture.5
Music critics always babble on about a band's music vs. its live show, and the truth is that no matter how good your music is, if you're boring to watch, you won't find many people watching you, and, conversely, if you're fun to watch but sound crappy, you won't find many people listening to you. Unless, of course, you're the fur-coat-donning, wig-wearing, craaazy-pants-sporting, pantie-clad Moseleys, whose live show is so entertaining you don't care what they sound like.
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Which is not to say they aren't good musicians because they are, and their set of surf-inspired Nuggets-era covers is fun to listen to, but the Moseleys, like Disneyland, are an OC institution6, and they can be as loose and silly and sloppy as they want, starting and stopping their songs as they please. "Don't take it all so seriously," their show seems to say, and, frankly, we find this refreshing. Plus, guitar player Rex is a dancin' fool.
Throwrag took the stage next. "It's a countrified sausage fest," we thought to ourselves7, because the stage suddenly teemed with six country/loungy/rockabilly-attired manly men, including one who plays a washboard and also including A.J., who used to play in Filmstar, a band we really liked even though Rich Kane didn't, but we're not Rich Kane, though we're wearing his big-ass shoes, and we have a right to our own opinion. And we liked Throwrag, too. We might have loved them, actually, because their music was sinewy and surly and burly and oddly sensual, especially when all six manly men would lean into the microphone and say "ooh," which they did frequently. And we still have one of their songs stuck in our head8, and we think the words are "oooh walla walla walla oooh walla ooh ooh ooh." We might be wrong, though. And we liked how their sound was both thick and twangy, which is hard to achieve, seeing as thickness and twanginess are the oil and vinegar of the sonic world.
But then we became distracted as men whose faces were completely wrapped not in panties but in what looked to be toilet paper and goggles began showing up, and suddenly we understood why the Invisible Men chose that name. The Invisible Men are one-half of the Bomboras—who we hear broke up—which was a very cool ghoulish surf band that lit stuff on fire and had go-go dancers. The Invisible Men had neither fire nor dancers, but they told a lot of jokes, heckled the crowd, and had a Farfisa. This is what we remember more than the actual music, which was surf/rock/punk stuff. One song, called "Kill Whitey," had a line in Spanish that we couldn't decipher even though we do speak a mite of espaol, but then it had the line "We're the Invisible Men, you assholes," which made us laugh. The jokes made us laugh, too, particularly all those falling in the timeless "sex with an 8-year-old" genre, but aforementioned A.J., a veritable font of tasteless jokes, had told us these already. We just couldn't keep up our interest in the Invisible Men, probably because their faces were completely obscured, save for the eye and mouth slits. And there's just something so creepy about the way the toilet-papery face wrapping got sucked into their mouths whenever they took a breath. It made us quake in Rich's big shoes.
Send CDs, tapes, show dates, love letters, incoherent ramblings, whatever, to Locals Only, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247. 1. In addition to having enormous feet, Rich Kane always refers to himself as "we," and I—I mean we—are not about to rock the boat. Henceforth I am we.Oops! Fuck! I meanwe are we. Yes,that's what we mean. All of us. 2. Yeah, and if you think it's easy to drive in these big shoes, you'd be wrong, wrong, wrong, sailor! 3. This is a Rich Kane™ phrase. 4. Just look at us referencing OC institutions! We're throwing out the mad props! Mad props, yo! 5. Yes, we, too, removed our panties from their rightful home and wore them on our face. When in Rome, people! 6. See this story. 7. Actually, we scribbled this in the notebook that we carry for the express purpose of scribbling such notes. And do you even begin to comprehend how difficult this is, especially if you have a drink in your hand? You have to prop the notebook against the cup and then make a note with the other hand—in the dark—hoping you can read the note later, hoping you're not writing on top of previously scribbled notes, and hoping you don't drop the notebook or spill your drink. Plus, all this attention to the notebook et al. means that while you're otherwise preoccupied, you will miss whatever it is you're writing notes about because this is surely the time that something exciting will happen. And if you aren't careful—and really, who is?—you just might hit a girl in the butt with your pencil, which we did, but she didn't notice, thank God. 8. Or should it be stuck in our "heads"? How does Rich Kane do this? How does he keep the "we" thing afloat? Note to selves: ask Rich Kane and the other Rich Kane how they do it.