Photo by Craig MortonBanyan
Stephen Perkins' instrumental Banyan project—it's sort of narrow and inaccurate to call them a band—gets to straddle rock, jazz, funk, punk, world music (flamenco guitar, Eastern modes and rhythm, African drumming) and even painting, courtesy of live-on-stage art by Norton Wisdom. On the first two Banyan records, Perkins (best known for his work with Jane's Addiction) recruited a wide cast of musicians, including heavyweights such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers' John Frusciante and Flea and Guns 'N Roses' scab Buckethead to create a sprawling sound held together by his signature slippery, tribal drumming. For the recent third album Live at Perkins' Palace, Perkins has stripped the band to its core live members: himself, punk legend and bass god Mike Watt, session man (Snoop Dogg, Sublime, Tupac, Salt & Pepa) Willie Waldman on trumpet, and (currently most visible in Wilco) hotshot guitarist Nels Cline. The resultant album jumps from subdued Kind of Blue to amped up Bitches Brew Davis—and that's just within one track, "King of Long Beach." To close the record, Banyan free-associates an instrumental version of the Stooges' jazz-inspired, proto-punk mess "Fun House." Live, the band is known to play through Coltrane's A Love Supreme—so they operate like a jazz ensemble, look like an alt-rock supergroup and sound like everything—and nothing else—all at once. (Rex Reason)
BANYAN WITH PUESS, OSCO FLASCO, WORK SUCKS AND FUTURE ANCIENTS AT DIPIAZZA'S, 5205 E. PACIFIC COAST HWY., LONG BEACH, (562) 498-2461. THURS., DEC. 16, 9 P.M. CALL FOR COVER. 21+.
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Agent Orange: still around! But Mike Palm's quarter-century-old, surf-punk guitar licks are still pretty tasty, too. Ask him, and he'll tell you his rotating power trio play better today than the group that recorded the classic OC album Living In Darkness ever did. That screams something about the value of endurance—hey, are you making any money today from that hobby you had as a snotty 14-year-old? No, you're not, but Mike sure is. They tour incessantly, all around the globe, representing what's probably the most distinctive, original sound to have ever emerged from this county—a zippy amalgam of Dick-Dale-inspired surf breaks and insanely catchy melodies, jacked up with a heap of slam-pit-worthy axe grinding. These days, you can expect their signature tune "Bloodstains," a batch of lesser-known originals, plus a slew of manic covers that could include everything from the obvious ("Miserlou") to the less-than ("Secret Agent Man") to the just-plain-bizarre ("Somebody To Love"—always ironic, since the pit usually peaks about this time). A classic punk band show in a divey bar—perfect for everybody from the just-turned-21 kids to their parents, who'll show up if only to drown in mohawked nostalgia. (Rich Kane)
AGENT ORANGE AND SPECIAL GUESTS AT THE PRESSBOX, 480 N. GLASSELL ST., ANAHEIM, (714) 522-8256. FRI., 9 P.M. CALL FOR COVER. 21+.