LL COOL J
MOZART SAID KNOCK YOU OUT!
Every year, Orange County plays host to thousands of musical performances—and while most of the time, audience members go home simply poorer and disappointed that the band didn't sound like their record, sometimes things get ugly. The last time LL Cool J came to town, an, er, incident at his Irvine performance underlined the dubious link between hip-hop and violence that the family-values set has been harping on for years. Except that, according to research by the OC Weekly DataLab, it wasn't LL's fault at all. Instead, Orange County fans are plenty capable of turning any concert into a ruckus, booming bass beats or no—and if you wanna ban music that gets people violent, you're going to have to start with Mozart.
MOZART: Bad posture was all it took to start a fight at a Mozart concert at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in March 1991. One uncomfortable audience member decided to stretch out and relax; another audience member complained that he was taking up too much room and tapped him on his shoulder to ask him to move. This sparked a verbal confrontation and ended with the sprawler—after announcing that tapping was rude—punching the tapper in his side.
MADONNA: When 55,000 bottle blondes decide to do something, don't question their judgment—just get out of the way. At a 1987 Madonna concert in Anaheim, four non-blondes ignored Madonna's invitation for the crowd to get closer to the stage and suffered cuts and bruises as the rest of the fans raced forward.
MAIDEN: In 1992, marauding metalheads paid little attention to that soft squishy something under their feet as they began to stomp, shattering one man's knee, breaking several of his bones, snapping a couple of his tendons and pulverizing a chunk of his tibia. The moshee won a $437,000 lawsuit against Irvine Meadows and the promoters, making room for one more car in the parking lot at the next Maiden show.
SOME NEW WAVE BAND: Orange County hated the '80s before anybody. In August 1980, Rodney Bingenheimer (remember when people actually listened to him on the radio?) and KROQ put on a new wave/punk show at the Casablanca Club in Anaheim. Locals decided to stop OC punk before it started. The bouncers held their own in a brawl and forced the homegrown critics to leave. But in proud Orange County tradition, they came back later that night and burned the Casablanca down. That's how we do it in the OC, bitch! (Charlie Rose)
LL Cool J at The House Of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-Blue. Mon., 8:30 p.m. $37.50-$40. All ages.
ELEFANT A LITTLE MORE
This new love for pop lacks the money, glitz, princesses and overindulgence; those are products of the industry. This is the underground trying something different, something less grave, less solemn; this is bands like Elefant and Ambulance Ltd. getting over the need to stand around with folded arms, tough and pissed-off. But why pop now? Shouldn't we be angrier now than we ever were before? Well, we are. So damn angry that we need a buffer; we need an escape of sorts. Think about the past few years: the Strokes, the '80s revival, electroclash, TV on the Radio, Morrissey, the Shins, the keyboards, the Cure, the synthesizers, the Hives, the Pixies (again)—it's all led up to the popularity of dreamy pop groups like the New York City-based Elefant, whose eclectic approach mixes acoustic strings with moody synthesizer and warm keys. The foursome's debut, Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid, is lush and weightless, a fluid balance between New Order and Morrissey. Elefant are one of the many bands digging pure jangle pop; they're also one of the good ones. "We get up and dance around the room a little more," lead singer Diego Garcia coos on the album's swirling opener, "Make Up." "We get up and dance around the room, you laugh." As easy as that. (Jenny Tatone)
Elefant with Ambulance Ltd., Robbers On The High Street and Golden Arms at The Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 629-0377. Sun., 7 p.m. $12. All ages. THE HUSBANDS GORE GORE GIRLS
Sarah Reed and Sadie Shaw have one of those sharky friendships—if they aren't constantly in motion, they suffocate. Or so it kinda seems, as Sarah tracks her and Sadie's two-girls-plotting back through a bunch of bands (the Vanishing, the Lies) and even a DIY gore movie called Charm. "We like to get shit done," she says, and when they got tired of all that other stuff, they got the Husbands. Sadie (guitar) liked punk, and Sarah (guitar) liked reggae—um, Hortense and Alton Ellis, she says if asked—and somehow they decided out of that to designate the Stax/Volt box set as going their common ground. And somehow from that Stax/Volt soul and rock & roll, they cut out the bass guitar altogether, borrowed some drummers, pasted on some long black bad-girl lashes and named it the Husbands. The Cramps were untouchable, Sarah says, but Detroit's lo-fi fire starters the Gories weren't, so the Husbands bent, spindled and mutilated a pimply never wave of '60s garage into the same box as the Gories song "I Think I've Had It" (off the Gories' 1989 LP House Rockin'). When they recorded their debut LP, Introducing the Husbands on Swami, they gave the engineer a Sonics record (Introducing the Sonics?) and a copy of the Irma Thomas song "Two Winters Long" (two Irma refs in two weeks!) and asked him how Irma got her voice to sound so deep and raw like that. And . . . it turned out it was done with a shitty broken mic, an effect that can never be reproduced, which is a good effect all its own. Now Sarah's saying something about all the crappy guitar solos on her LP—huh? She laughs because we obviously didn't get it: "The good-crappy guitar solos!" (Chris Ziegler)
The Husbands with The Catheters and The Burning Brides at Alex's Bar, 2913 Anaheim St., Long Beach, (562) 434-8292. Sat., 8 p.m. $10. 21+.
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