Locals Only

Nimbus Luna/SOMA

The Lava Lounge, Long Beach

Thursday, Oct. 19

TIP 1: SEND US YOUR MUSIC AND/OR FLIER SWAG. See that address at the end of this column? This is what it's for. Not a requirement, since we usually just show up unannounced, but it helps when we're feeling particularly clueless about our evening plans. If sending a CD, make sure it's in a plastic jewel case, as it makes it easier to sell to a used store if the music's especially rancid.

TIP 2: ANNOY THE ESTEEMED LOCALS ONLY TAG TEAM WITH FOLLOW-UP CALLS. ANNOY THEM FURTHER WITH FOLLOW-UP CALLS TO YOUR FOLLOW-UP CALLS. Be cordial, and don't grovel when leaving your message. Phone messages that include an inordinate amount of shameless begging usually get forwarded around the office so others can understand why we're rolling on the floor and laughing our evil, evil laugh. Do you really want a roomful of total strangers laughing at you? No, you don't.

TIP 3: DON'T EXPECT A CALL BACK. Maybe we'll show; maybe we won't. We have personal lives, too, you know. Not to mention about a jillion other bands who want us to come to their shows, which are inevitably occurring at the exact same time as yours. Besides, it wouldn't work out on our end if we called to let you know that, yes, by God, we will be out to review your show! That way, you'd likely be on your best behavior, when on any other night your guitarist might pee in your drummer's face, your singer might do the technicolor yawn across the club's soundboard, or your bassist might OD right there on stage. And stuff like that is always more fun to write about.

TIP 4: FRIENDLY PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF. Just look at SOMA, who, after much prodding, we finally got around to seeing on Oct. 19 (and, no, we don't know why their name is in caps, either). They were good, a four-piece that switched between hip-shaky rhythms and sultry, middle-of-the-road anthems—sort of a more adult dance band. Though one tune was too much like lite-jazz, their strength lies in their penchant for world beats. Their last tune began with this intriguing Spanish guitar/ conga blend, which dipped into a jam, and then their girl singer (who, meanwhile, had commandeered the drum kit) helped push their whole bottom end out, wiggling it around with an infectious pattern that came straight from a Venice Beach drum circle. Impressive!

Another example is Nimbus Luna, who call us so damn much that we now recognize their ring. This would bother us if they sucked, but they don't. On this night, their first tune had these fine swaths of thrash and feedback, almost like an old Replacements tune. This surprised us, since we'd thought they were mellower, but it had been a year since we'd last heard them. If they've changed since then, it's certainly for the better—they were quite the shit, a fine complement to Peepshot, the evening's headliner. Our sole caveat was with their singer's voice, which at times didn't always mesh with the music (the Locals Only doctor prescribes alcohol, which should fix that problem). Still, you could glean that hint of raw, Replacementsesque desperation in his vocals.

TIP 5: PLAY YOUR GIG. Incredibly, this helps, too.


The Makers/Fireballs of Freedom/Vue

Club Mesa

Sunday, Oct. 22

As the other half of the Locals Only tag team, I must take issue with the preceding TIP 2, wherein my good friend Rich Kane suggests that the way to get your band reviewed is to annoy us with phone calls. No, no, no, I say! You're annoying enough without six follow-up calls. One or two is sufficient!

But fear not, you irritating little cherubs! Rich seems to enjoy your highly annoying brand of overly persistent telephonic stickball, so where he's concerned, Game On!

It was with great trepidation and a couple of friends (in case I needed to call for backup) that I went to Club Mesa to see the Makers, a band who might hate me because ages ago, I said that their new album sounds like Meat Loaf, which it does. I might have said some other things, too. I intended to slink into the club and go unnoticed and see once and for all whether they're as good live as everyone says they are. Plans were thwarted, though, by the fact that there were more band members than audience members at Club Mesa on this night, so every time I jotted something down in my notebook, I felt as if I were shouting, "Here I am; come beat me up!" into a megaphone. Of course, they wouldn't really beat me up; they'd just give me dirty looks. Like the two girls who were hanging with them all night, one of whom wrote me a mean letter.

Which is to say that it was all a bit distracting, but not so distracting that I missed the subtle nuances of any of the bands that played, none of which had any subtle nuances. It was all over-the-top, theatrical rock & roll, from the big, shimmering, jangly shards of retro rockers Vue to the big, grinding, crunchy blasts of retro rockers Fireballs of Freedom to the big-rock-opera-with-a-smoke-machine poses of retro rockers the Makers. "Is this New York Dolls night or something?" asked someone in the crowd. And they were all good, these bands. "This one goes out to all you pretty things," said the Makers lead singer before launching into a song, and if you can stand to hear that without thinking to yourself, "Who . . . are . . . you . . . being?" then you probably would really enjoy his hip-shaking, finger-pointing, stage-stalking Mick Jagger/Prince/ Leif Garrett flamboyance. You can't help but be entertained when watching the Makers. It's a revue. It's a revival. It's an extravaganza. And it sounds like Meat Loaf. (Alison M. Rosen)



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