Pasta Bribery

Tribe Sapien/Boss Tweed
diPiazza's Restaurant & Lounge
Friday, March 2

So there we were, out on the town with a new buddy of ours, trying our damnedest to impress with our fabulous don't-you-know-who-we-are? celebritydom, when the notion to invade Lava Lounge proprietor Mark diPiazza's new self-titled club came about. This was our first venture into Mark's latest room—just a few stoplights south on Pacific Coast Highway from the Lava Lounge—and we must say that Mark and his lovely wife, Marilyn (who smiled sunnily at us and waved us in like we were family—and we didn't even have to pull our don't-you-know-who-we-are? celebrity routine!), have carved quite a spiffy joint from what was once a kitschy seafood place called the Captain's Quarters. Now they serve the same kick-ass Italian cuisine they do at the Lava; the walls are festooned with vintage advertising posters; and the atmosphere is, on the whole, one of warmth, comfort and invitation. And no one had to bribe us with linguine to say that, either!

And lo, there's music, too! diPiazza's mission for his new club is to book fewer of the wifebeater-tank-rock bands that play his other, bigger place, which is fine by us. This is a more intimate, less party-dude hang, anyway —a room aimed more toward listening and watching bands instead of having them merely supply the background soundtrack for spiky-headed boys to hit on ample-chested femme-bots. Which isn't to say that stuff doesn't go on here, too—there's just a lot less of it.

Which meant it was a lot easier for us to concentrate on Boss Tweed, a Long Beach band who take their name from a fabulously corrupt, fabulously obese, fabulously dead, late-19th-century, New Yawk City politico. And they were great—four guys who play very working-class, beefy, American rock & roll, right down to their shaggy-maned lead singer's classic blue-collar work shirt with an oval name patch stitched over his right nipple. They sauntered through a set of some incredibly good tunes about real, honest, emotional traumas. Take their second song, which was—and let's make sure we get this quote right—"about fucking letting go, and having been hurt one too many times and just letting it go away." Or something like that. Anyhow, we got his point, and we certainly could relate. And so could our companion, with whom we exchanged familiar, knowing glances on all the song's hardcore, pulled-from-pain lines. Boss Tweed's material feels awfully personal, as you could guess—so personal their singer kept hollering for people in the crowd to yell a steady chorus of fuck-yous at him, so as not, we think, to appear as emotionally naked and vulnerable as his songs made him out to be. Feh! Sorry to get all touchy-feely, but it's okay to cry, dude. Don't let the scourge of the American-machismo mindset hold you down! And really, when you've come armed with a superb song called "Poor Old Worthless Me"—a fantastic Stones/Faces rocker blessed with a killer riff tastier than a diPiazza pizza—there's really no need to play it down by intro-ing it with "This is for all the lonely guys who are looking to get laid tonight." But Boss Tweed were fucking fantastic. And no one had to bribe us with lasagna to say that, either!

Next were Tribe Sapien, a five-man troupe who performed with Maori-like face paint, which was visually intriguing, at least. Perhaps they should make sure people are spelling their name right, though, for we saw several postings in which they were billed as Tripesapien. And of course, "tripe" is a synonym for "worthless," which they likely don't want to be known as (Woo-hoo! We always knew those old high school English honors classes would be good for something someday!). Worthless they're not, despite the blurb on their website (, which makes them sound like a bunch of new-agey hippies. They say they were formed a few years ago when some members "went for a three-day vision quest in the mountains. . . . In the fossilized remains of an ancient ocean bed, three musicians had an epiphany that would lead to the awareness of homosapiens' unique tribal dynamic (past, present and future). The challenge then was to communicate these ideas musically through a 'rock music' platform (guitar, drums, bass)."

Yep, we thought it, too—the mushrooms they had on that vision quest must've been pretty strong! But Tribe Sapien go deeper, thanks to their penchant for percussion and assorted world-music thingies—even the occasional hip-hop sojourn. They whupped away on congas and hand drums; they threw down some sweet, ethereal tribal chants and scary-yet-spiritual war cries; they had a nifty pair of tiki idols onstage that stared at us with wild, glowing aqua eyes; and the beats they laid down were funky, fresh and ripe for prime ass-jigging (even though few took them up on their aural offer). And no one had to bribe us with ravioli to say that, either!

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