Audacity, Hanni El Khatib, Crystal Antlers
March 31, 2011
Alex's Bar, Long Beach
Last night L.A. RECORD presented a night of killer punk and rock & roll at Alex's Bar with favorites Audacity, Hanni El Khatib, and Crystal Antlers. All three have new records in the works and played bits and pieces live to an incredibly eager audience, with DJ Chris Ziegler (L.A. RECORD/Big Freak and OC Weekly contributor) spinning in between sets.
Hanni El Khatib is so consistent in his live performances that when you see his name on a bill you know you're in for a fantastic show. Always dressed in black with his hair slicked back and bathed in a blood-red glow, El Khatib sings about violent love, past betrayals, and crumbling cities while backed by his equally talented partner in crime, drummer Nicky Fleming-Yaryan. The duo rips with no bass player but as usual, someone in the crowd has to loudly ask, “So…where's the bass?”
Hanni El Khatib's stripped-down bluesy rock & roll fit in well between Audacity's punk and Crystal Antlers' psych pop. His new record Will the Guns Come Out will be released this summer on Innovative Leisure.
Long Beach local heroes Crystal Antlers played last, around midnight. A few days ago the band announced via Facebook that their new record, Two-Way Mirror, is almost ready and they'd be playing most of it at Alex's. So by the time they took to the stage the bar was packed full of excited, sweaty people, waiting to hear the latest from their favorite psychedelic chimney sweeps.
Crystal Antlers' new stuff rules as expected but marks a new direction for the band–it's much more straightforward pop than anything they've ever done before. Seemed like the crowd was into it though as everyone squeezed closer to the stage to take it all in. They only played for about half an hour but the show was so high-energy that the dancing continued even after they finished.
Critics Bias: Huge fan of Hanni El Khatib. Seen him probably a dozen times in the last six months or so and been dying for his full-length to be released for ages. Crystal Antlers are another favorite of mine, and Jonny Bell is one of the nicest guys ever.
The Crowd: Surprisingly respectful; most people were quiet and attentive during the sets.
Overheard in the Crowd: “Those Audacity dudes totally aren't old enough to be in a bar, right? They look like they're about 15, huh?”
Random Notebook Dump: Loving all the creepy weird paintings of freaks and bullfighters at Alex's.