Power Plant Records hosted one hell of a rock ‘n’ roll show last Friday at Knuckleheads in San Clemente, and Biff Cooper, founder of Power Plant Records live-streamed the entire thing on Reactor Radio.
A neon sign in the window that read, “Sorry, We’re Open” set the mood for the night, a perfect indication of the bar’s status as an underground gem. Sure, San Clemente has plenty of sports bars and trendy places to party, however, if you are looking for a space that has live music acts with down to earth locals and a cool atmosphere, Knuckleheads is THE dive bar to know about in San Clemente.
DJ sets were provided by Leigh Mass of Los Angeles based punk/death rock band Bell Tower Bats. Despite his gothic appearance, Leigh’s selection of vinyl included a solid mix of 70’s tunes, including Bay City Rollers, Question Mark and The Mysterians, and Mick Ronson, which had attendees dancing their asses off before and in-between performances.
Hailing from Portland, Bad Sex opened up the night. They played a barrage of power pop influenced songs and ended with a cover of The Ramones’ “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg.” While the crowd was thin at the beginning of the evening, Bad Sex didn’t disappoint for the local barflies that made it to the show early.
Next up, Leatherette (featuring Kristin Cooper and Elizabeth Boyd of The Flytraps), made their debut. With recordings in the works, the quick four song set served as a preview for the heat that Leatherette are sure to bring in the coming months. The all-femme “punk ‘n’ roll” quartet had the looks, but the real element that seemed to draw the crowd was the high energy performance and raw grit of the garage rock sound that emanated from the tiny stage.
The Sadists, who are also native to PDX, co-headlined the show. Considering the similarities in genre, The Sadists proved to be the right band to sustain the crowd’s energy for headliners The Flytraps. The highlight of their set was when they nailed a cover of The Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen In Love.”
By the time The Flytraps made their way to the stage for their first performance in nearly six months, the bar was decently packed. Some fans were surprised to see that the line up had changed, as former front-woman Marz wasn’t on stage. Instead, she attended the show as a spectator and even received a loving shout out from new front-woman Kristin Cooper. Despite the change, The Flytraps sounded great. The ferocity of Cooper’s dynamic voice effortlessly compensated for the lack of a second vocalist, and she did a terrific job holding down the fort.
If you were not able to make it for the show, don’t kick yourself too hard. The show was archived and can be viewed on the Power Plant Records website. Plus, The Flytraps have a lot of upcoming gigs, including a show at The Monty Bar in L.A. on October 6, and a slew of collaborations with Burger Records, such as Burger Oasis in Palm Springs this weekend, as well as the Burger A-Go-Go tour in early 2018 to support their first album that is set to be released in February.