Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Live Music Reviews - Secret Machines, Jay Reatard, etc.

Here’s some of what I’ve been up to for the past couple of weeks…..

Wednesday 7/23/08: Lucero @ Spaceland
I’ve only owned one Lucero record, which I liked (not loved), but was still curious to check out their set. I was impressed; Spaceland was packed and their heavily tattooed fans were there to drink. For me, their live set was more compelling than that one record I own. Just a really good Southern-style rock ‘n’ roll band.

Sunday 7/27/08: Hypernova @ Little Radio
Hypernova’s an Iranian dance-rock band. They’re super tight and catchy if you’re into bands like Franz Ferdinand. Unfortunately I had to leave before Castledoor took the stage.

Sunday 7/27/08: Secret Machines @ Viper Room
My girlfriend turned me on to Secret Machines when we started dating. She’s known the guys for longer than she’d want me to say, so I’ve benefited from a lot of free tickets (Wiltern, El Rey, Avalon, ACL, etc.). I was a little apprehensive this time, because it was the first show I’d seen since guitar player Ben Curtis left to form School of Seven Bells. Their new guitarist is another guy who played in a shitload of Dallas bands, Phil Karnats.

I hadn’t been to the Viper Room since the Pink Taco guy bought it, and it didn’t seem like much had changed. By the time the band started, it was packed with big cornfed bastards everywhere. As is always the case with Secret Machines’ shows, it was ear punishing-ly loud. You know it’s a great SM show when Josh Garza is just pummeling the drums with those giant baseball bat sticks.

Secret Machines has always been a bit of an anomaly as a rock ‘n’ band because their guitar has always taken a back seat to the rest of the band. Karnats seems like he might change all that. While he didn’t step into the spotlight, he definitely held his own with Curtis and Garza. The set was a lot more hard rocking and less krautrock than recent appearances. And that pleased me. Can’t wait to hear the new record.

Wednesday 7/30/08: Jay Reatard / Cheap Time @ the Echo
Ever since reading about Cheap Time on Other Music, I’ve been intrigued. They started off with ties to Be Your Own Pet, but their record is a lot more interesting than the last Be Your Own Pet album. The Nashville power trio came out with loads of energy and garage rock attitude. The songs were less lo-fi than the record, but only a couple (“People Talk” and “Wildlife”) stood out from the rest. They’re still kids, so I’ll keep them on the radar. A suitable opener.

By the time Jay Reatard took the stage, it was ridiculously hot and quite possibly over capacity. He came out and immediately owned the stage. The Memphis trio was powerfully intense and much tighter than the early recordings would suggest. Live, the band treads the Circle Jerks-ish ground where metal (Flying V and all) and punk meet. It was a nice vacation from the (occasionally too) innocuous indie bands I usually see. The band commands the crowd’s attention without much interaction. He’s had some problems with spectators in the past, but he’s no GG Allin (or even Henry Rollins for that matter) out looking for a fight. I even saw him give a bunch of autographs before the set. After the show the merch table was swarmed (I saw one guy spend $60) and the bass player looked very pleased. Gas money to San Diego….

Download Jay Reatard’s “See-Saw

Friday 8/1/08: Viewing Party for Airborne Toxic Event at Spaceland
LA can be such a fickle town; Bodies of Water played an early set downstairs to a handful of people. I can’t say much, because I was at home watching the Kurt Cobain documentary, About a Son. I haven’t listened to Nirvana’s music in about a decade, but it was interesting to hear Cobain speak. The film’s not great, but if you were ever a Nirvana fan, it’s a renter.

I showed up to see Lipbalm (Sylvia and Dia) DJ. Saw a bunch of friends, and had a good time. T.A.T.E. did a good job on the show too. They’re hitting the road with the Fratellis soon.
See T.A.T.E. on Rehearsal Space
Listen to a podcast of T.A.T.E. on Morning Becomes Eclectic


Plesser said...

Glad to see you've joined the Lucero live in concert bandwagon. The funny thing about those guys, and lead singer Ben Nichols in particular was that he used to be straight edge. You never could tell that now considering how much alcohol he consumes on stage.

Hugo G said...

How could you say About A Son was not good? It was an original concept coupled with beautiful scenery from the Pacific Northwest, a good soundtrack...just what did you think was lacking?

I saw the Joy Division documentary and I have to agree, they made wayyy too much about the City of Manchester. The doc only reinforced my idea of Peter Hook as a thick-skulled idiot. Good bassist, but an idiot everywhere else.

Duke said...

i didn't think About a Son was good as a standalone documentary. if you showed that to somebody who didn't know anything about Nirvana, they'd be bored to tears. it does have a great soundtrack and the interviews are interesting, but i still think it's for fans only...