[Note that this is culled from a few random scribblings during the shows that I’m trying to decipher now, my fuzzy memory, plus a quick crawl through their MySpace pages. It was the first time I had seen any of these folks, and I was only marginally familiar with some of their music beforehand, so I’m afraid these won’t be terribly intelligent reviews. Nor especially useful in any way. But suffice it to say they were all superb. The one exception may have been “Terrapin,” but that might just be personal preference, since a quick look at their MySpace page tells me they’re quite popular.]
P.S. If you enjoy laughing over other people’s misery, you can read my L.A. trip review.
Milk – at Vista Theatre, Los Feliz
Yes, I know, it’s a movie and not a band, but Victor and I decided to see this when it became apparent that I was too sick to drive down on my own to Long Beach to see The Henry Clay People, and no one wanted to go with me. I had just learned that they’ll be supporting Airborne at two shows I already have tickets for, so I’ll get to see them in March anyway. So onto the movie… it was excellent, and very interesting for me, as I didn’t know the story of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk at all. Which leads me to say that even if you’re not familiar with his history and the events leading up to his assasination (along with Mayor George Moscone) by San Francisco Supervisor Dan White, you should try to see this film, as it’s extremely well done, and written in such a way that you don’t have to be at all familiar with the story. Sean Penn does a amazing job and delivers an intense and heartfelt performance in the lead role.
The Slidebar, Fullerton – Friday, December 19, 2008
The Union Line – local Orange County band, wasn’t familiar with them at all, but I was impressed enough to buy their CD from them after their set. From their MySpace page, I can tell you they consist of: Dickie, Jojo, “The” Tony, Johnny, and Brother Bear, and they were surprisingly good. They have a self-produced CD out, and I see that they’re touring with Voxhaul Broadcast (yeah!) and a band called Local Natives, and will be playing at a lovely little dive here in Boston (Cambridge) called T.T. The Bear’s Place a week from today. I will definitely try to see that show. Even though it’s on the same night as the Season 7 premiere of “24”. Now there’s dedication for ya.
Deadly Syndrome – I was so happy for a second chance to see this wonderful band after missing that “Sweater Festival” thing at Echo. I had gotten to know them on MySpace, and then sent off for their debut CD The Ortolan (and also picked up this fantastic live at Spaceland CD. They were every bit as marvelous “in-person” as I thought they would be. “Wolves in the Garden”… “Animals Wearing Clothes”… “Eucalyptus”… wow, wow, wow! I seriously hope they can tour with someone, anyone, and play here in Boston. Seriously, I’d pay to see a really bad band in order to see these guys open, if I had to.
Earlimart – Another band I had become familiar with on MySpace, then purchased their CDs, and dreamed of seeing live. Whereas with The Deadly Syndrome I was bouncing around (and trying to take pictures at the same time – go ahead and try that), with Earlimart, I was focusing intently, wishing I had the lyrics in front of me. They performed as a 3-piece this night, and sounded wonderful. I’m trying to recall now if Ariana sang lead vocals for more than one song… but she has a really nice voice. There’s a lovely performance of theirs from back in July at Amoeba Records up on the Majordomo site.
Echo Curio, Echo Park – Saturday, December 20, 2008
Soul Junk – wacky psychedelic rock… two guys with helmets and light antennas, lead singer and 10-year-old (?) drummer… all really great.
Marshweed & Sunshine (a.k.a Heather Lockie and Shawn Lockie) – incredibly engaging; I sat there transfixed… feminist musical tirade against the evils of social morees and shaving… a traditional sea shanty rewritten as a loving ode to Barack Obama… an intense and beautiful song written by “Sunshine” a.k.a. Shawn (her very first song, as I learned – incredible!), which brought me to tears. And they’re sisters.
Spaceland, Silver Lake – Sunday, December 21, 2008
Summer Darling – I have to first explain about this show. We had no intention of going to Spaceland this night. We had driven into Hollywood (far too late, as we discovered) to see this special Christmas show at The Hotel Cafe. Discovering a line of people outside and soon learning it had sold out, we were at a loss at what to do, so I suggested Spaceland, which I think is always a good bet. The band playing when we arrived was Summer Darling, and they were really good. Now, I realize that’s a lame thing to say, but I wasn’t familiar with their music at all, and am still acquainting myself with them via MySpace. But I really enjoyed what I heard that night, and Victor did also (which says a lot, because he was even sicker than I was at that point).
The Terrapin – This band neither of us cared for, though it might have been just a personal preference thing, as I see now on their MySpace page, they seem to have a decent following of fans. It’s kinda funny – when we saw them listed, we were thinking they might be some sort of Grateful Dead cover band, or at least influenced by (they’re not either). Have a listen for yourself. I’m never one to cast judgement; so much of music appreciation comes down to personal taste. Let us not forget: I’m the only person I know who likes Say Yes To Apes.
Vaudeville – Again with the band names, this one sounds like a traveling circus. And in a sense, I suppose they are, but in a very good psychedelic/prog sort of way. Instruments mentioned on their MySpace page include: guitar, banjo, mandolin, tin whistle, clarinet, bass, keyboards, trumpet, drums, marimba and vibraphone. I don’t recall all of those in their live performance, but I do remember them being excellent musicians, and again, we both really enjoyed them. I’ll also say here that Spaceland is a fantastic venue.
Spaceland, Silver Lake – Monday, December 22, 2008
Adeline & the Philistines – lovely, very distinctive vocals… superb sound with Adeline Park on those gorgeous vocals – and guitar, Aaron Kyle on lead guitar, Jim Putnam on bass, Stevie Treichel on drums, and Brian Cleary on keyboards. Or at least I think so. Because Brian told me that was their first show with a new lineup, I see additional people listed on their MySpace page, and between that and trying to figure out who plays in which other bands (Radar Bros., Tables & Chairs, Mt. Wilson Repeater, the Movies, Le Switch, Joe Lies, Panty Lions??), I’m completely confused now. But they’re really good. The three ladies from The Damselles made a guest appearance onstage for a final Christmas song.
Voxhaul Broadcast – funky, psychedelic… “loose change” = serious voodoo… nice mix of gypsy stomp and pretty, swirling melodies… talking heads came to mind somewhere in the middle of their set, but I honestly don’t know why. Loved them. Yet another band I’ve been enjoying on MySpace, and a great joy to finally be able to see live.
The Movies – no notes whatsoever, but I know I really enjoyed their set. I think I was completely blissing out at this point. Yeah, I know, you’d think I live in Kansas or something and not Boston, where there’s a very vibrant music scene. I don’t know what it is, but the times I’ve ventured out, it just didn’t feel as inviting, and I always find the bands here to be very “noisy and thrashy”, which I’m not always in the mood for. Anyway, their new CD “Based On A True Story” is now out, and you should buy it, ’cause it’s really f*cking good. They’re a terrific live band as well. I can see they have a rabid following, ’cause Spaceland was packed to the rafters, and it was a hell of a great time. Contact them, where else, via MySpace.
The Damselles – I said it earlier, but I’ll say it again: I’m not a huge fan of ’50s music, but I really liked these guys (and gals). Lots of fun live. Great harmonies from the three ladies. From what I can gather, perusing their MySpace page, it’s the three of them and then I guess The Todd Clifford Four is their “backing band” (I mean that with no disrespect — they seriously rocked out!).
* Not counting The Airborne Toxic Event at Knott’s Berry Farm. share this: