Tuesday, December 27, 2005

LA Record Crunk-mas Party

Just having a larf.

Comedy Cavalcade @ Lucy's Laundromat
Wednesday, December 14

Competing with a muted but subtitled rerun of Lost, while toddlers rode by on scooters, several sad-sack comedians tried to catch their big break on a scuffed, linoleum stage. Set up in front of the pay-toilet with an ice cream cone mic funneled through a distorted guitar amp and all the self-confidence one might expect from such a scenario, each comedian presented their case as best as possible to an audience of sandwich-eating, fabric softeners. When jokes weren't abruptly cut-off, due to a sudden realization of the inappropriateness of the punch line, they were often met with as many groans as applause. While many people ignored the comedians out of disinterest and impatience, most were ignoring them out of respect (if not for the comedian then at least for themselves). Granted there were some funny lines but if you are standing in a laundromat with a mic in your hands surrounded by indifferent strangers, a fully operating Starbucks and a Subway and you can't think of something amusing to say you might be in the wrong "profession". (SOC)

The Sound not the Fury

Fury @ LACMA
Tuesday, January 3 @ 1pm

Every Tuesday LACMA plays host to the greatest bargain matinee in town. You can spend an air-conditioned afternoon amongst the Fairfax district’s trendiest AARP scenesters trading rumors and Werthers for two dollars and an aspirins worth of patience. This week the movie is “Fury” a mid-1930s noir mob pic starring Sylvia Sidney and Spencer Tracy under the direction of everyone’s favorite eternally monocled Austrian, Fritz Lang. Aside from being one of Lang’s first American made films it also stars a scruffy young Toto twenty-one dog years prior to his poppy-sniffing, wizard-hassling breakthrough. Surround yourself with fidgety, curmudgeons who remember seeing this movie in the theater on its original release and learn about how, for a mere three nickels, a family of twelve could enjoy a moving picture with enough peanut brittle and Cel-Ray to make you forgo dinner. It sure beats the Grove. (SOC)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Saffron is ok.

Donovan book signing @ Tower on Sunset
Monday November 28

In town to promote an autobiography (part of a publicity blitz that also included a concert the following night) America’s favorite Welsh troubadour Donovan came to Sunset to sign copies of his tome. But who are these crumpled and worn, Neil Young-looking old farts shuffling around Tower records dressed in velour and grasping weathered copies of “From a Flower to a Garden”? Where are these guys the rest of the year? Long after they’re dead the smell of patchouli and burnt banana peels will emanate from their bones. If this is the Devendra crowd in forty years, my kids are going to give me a real hard time(SOC)

dios and the Belmonts

dios (malos)@ El Rey
November 19, 2005 w/ Gran Ronde, Simon Dawes, Goldspot

Plagued by health problems (where’s jimi?), managerial problems (where’s the brown M&M’s?) and even support problems (swhere’s Swords?) Hawthorne’s own LA Record cover models, dios (malos), finally return home to sleep in their own beds. (Who are these guys, the Dodgers?) Before doing so they’re going to play one more set of lackadaisical, irony-full, drug-fueled, van-fermented pop for all those who turn out on the Miracle Mile. Their latest record features a dozen tracks from the dios (malos) vault newly recorded by northwestern pretty-boy, Phil Ek. From the “Give Peace a Chance” sing-alongs to the fuzzed-out vocoder rock, their second self-titled disc is the (nearly) balls out companion piece to their first – a moody record awash in rainy interludes and low-level mumblings. Before they burn all their bridges in LA stop by the show and bring them some brownies. But if you know what’s good for you don’t call them “sunny”. Shit, don’t even call them “partly cloudy”.(SOC)

Calvin and slobs

Calvin Johnson @ the Smell
December 4 w/ Lavender Diamond

It was about a year ago that I witnessed four straight nights of Calvin magic in the foggy trails of northern California (Hello Chico!). By the end of those four nights I still had no idea what this guy was about. Playing solo with an acoustic guitar he would stop and make long, fluid movements with his arms in a sort of rock and roll tai chi continuing the song a cappella with his baritone voice filling whatever all ages warehouse we happen to be in. It was mesmerizing, head-scratchingly fantastic. This is the same guy who runs K Records. This is the same guy who produced One Foot in the Grave. This is the guy who put Olympia on the map (aside from, you know, Levi Smith). With the business/political sensibilities of Steve Albini melded with the mysterious allure of Andy Warhol, Calvin stands as a demure, non-threatening Svengali of the northwestern sound. Catch the vegan-shoe wearing, dapper cadaver at the Smell and pay your respects. Lo-fi royalty within walking distance of skid-row! (SOC)

No HMO for the LMO

Charlie Haden @ the Echo
Tuesday, December 13

Since establishing himself as the preeminent bass player for the avant-garde (Ornette Coleman, Archie Schepp) Charlie Haden has become a fixture of the Los Angeles music scene for over five decades: teacher, bassist, Ebert impersonator. Responsible for creating worthwhile music (Quartet West) and musicians (Petra, Rachel), he’s served as a more grounded but equally significant Frank Zappa for the chemically balanced. This week Charlie reforms his Liberation Music Orchestra featuring the fine tenor saxophonists Miguel Zenon and Tony Malaby for two sets at the Echo. Started in 1968 and reforming intermittently throughout the years this band only gets together when the political climate demands it and right now the screams can be heard for miles. This might be the best angry leftist intellectual, bass-bruising, Bush-bashing, big band in the country. Isn’t protesting fun? (SOC)

Marry me Emmylou.

Emmylou Harris @ Walt Disney Concert Hall
Monday, December 12th

With a crowd sporting more than a fair share of greying ponytails and leather jackets older than me, the ever-alluring Emmylou Harris had the crowd in her hands before she even stepped on stage. The first few bars of every song were met with scattered claps of recognition ricocheting around the room. With just three voices and three instruments including the able body of Buddy Miller, Harris brought a two hour show to the Gehry-scribbled solar panel downtown. Although billed as a a Christmas show, Harris, thankfully, played three short holiday songs and stuck mostly to her thirty-year backlog of tears-in-your-beer balladry. Most impressive was the fact that there was no drummer instead placing most of the rhythmic duties with the bass player creating an intimate chamber-country performance for a crowd of 1800. Definitely the best pair of eyebrows at Disney Hall this year. (SOC)

Have a Divine Christmas

John Waters Christmas featuring Peaches @ UCLA’s Royce Hall
Saturday, December 17th

“Sultan of Sleaze”. Now that’s a billing! Baltimore’s greatest contribution to cinema (sorry Barry Levinson) is going back to college bringing what has now become an annual event to UCLA’s cavernous brick cathedral. Mr. Waters will provide a glimpse at the thrill of waking up on Christmas day sexually vulnerable with a hangover and unexplained stains on your couch. Simultaneously earnest and ironic Waters will bring some of the flavor of his recent Christmas compilation which features such classics as “Here Comes Fatty Claus” and “Santa Claus was a Black Man”. Adding to this queasy but festive sensation will be beloved “pro-sex feminist” Peaches (Is that really such an accomplishment?) playing records for strangers. Expect some wary ushers and bathroom attendants on red alert. Draw yourself a nice moustache and don’t forget your kitsch goggles so no one can see you roll your eyes.(SOC)