Last week, I went to see an in-store/record-release show by The Muffs at Amoeba. They played most of the great new LP and were as aweseome as ever–combining ultra-catchy girl group melodies with no-holds-barred punk rock attitude and out-of-this-world musicianship. So it was an honor to see one of my pictures printed full-bleed on the insert. Kim and Ronnie had asked me for the file but I wasn’t sure how it would be used or if it wound up on the cutting-room floor. My photography is far from great but the photo looks pretty damn good printed 12″ by 12″ and there is some poetry in the situation.
You might recall that Giant Robot mag was spawned in the era of punk rock zines. Before starting it, Eric Nakamura and I had both contributed to publications like Fear of Grown-Ups, Flipside, and Fiz, and he actually has had photos printed on Muffs 7″ singles. (So did early GR contributor Vicki Berndt.) The print version of GR has run its course but I still go to shows and take and share photos, so it’s very cool that one of them would be used by one of my favorite bands and I would join the esteemed ranks of Eric and Vicki. Thanks, Muffs!
I went to some other shows, too… I think it was Pabst that sponsored a night of heavy music at The Echoplex. Deep Six band To The Point opened, featuring members of Fetus Eaters and Spazz. I only caught a few songs but their powerful brand of hardcore was straight-up, filler-free, and a perfect way to fire up the evening.
Next up was one of my favorite bands and the new-school kings of skate rock, The Shrine. Does anyone rip harder or have more fun onstage than the trio from Venice? And are there nicer dudes anywhere? So what could be better than having the homies practically in my backyard at a six-dollar show. No, they didn’t play “Symptom of the Universe” (Sabbath, of course). Yes, they sang, “The Duke” (by friend and supporter Chuck Dukowski). Friends on the East Coast and in Japan, don’t miss them when they head your way.
Municipal Waste headlined the show. Wearing a worn-out Gorilla Biscuits shirt, singer Tony Foresta explained that the band was going to take it easy for a year or so and write a new LP, but that they couldn’t say no when a beer company offered to fly them to their favorite city. He gave props to the audience for being the craziest 21+ show he’d ever seen. The circle pit was raging and I haven’t witnessed that much stage diving in years. What, no chicken fights or wall of death? I guess they’re East Coast and maybe so are their fans.
The night before, I got to see Boris play The Casbah. Yes, there is a Rock God and it was totally rad for me to see my favorite psychedelic/doom metal/noise/stoner rock band from Japan with my brother in my favorite dive when I was in San Diego for Comic-Con–especially since the trio’s L.A. date is at FYF, which is gigantic yet sold out. Of course, I missed Kurihara adding his extra textures and riffs. (Remember the GR article where I sold T-shirts for them and Damon & Naomi?) But the new double LP rules and the band never fail to blow my mind live. Good luck on tour, dudes!
More new and old friends. I finally got to see White Murder when they opened for T.S.O.L. at Alex’s Bar. I’m a fan of RazorCake (the band’s record label and a zine I read religiously) and Perpetually Twelve (I contribute to it and they’re in it often) so it was just a matter of time. Of course, they were like a force of nature, a two-headed kaiju destroying city blocks but with gnarly, double-vocaled punk rock instead of giant clawed feet. So good.
Somehow Alex’s Bar gets all the RFTC and Jehu related bands (Hot Snakes, Obits, Earthless…) but also the old-school punk bands (CH3, Avengers, The Crowd, The Gears…). So I was stoked to see T.S.O.L. on their small but much-loved stage. Goddamn, they’ve been on a roll and have even become fairly tight after a tour and festival here or there. And there’s no one scarier, funnier, or bigger than Jack Grisham. “We stopped playing that song because we don’t agree with its message any more” was his response to someone yelling “Code Blue!” Then they ended the set with the ode to necrophilia.
And there’s no one nicer. Jack volunteered his time to participate in a panel about Long Beach for me not too long ago. I’ve tried not to miss him at a book signing or show ever since. He’s never less than cordial and I was stoked to be able to introduce Marianne from White Murder to him. Two stage-killing Long Beach punkers from different eras colliding in a moment of warm fuzziness.
The Friday before that, I saw some other stars collide. This time it was Susanna Hoffs from the Bangles playing hits and covers with friends including Petra Haden and Fred Armisen. Petra played a killer version of “I Can See for Miles” and Fred played a bunch of British punk hits from Gen X, The Damned, and The Clash. Vicki Peterson came out for a Bangles song, which was rad! Total house party vibe right down the street from my house…
Of course, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were great at The Shrine. I’m sure all of your friends have told you how godlike and stylish he is and that they played all the hits, even though you were there too. I didn’t bring a camera since the stage is so big but took a pretty cool cell-phone picture of the ex-Birthday Party singer’s shadow against the historic venue’s wall. What a legend and Warpaint played an excellent opening set, too.
Finally, White Dove. Hardcore Giant Robot readers know the art of Jack Long well and hopefully they’ll dig the band that he plays in, too. Dark, layered, and gorgeous. Like an evil Fleetwood Mac, maybe. They play a fair number of free shows around L.A. so you have no excuse not to trip out at one of their sets.
Seeya in front at the Street Eaters at the Redwood, for sure, and then I’m taking my mom and dad to see Paul McCartney at Dodger Stadium. Never seen him. The Zeros and Weirdos at Beserk Town Fest will be great and I RSVPed for High on Fire at the Echoplex. And Slint! August is gonna be great.