Show reviews: Ronnie Spector at the El Rey, Indian Handcrafts and The Dirty Streets at The Satellite

On Tuesday, I saw Ronnie Spector‘s Behind The Beehive show at The El Rey. It wasn’t really a concert as much as it was the legendary singer recounting her life’s journey via anecdotes, personal photos, rare video, and song performances. From what I understand, this format is a way for the Original Bad Girl of Rock ‘n’ Noll to give a live performance without getting caught in the spiderweb of legalities spun her infamous ex-husband and producer.

Going to the show as a casual fan of Spector, it was mind-blowing to hear firsthand her tales of The Ronettes crashing the Peppermint Lounge, hanging out with Murray The K, playing with The Beatles in England, and touring with The Stones. Taking both of those bands to a BBQ joint in Harlem and recording a 7″ single for Apple. And it was also shocking to hear what a dick Phil Spector was to her as a manager and a husband. Even so, her tone always remained classy and positive and she  remained respectful toward his work with her.

As a big fan of the She Talks To Rainbows that was produced by Joey Ramone and released by Kill Rock Stars, I was stoked that she played so many songs off it. She said that Joey wrote the title track of that EP for her, and that Brain Wilson wrote “Don’t Worry Baby” for her as a follow-up to “Be My Baby” but that her husband wouldn’t record it because he wouldn’t get all of the royalties. She also played her version of Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory” as the second-to-last song of the show before coming back for a short concert that featured “Baby, I Love You” (also great for a Ramones fans like me) and “Be My Baby.” So rad. If she ever makes it to your neighborhood, don’t miss her. Spector’s voice is a national treasure, her story is the history of cool music, and her perseverance is inspiring.

The next evening I dropped by the Satellite to catch the latest free #scionrockshow. To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with the lineup but the previous two installments of the series featured rippers Fu Manchu and Lecherous Gaze and you can’t go wrong with the LSDJs (featuring homie Don Ngueyn) spinning records. It would be lame not to go–especially since it’s right down the street and free!

Openers from Memphis The Dirty Streets were real cool, sounding a little bit like Rod Stewart singing for ZZ Top. Heavy-duty hooks and licks with zero ego and tons of soul on a sweaty little stage in front of practically no one–probably not the band’s dream show but I get to shows early precisely for moments like that.

Indian Handcrafts were amazing. The duo from Canada attack their instruments like hungry animals, albeit ones with chops for miles, snapping with massive riffs and the gnarliest of drums–not to mention back-and-forth vocals. I loved the “Bruce Lee” song and the fact that knob turner Toshi Kasai was there to support (and show their Melvins connection) is more proof of their badassery. They’re still on tour so see them now!

A legend and two bands that I’d never heard on back-to-back outings–both providing a musical education and rad night out. Seeya at the next shows, probably Quasi and then Wire