Show reviews: Guitar Wolf, Coathangers, Earthless, Joy, Bulletins, Best Coast, plus David Choe

It doesn’t suck to live in California, where you get to see bands like Best Coast play free record-release shows at Amoeba. Yes, the brand-new EP is as amazing as the RSD 7″ led us to believe, perfectly combining honesty and polish, and the new songs sounded great live. So did favorites like “The Only Place,” “Crazy for You,” and the closer, “Girlfriend.” The place was packed and stoked and so was Bethany, who made a point to repeatedly thank all the fans and friends for being there. Watch the set at the Amoeba site when you have the time!

Afterward there was a record signing where Eloise got to give Bobb and Bethany band portraits that she drew while we were in line. I’ll occasionally run into Bobb at shows or the market, and he is not only the most talented musician and producer but one of the raddest guys. Glad Eloise got to see him in action and say hi. Hopefully next time we’ll see him over donuts in Highland Park!

I saw another friend’s band last Friday night. Artist Susie Ghahremani plays keyboards and adds vocals for the excellent dream pop/indie rock band Bulletins. The lineup is in flux, but I like the addition of Richard from The Paper Thins adding some crunch, and hope he sticks around. Fans of Tsunami, Velocity Girl, and even Asobi Seksu, take note!

The San Diego band was playing on shoe gaze night at the Glendale goth club. Who knew there was a goth club in Glendale? Is that why Peter Murphy got busted for DUI in the area? Yet the place was respectably filled and there was a photo booth where I took a couple of pictures with Susie. She didn’t like the one on the left so I’ll balance it with the blurrier (and more scandalous-looking) one…

Did I mention that Earthless played Alex’s Bar the night before? It was great to walk in and be surrounded by homies who all happen to rip at skateboarding (shoe designer Paul Kwon, team rangler Dave Hoang, photographer Ben Clark). That’s Long Beach. The far-out psychedelic trio Joy was a great opener, too. It’s not too late to see them touring with Earthless.

But Earthless… They’re just on a different level than any other band, so full of talent and energy and going from one massive riff to another nonstop for 60+ minutes. The caffeine-propelled energy is unstoppable, and the new songs are as mind blowing as they are ass shaking as they are head banging. Completely cosmic in feel yet grounded by top-shelf musicianship. You can read more thoughts (but pretty much the same pictures) at the Long Beach-based Psychic Temple blog that I write.

Shows like Earthless not only remind me of the power of music to make you feel rad but also just get you out of the house and potentially run into friends. It’s nice to hang out with adults that I don’t work with and I’m not related to (although both sets are rad) now and then. Left to right: Mario (from Earthless but also Hot Snakes, Rocket From The Crypt, Clikatat Ikatowi, Black Heart Procession, 411…), Paul and Dave again, Don Nguyen (who I’ve been seeing playing records for LSDJS at the more rocking shows lately). Dave and Don were about to embark on the inaugural Listen to Volume 4 road trip, so wish them luck and health.

This isn’t really a show but I saw Dave Choe give a rare lunchtime talk in Downtown L.A. earlier that day. I posted some details at this link and extra pics at this link.

Coathangers and Guitar Wolf played The Satellite the Sunday before that. I was already a big fan of the openers, and the live show did not disappoint. They perfectly smash up vintage Riot Grrrl aesthetics with totally state-of-the-art garage power, and are super fun and worthy of your support. Who says I only go out to see friends’ bands?

As for Guitar Wolf… The Japanese trio has been tearing it up for so long that I don’t need to describe its maximum-energy, super deconstructed take on rock ‘n’ roll. They’re like leather-clad rock zombies who can’t not rip it up on a nightly basis. More riffs! The last time I saw them was years and years ago, and Bass Wolf happened to die a few nights later. I never thought I’d see the band play again. So I was extra grateful to the rock gods for this sweaty, loud, and perfect show right down my street. I would be lame to not see them play all the way from Japan for a lousy 12 bucks.

Although I don’t get out to shows as much as I used to, I appreciate the energy and enjoyment more than ever. Not to mention seeing buddies, supporting the scenes, growing subcultures, and making the Earth a tighter and radder place. And if Eloise can be part of it, so can you! Seeya in the pit.