I don’t usually get too excited about the extracurricular events at Comic-Con but when I discovered that Metallica was going to attend a panel about their new 3-D IMAX movie and then play a secret show, I had to make it happen. Through the movie publicists, I was able to catch the Monsters of Rock play for the first time since the And Justice For All… tour. I was stoked to get a killer seat in the second row of the second level with studio folks and lucky Con attendees.
When I saw them at the Long Beach Arena way back when, I was kind of freaked out by the crowd of wild heshers that tore cushions off the seats and threw them in the air. The band went on KNAC to persuade fans to behave better during the second show. Probably for the better, Spreckels didn’t have the same sense of danger–although the set was pretty much from that era. They started with a double-shot of “Creeping Death” and “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and ended with a heavy-duty encore of “Last Caress” and “Seek and Destroy.” And if The Misfits cover wasn’t enough for Comic-Con fans, Kirk turned the Star Wars theme into a sweet solo leading into “Nothing Else Mattered” and “Enter Sandman.” Metallica has and will always rule, and it was very rad of them to play this free set for their fans (and a handful of lucky, undeserving poseurs like me).
I was psyched to visit one of my favorite venues the next night. Sadly, I missed the opener and headliner due to food and sleep reasons but mostly wanted to see the middle bands anyway. First there was the one-woman wrecking crew Colleen Green. I dig the cool, effortless style and catchiness of her supremely minimal yet hook-ridden tunes to the max.
And then there was Milk Music, a trio that plays super catchy and fuzzed-out melodies, full of primo noise an unconcerned with image. This time around, they seemed to play mostly older stuff of their essential first EP, which was once impossible to find but has been repressed. Fans of Dinosaur Jr. would dig, for sure.
I thought we were ending the best Comic-Con even by having dinner with my friends Alyasha and Kien at the Convoy Tofu House. Then Aly mentioned that he knew the DJ and could get us on the list for El Vez at Bark Pink’s sixth anniversary party. I was beat but it was impossible not to be entertained by The Schitzophonics’ high-energy set of garage rock ‘n’ roll. Taking the melody of The Fleshtones, sweat of JSBX, and out-0f-control energy from an electric chair, I had to be careful not to get clocked by the guitar neck as the singer spasmed around the low stage. Amazing.
Somehow, The Schizophonics had more than enough energy to be The Mexican Elvis’s backing band. I’ve seen the El Vez for President show and the Merry Mex-Mas show in the past, and this time it was the Punk Rock Revue. Of course, the original member of The Zeros played “Wimp” and “Beat Your Heart Out,” not to mention takes on Roxy Music, T-Rex, Television, and The Ramones. More than just delivering an aesthetic education, El Vez provides maximum entertainment and energy. A musical icon, institution, and friendly guy, too boot.
Two more quickies that I don’t have proper photos for… My brother and I didn’t score preview tickets for Comic-Con so we saw Adam Ant at The Balboa instead. Holy crap, the two-hour set was awesome and full of all the old songs that Ant People would want to hear, from “Ant Music” to “Prince Charming.” The Dandy Highwayman doesn’t kick quite as high or spin as quickly as he did back in the day, but his voice is spot on and he is full of charisma and energy. (Thanks, Greg for the iPhone pic.) I took my daughter to see The Go-Go’s at the Pacific Amphitheater the Sunday before that, too. They played all the hits, and seemed to have a great time doing it. In addition to the hits, they covered KISS and The Ramones, and even did some circle pit dancing in honor of the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was right down the street. Too bad the venue made me go back to the car with my camera, but we were too far for any decent images anyway…