Show review: Iceage and Milk Music at The Echoplex; Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles preview: Eega, Miss Lovely

After following Milk Music for a while but never getting a chance to see them, I had mixed feelings about finally getting to catch them at a big place like the The Echoplex. But then I found out that the headliner was pretty interesting (Iceage) and the cover was still fair (15 bucks). If you stand right in front, it doesn’t matter how big the venue is, right?

Of course, Milk Music were great. Doubly fuzzed rock ‘n’ roll with the stony riffs of Dinosaur Jr. and unedited power of Hüsker Dü, they sounded amazing live. Then they took it down a notch for a song that was “half written by someone else” that happened to be Johnny Thunders. Wow. Their first LP is impossible to find these days (being repressed as I type by Perennial Death) but they had a box of the new one which I snatched up. I’ve only listened to it a hundred times. The band said they came from Joshua Tree, which I thought was a joke, but I heard that they are indeed moving there from Olympia. Hopefully they’ll play Los Angeles more often as a result. See them when you can.

When Iceage asked all the photographers to leave the space between the barrier and stage, I told my friend Ben that they are either totally punk rock or they’re assholes. Maybe it’s both? The young Copenhagen band’s first release mixed the angular sounds of Joy Division with the fay vocals of The Church, which they ditched for hardcore on their second (and superior) album. They ripped through their short set like well-dressed animals and walked off after less than 40 minutes. It was a statement more than a show, and they nailed it.


Next week the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles opens. I’m a big fan of the film fest, which is in its eleventh year, because they always come up with an interesting mix of arty blockbusters, lo-fi indies, and cool oddball documentaries. I was lucky enough to watch some screeners…

Eega is doubly, maybe even threefold weird. The big-budget and unabashedly commercial flick starts off as a straight-up love triangle movie between a pretty girl (Samantha), a nice but poor guy (Nani), and a ruthless and rich man (Sudeep). Following a sweet courtship complete with sappy songs and dancing, the story takes a serious left turn when the businessmen offs his rival who is reincarnated as a housefly. That’s when director S S Rajamouli turns it up as the fly defends the naive love interest by creating spa accidents, causing sleep deprivation, and pestering the villain as he drives a motorcycle. The cg insect writes on the dirty windshield of a crashed car: “I will kill you.” It’s darkly funny and oddly sweet, and it wouldn’t work as well as it does if the escalating reactions of Sudeep weren’t at least as good as the special effects.

Miss Lovely is an arty indie flick about India’s pre-Internet exploitation cinema scene. The recreated softcore horror and smut scenes look great–almost as if reimagined by Wong Kar Wai–and the atmospheric scenes of alleys, factories, and slums are simply gorgeous. In the middle of this are two brothers (Niharika Singh and Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who are trapped in the crime-infested low-budget movie scene. Can the younger one break out of the grindhouse circuit to make a legit movie with his sweetheart? Director Ashim Ahluwalia paints a straightforward and bleak picture complete with double-crossing and extortion that doesn’t have the whimsy of Ed Wood or energy of Boogie Nights. It’s completely sordid but also unique and absorbing (and started off as a documentary but none of Ahluwalia’s interviewees wanted to be involved) and I was more than a little sad to see it end like a Jack Chick tract.

See these and other incredible films on the big screen at the amazing ArcLight in Hollywood from April 9-14, 2013. Check out the IFFLA site HERE.