Holy crap! I got to see Bad Religion at The Echo. And Quicksand back together. And FIDLAR for free. But first things first. Last week was the closing of the Giant Robot Biennale 3 at JANM, where I got to see my friend (and rad artist) Jack Long play with his band, White Dove.
I never got to see Monster, the band’s first incarnation, but I totally believe that there is a pre-history to this group. They play a deceptively pretty, straightforward style of rock that is both rough and pretty, simple and sophisticated. I detect unhinged, dark elements following the tradition of L.A. bands like The Dream Syndicate and Mazzy Star. Seeing art in person rules. Going to shows rules. Getting both at the Giant Robot Biennale 3 closing party was awesome.
This Tuesday, I caught Quicksand’s return to L.A. The band featuring Walter Schreifels reunited for the Rev25 shows in Pomona on one of the nights I didn’t attend. Then they played FYF, which I missed. So it was cool to see them headlining a relatively small show with Title Fight. The openers played a tight set that combined Samiam melodies with a post-hardcore sensibility, and helped bring the average age of the audience below 40. Touché Amoré singer Jeremy Bolm (above) made a quick appearance to make it super special for the young’uns.
Quicksand is a musicians’ band, and at this point in the group’s resurrection the chops and chemistry are unbeatable. I have to admit that while I’m a big fan of leader Walter Schreifels’ other bands (Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools, and Walking Concert) I’m a Quicksand novice who only has the first 7″ single. Yet it was impossible not to be sucked into the intensity and energy of the nearly 20-song set with a packed room full of fans who know the words to every single song. Hardcore anger and intensity tempered by musicianship, melody, and craft doesn’t get much better and I gotta track down the LPs. I bought the Ed Templeton-designed tour shirt (vegan connection?) and don’t want to be a poseur.
The next evening was Bad Religion at The Echo. To see them once more in a club that not much larger than Al’s Bar or the Coconut Teaszer was really special and the mix of songs brought me back to those days as well. The band was honest about being unrehearsed and chatted, joked, and talked shit, but played like the well-oiled, left-leaning, free-thinking, circle pit-driving machine that they have evolved into. Older songs like “We’re Only Going to Die” meshed perfectly with later hits like “American Jesus” and new standouts like “Los Angeles Is Burning.” And the new songs like “Robin Hood in Reverse” are as angry, smart, and punk as ever. It’s so easy to stop listening to a band after decades, but Bad Religion is totally worth following and supporting into adulthood, even if you’re a parent like me who can’t wear a shirt that says, “The easiest thing to do is say fuck you” anymore. Go buy their amazing new LP and see them when they hit the road for real.
Last night I managed to catch FIDLAR’s record release show at Amoeba Hollywood. The last time I saw them was the record release show for OFF! at the Whisky. They already had a huge following back then and it’s awesome to see that they haven’t imploded like most young punks that sing songs about fucking up and rehab from experience. And perhaps it was the aisles of vinyl and CD that separated and kept the rabid fans from not destroying Amoeba. See FIDLAR while you can and check out their rad new LP. I love seeing old band hang in there or get back together, but you gotta get behind some new ones as well. FIDLAR is one of them.