Free show reviews: Dum Dum Girls at The Getty, Gizzelle at Amoeba Hollywood, Goh Nakamura at Eloise’s House

If you read this blog, you’ve probably gathered that I fully advocate supporting bands by purchasing records from merch table, cool shops, or the labels themselves. Downloading free MP3s is strictly for bootlegs, demos, and so on. But I have no qualms about attending free shows–especially ones that I can take my four-year-old daughter to. And what could be better than a trip to see one of Eloise’s three favorite groups (Dum Dum Girls) at one of her favorite places (The Getty)?

The Dum Dums kicked off the museum’s free Saturday evening concerts two weekends ago with a full set of dreamy, goth-y, garage-y rock. The band has been touring in support of its excellent second album with its extra lush sound for a while now. So of course they sound as great as ever, but there are extra hints at showmanship this time around. Members step up, back, and converge in the middle of the stage. New bassist Malia fits right in, and Eloise and her cousins rocked out nonstop after the sun went down and the volume turned up. So rad to get an hour-long fix in such a setting, and Eloise even got a heads-up from her Facebook/Instagram fans Sandy and Dee Dee. Gotta find out when Sandy returns to town for a Fiore date, and keep checking the Getty’s Saturdays Off the 405 schedule as the summer goes on.

Amoeba is another awesome place to see free shows, especially if you’re taking kids, since the sets start early and don’t last too long. (Also check Vacation, Origami…) Gizzelle played the Hollywood destination on Thursday, and although she brought a loaded rockabilly/soul band straight out of the late ’50s/early ’60s, it was impossible to distract from the main attraction: her pipes. Holy crap, she can sing like hell. Her taste in covers is supreme and the originals are just as rad. It was sweet to check her out at one of my favorite shops (and Eloise’s, too) but now I really want to see her in a proper, dirty, tiny club surrounded by fans in vintage gear and more product in their hair for the full effect.

After Eloise and I took part in last week’s Goh Nakamurathon–in which the singer and guitarist successfully raised money to support a three city, three studio tour and documentation–we invited him to play a house concert at our place. It happened on Saturday. (Yes, we asked for 5 bucks to fill Goh’s gas tank, but you could have come for free.) About three dozen friends showed up to hear Goh play two hourlong acoustic sets in our living room, punctuated by a potluck and lots of hanging out.

Comfortably sitting on a stool with a couch and a bench on either side of him, he played stuff off his killer albums (Daylight Savings, Ulysses) and soundtrack work (Music From the Motion Picture ) but threw in crowd-pleasing covers (Beatles, Bee Gees, Ramones) and some kid-pleasing ones, too. With maximum musical ability (think Elvis Costello or Elliott Smith) and zero ego (like no other guitarist), he just wants everyone to have fun. Yes, he played Cyndi Lauper, too.

Goh’s month of couch surfing in L.A. ends soon, but he is playing a free show tonight (Wednesday evening) at the Nirvana Bar & Grill in Little Tokyo. See you there. After that it’s Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, and others at nights 0-1 of Rev 25; The Jesus and Mary Chain at Hollywood Park; Cults, Dengue Fever, Mad Parade, and others at Make Music Pasadena