Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

Can anything be better than a rad display of photography from the early ’80s L.A. punk scene accompanied by full sets from legendary bands? For free? That would be last weekend’s closing party from the We Got Power magazine crew’s We Survived The Pit installation of photos (live, candid, behind the scenes) and artifacts (zines, skateboards) featuring live music by Meat Puppets, The Middle Class, and Phranc. Well, catching even more music earlier in the day isn’t a bad thing.

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Of course, Redd Kross were totally amazing at Amoeba last night. What you might not have expected is that they’d play for about an hour! The set was heavy on the supremely catchy and totally ripping new songs (“Downtown,” “Uglier”) which will grow on you like fungus, but dug back to the very oldest and rawest cuts (“Linda Blair,” “St. Lita Ford Blues”) for the old timers who saw the McDonald brothers when they were teenagers. Me? I’m in the middle somewhere, having discovered them on the Neurotica (“Frosted Flake”) tour when they played a free lunchtime show at UCLA.

Even under the bright lights of Amoeba at the ungodly hour of 6:00, they rocked like hell and how could they not? Jeff and Steve McDonald (not to mention returning monster drummer Roy McDonald from The Muffs with Celebrity Skin ripper Jason Shapiro sitting in for the mighty Robert Hecker) were obviously born to rock with smiles as big as their chops. Over the decades, the band has cranked out the most awesome punk, glam, garage, and pop, and their first LP in 15 years concentrates it all into 2- or 3-minute doses of perfection for your earholes. While the dark and loud record-release show at The Roxy was the group’s official homecoming, last night’s in-store at Amoeba was more like a reunion where old friends and conspirators could spot each other and catch up. Such a rad set! So many friends! You had to be there. But if you weren’t, here’s a little extra video from the front row. If you are moved by rock ‘n’ roll in any manner, don’t miss Redd Kross at FYF next weekend or various other festivals, shows, and special appearances.

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TVOTR at the Hollywood Bowl

Last Friday may have been the first day of autumn, but the last day of summer was a couple of days later on Sunday. That’s when TV on The Radio and Arctic Monkeys co-headlined a killer show at the Hollywood Bowl. The historic venue was built on classical and jazz, and typically only books rock shows on special occasions. People still talk about The Beatles, Stones, and Doors gigs there back in the ’60s. Nowadays it’s Radiohead and Pavement, so it was a big deal when a gang of mostly younger bands took the stage to close out the season.

Smith Westerns, Warpaint, and Panda Bear/Sonic Boom at the Hollywood Bowl

Smith Westerns kicked off the show at the super early hour of six. A tough slot since most fans were probably picking up picnic food at Trader Joe’s on the way to the venue, but the Chicago band powered through a 20-minute sampler of their short-but-solid catalog of proto-glam lo-fi. Pretty cool, but I need to see them at a smaller venue for a real take. Warpaint was next and jammed from the moment the Batcave-like stage spun them to face the crowd until it spun them back. The hometown band was great in it’s trademark folk-meets-goth manner with heavy drums that are as spectacular as the Siouxsie-esque vocals. (I hope the drummer gets a little extra love on the next release…) I caught some of Panda Bear’s set at FYF last year, and this set was way, way better. Two guys behind a table is at least twice as interesting than one to watch, but what if the extra guy is Sonic Boom from Spacemen 3? It was like a passing of the torch from one indietronica/stoner music god from the past to the present. The gorgeous sunset, trippy lights, and post-Beach Boys, dub-infused, analog-tronica made every stoners’ night.

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