Giant Robot Store and GR2 News
Last week, I went to see an in-store/record-release show by The Muffs at Amoeba. They played most of the great new LP and were as aweseome as ever–combining ultra-catchy girl group melodies with no-holds-barred punk rock attitude and out-of-this-world musicianship. So it was an honor to see one of my pictures printed full-bleed on the insert. Kim and Ronnie had asked me for the file but I wasn’t sure how it would be used or if it wound up on the cutting-room floor. My photography is far from great but the photo looks pretty damn good printed 12″ by 12″ and there is some poetry in the situation.
You might recall that Giant Robot mag was spawned in the era of punk rock zines. Before starting it, Eric Nakamura and I had both contributed to publications like Fear of Grown-Ups, Flipside, and Fiz, and he actually has had photos printed on Muffs 7″ singles. (So did early GR contributor Vicki Berndt.) The print version of GR has run its course but I still go to shows and take and share photos, so it’s very cool that one of them would be used by one of my favorite bands and I would join the esteemed ranks of Eric and Vicki. Thanks, Muffs!
I went to some other shows, too… I think it was Pabst that sponsored a night of heavy music at The Echoplex. Deep Six band To The Point opened, featuring members of Fetus Eaters and Spazz. I only caught a few songs but their powerful brand of hardcore was straight-up, filler-free, and a perfect way to fire up the evening.
Next up was one of my favorite bands and the new-school kings of skate rock, The Shrine. Does anyone rip harder or have more fun onstage than the trio from Venice? And are there nicer dudes anywhere? So what could be better than having the homies practically in my backyard at a six-dollar show. No, they didn’t play “Symptom of the Universe” (Sabbath, of course). Yes, they sang, “The Duke” (by friend and supporter Chuck Dukowski). Friends on the East Coast and in Japan, don’t miss them when they head your way.
The only other time I put together a show was a San Diego Comic-Con party with Flattbush, Upsilon Acrux, and The Binges with DJ sets by Free The Robots way back in 2009. Looking back, that was a pretty rad lineup! So it makes sense that Bradley from Flattbush would facilitate my second-ever gig. He serves drunks at Alex’s Bar but also books shows now and then. This one came together at the last minute and I am very grateful to my friends who put themselves out there during the deadest part of the holidays to take part.
Crap. I arrived at The Echoplex at 9:15, just as Nails was breaking down. That’s too early, right? Man, I really wanted to see them. Kvelertak, too.
But I did get to see Torche for the first time since they toured with Boris, and the Florida band’s brand of sludgy pop gets better and better. For Halloween, they should totally be the powerful yet skilled post-Gretzy Oilers with Paul Coffey on bass, Mess on guitar, and Grant Fuhr on lead guitar and vocals. Can’t quite identify who the drummer would be, but possibly a Charlie Huddy type holding it down. The band balances bone-crushing mega riffs and lightning-fast and nimble fingers to meld the heaviest of grooves with the catchiest of melodies. What a bitchin’ live band. If the stage lighting was better I would have taken a lot more pics, but sometimes it’s nice to just rock out in front, anyway.
It’s about time I checked out some bands that I haven’t seen a million times before. On Thursday, I finally got to see Wolves in the Throne Room. The Washingtonians famously play ecologically inspired black metal on vintage gear by candlelight. Oh yeah, they also play a contemplative and mind-blowing blend of drone and thrash. Super dark, extremely heavy, and much more riff-oriented live than on vinyl. Who knew sage and smoke machines could go together so well? Sadly, after waiting in line outside for so long I only caught the last song by Chelsea Wolfe and totally missed Hive Mind with Harrassor.