Fans of mainstream romantic comedies and arty head-scratchers will wish that Save The Date was either funnier or weirder. But fans of indie comics will feel right at home with its understated storytelling, awkward-but-honest banter, and minutest of details. Right away, I was stoked to see a couple of titles by first-time scriptwriter Jeffrey Brown going into an IKEA bookshelf and a cat getting out of a box–inside jokes for Brown’s followers checking out his first screenplay. And there are other references that were made for subculture dwellers like me: The Blue Hearts’ garage hit from Japan, “Linda Linda,” many shots of The Smell, and a cameo by Brown that you’ll miss if you blink. The One A.M. Radio‘s soundtrack is rad, too.
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.
Besides the camaraderie and the creativity of making the print version of Giant Robot, what I miss most is getting free music. I loved opening bubble mailers full of review CDs with bios, stickers, and other stuff. Sure, 90 percent of it was shitty but I got exposed to a ton of great bands and people that way. Now I have to seek out new music just like everyone else.
That being said, sometimes I still get hooked up. Here’s some stuff I got from friends during my recent Comic-Con trip, with a radical split 7″ as a bonus.