Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

Before starting his set, Keith Morris explained why OFF! wanted to have its eponymous LP release show at the Whisky. Even though the Sunset Strip landmark is now a cheesy venue that seems more concerned with selling drinks to poseurs and T-shirts to tourists than rad shows, it is a symbol of L.A.’s matchless musical history from psychedelic rock like the Doors and Love to first-generation punks the Germs and X to more recent metal shows that even I saw like Guns ‘n’ Roses and Michael Monroe (not to mention touring bands like SNFU, Scream, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, NOFX, and Green Day, as well as the first Descendents reunion shows…). Add to that OFF!

Openers Spider Fever seemed to soak up some of the venue’s psychedelic past with the elevated stage and high-end light system actually adding some unintentional-yet-not-inappropriate flair to their tweaked take on garage rock ‘n’ roll. I saw OFF! drummer Mario Rubalcaba front the band with his upside-down guitar and no-nonsense singing before playing with Hot Snakes not long ago, but this show seemed even tighter and actually more fun. After seeing the band a few times, it almost seems like the meeting point of many of Mario’s bands: the balls-out rock of RFTC, psychedelic aspects of Earthless, rawness of Clikatat Ikatowi, and energy of OFF! I was stoked to pick up the band’s amazing full-length LP, and you should get it, too.

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Four shows in six nights. At the core were stops by RAD (above), a Sacramento-based thrash revival band that happens to feature my cousin Anthony on bass. On either end of the RAD sandwich were some old favorites… Last night was Ian Svenonius with Chain and the Gang and kicking off the run was Hot Snakes, who reunited for All Tomorrow’s Parties and Fun Fun Fun and is now in the midst of a victory lap for the fans who don’t do festivals.

Opening up the Hot Snakes’ sold-out gig at The Troubadour was Spider Fever. The San Diego band puts the Snakes’ Mario Rubalcaba right in front. If you have any taste in music whatsoever, your innards have already been shaken by his powerful, ruthless drumming (411, Clikatat Ikatowi, Rocket From The Crypt, Earthless, OFF!) and it turns out he rips on guitar and vocals, too. (The other guys ain’t bums, either, coming from The Heartaches and The Widows.) Think MC5 meets DMZ and you’re heading in the right direction–right off a cliff into punk rock ‘n’ roll oblivion. This is no goofy side project but a fully realized unit on a mission to corrupt your soul with two flame-throwing 7″s and a brand-new LP–all great ways to wear down a needle.

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