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.
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 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.