Monday, October 30, 2017

Roky Erikson, Death Valley Girls - The Roxy, LA, Saturday Oct 28, 2017

I've dug the 13th Floor Elevators since first hearing "You're Gonna Miss Me", probably on Lenny Kaye's Nuggets back in the 70's. When I discovered the other amazing sounds of that band, I was hooked. Then in the 80's I heard Roky's solo outings and groked the demented horror stories he put to heavy rockin' music then. He always sounded like he was teetering on the edge of sanity, and he probably was, which was exciting and gave the proceedings a fantastic bite. He had a razor-sharp band on records like The Evil One and added to his fan base with these heavier releases. He has been in and out of institutions and has not always had his medications managing his more extravagant behavior, but he now seems to be reasonably in control and has been touring with a new band to fabulous reception. I never had to opportunity to see him before and thanks to the benevolence of my pal Rob (thanks Rob!), we made the road trip to LA for this (possibly) once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Opening the night was LA locals, Death Valley Girls - a trio of females with a male lead guitarist (who also played in Roky's band) - who played heavy rhythm'd rock (great drummer!) with a bit of No Wave-y noise. The lead singer, whose Minnie Mouse-like voice could be a bit unnerving (not necessarily a bad thing), played some guitar and some keyboards, giving different textures throughout the set. One song was a "Love Buzz" rip that stood out with its familiarity. I was not knocked out, but they were an interesting and somewhat appropriate opener. (Sorry I didn't get any good pix).

By the time Roky was up, the Roxy was jam-packed in a way that we haven't experienced for years seeing shows in Vegas. I was not able to get close enough for my camera to get the best photos, but the sound in the Roxy was excellent throughout and Roky and his band captured the crowd right from the start. Roky played a little guitar (even a bit of lead on one song) but mostly just sang, with 2 guitarists, bass and drums backing him and, when they did 13 Floor Elevators tunes, a jug player joined them!

His set-list was phenomenal, opening with "Cold Night For Alligators", "Sputnik", "White Faces", "Mine Mine Mind", "Night of the Vampire", and "Bloody Hammer" - wow! The lead player did not play all of the classic licks, which I suppose I should not expect as he put his own spin on them, but otherwise, the band was spot on. Roky did not talk at all between songs - the others would say the occasional "how is everyone doing tonight?!" - and he forgot some lyrics here'n'there and didn't hit some of the high notes, but was in excellent voice, overall.

The Elevators portion began with "Fire Engine", moving into "You Don't Know", "Levitation" (one of my faves), "Tried to Hide", "Roller Coaster" and "Reverberation", before heading back into his 80's classics with "Don't Shake Me Lucifer" and "Wind and More" (with the crowd singing along with the "whoa-oh-oh" section) and then leaving for the first time. There is no way the audience was going to let him go that easily and Roky came back for "Burn the Flame" and his incredible "Two Headed Dog" and the expected "You're Gonna Miss Me" but with the unexpected guest of Billy Gibbons from the Moving Sidewalks and ZZ Top! Unfortunately, he was barely audible as the jug player wailed on harmonica on this number (appropriately) and drowned him out. Still, amazing to see Billy paying homage to one of his 60's peers.

I wish that I had been able to snake through the crowd for a closer experience and I wish the guitarist played more of the memorable licks from the 80's songs, but that's nit-picking. Overall, the band was excellent and Roky was fairly mesmerizing. I'm not sure how many more dates are on the tour, but see this legend if you can!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

recommended gigs

Friday Oct 27 - the Messer Chups, Boss Martians, Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Saturday Oct 28 - Agent Orange, the Heroine, Sheiks of Neptune, the Psyatics at the Beauty Bar

Monday Oct 30 - Skull Diver, Acid Sisters, Fear of Static, Ghost State at the Artisan

Tues Oct 31 - Bob Log III with the return of Prophet Greene along with Jerk! and Strawberry Fist Cake at the Dive Bar

Wednesday Nov 1 - Franks'n'Deans Weenie Roast 3 year anniversary'n'album release party with the Pluralses and more

Friday Nov 3 - Shanda and the Howlers host the Blues Society Jam Night at the Sand Dollar
Friday Nov 3 - Broken Patron Saints, the Wolfhounds, the Super Zeroes, Lambs to Lion at the Dive Bar

Saturday Nov 4 - the Reeves Brothers at Hennessey's Tavern

Wednesday Nov 8 - the Sloths at the Dive Bar

Thursday Nov 9 - The Dead Boys (Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz) at the Beauty Bar

Friday Nov 10 - The Delta Bombers, Shanda and the Howlers and the Inside Outlaws at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Nov 11 - the return of the Swamp Gospel with Water Landing, This is a Train Wreck, The Price of Dirt and Popravinas at the Double Down

Thursday Nov 16 - Boris with Torche at the Bunkhouse

Friday nov 17 - the Psyatics, Calabrese, Strange Mistress at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Nov 18 - Gwar at Fremont Country Club

Wednesday Nov 22 - Barb Wire Dolls, Svetlanas, '57 at the Beauty Bar
Wednesday Nov 22 - Basstravaganza with Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Friday Nov 24 - The Heiz, the Psyatics, Negative Nancys, New Waves, Rocket to Russia at the Double Down

Saturday Nov 25 - Double Down 25th anniversary show with the Dickies, the Dwarves, Throw Rag, the Heiz, Kings of the Wild Frontier, Dirk Vermin and the Hostile Talent, the Swank Bastards and Franks'n'Deans - starts at 5:00 pm

Sunday Nov 26 - Goldtop Bob, Uberschall at the Double Down

Tues Nov 28 - the Reeves Bros at the Sand Dollar

Friday Dec 1 - The Supersuckers, the Bell Rays and the Bombpops at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Saturday Dec 2 - The Swamp Gospel and the Psyatics at the Huntridge Tavern

Saturday Dec 16 - The Swamp Gospel at the Double Down

Wednesday Jan 24 - the Psyatics, the Pine Hill Haints, Slow Motion Cowboys at the Double Down

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Jackets - Be Myself/Queen of the Pill (Single)

I know that garage rock'n'roll never went away, but there does seem to be (another) resurgence of it lately. Great bands like the Darts, the Freaks of Nature and, one of my faves, the Jackets. This Swiss trio just tore up the West Coast and knocked people out everywhere they went! Their latest album, Shadows of Sound, is amazing and this single continues in that garage-rockin' vein.

Poundin' drums, fuzz guitars, drivin' bass, and Jackie's uniquely tough-chick voice doin' a call'n'answer with the boys all combine in "Be Myself" for a high energy blast of garage rock'n'roll. The flip, "Queen of the Pill" starts off a Pebbles-worthy, crunchy chord progression that evolves into fuzz'n'feedback'n'tremelo freakouts and then some damn catchy hand-clapping, poppy sections!

Definitely some of the best current fuzz-fanatics rockin'n'stompin' today! Get any of their releases - you won't regret it! And be sure to see them if there's any way you can!

RIP Fats Domino

Fats Domino dead age 89: Rock and roll legend passes away after hugely influential career 
Damn, another legend gone. He brought New Orleans swing'n'swagger to rock'n'roll. RIP.

Monday, October 23, 2017

RIP George Young of the Easybeats

George Young, pioneering songwriter and member of the Easybeats, dies at 70

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Peculiar Pretzelmen, the Implosions, the Swamp Gospel at the Huntridge Tavern, Saturday Oct 21

Due to a last minute cancelation by the New Waves (which was disappointing as I have yet to have a chance to see them), the Swamp Gospel filled in after a 6 month hiatus. A little rusty and the sermons were maybe not quite so slick, but we had a great time converting the Huntridge congregation. We will be back here with the Psyatics on Dec 2!

(above photo by Kristin Badger)

(SG pic by Denise Heximer)

The evening was also the debut of the newest Las Vegas super group, The Implosions! Featuring 2 couples - Clay and Denise Heximer (Mapes, Gentlemen of Four Outs, Melanie and the Midnite Marauders, Thee Swank Bastards) and Dave and Adrienne Post (the Mapes, Alan Six) - this combo features Vegas themes tunes in a variety of styles - some Cramps-ian, some garage-y, some punk-y and all cool! I actually preferred the tremelo'd Crampsy/garagey stuff as there are already an abundance of punky bands in town, but it was all good fun and I will look forward to watching this band's evolution!

The Peculiar Pretzelmen are always highly entertaining, in an energetic, Tom Waits-ian way, with drummer/percussionist Deacon playing a kit made up of a skillet, pin ties, car parts and now also pieces from a bicycle (where does he find all of these bits'n'pieces, I wonder) and singer Kevin strumming a mandocello, banjo, mutated guitar and a mandolin-like creation and banjo-ish instrument, both made from film canisters! They are amazing to watch and I love the songs - there were plenty of new ones this night as they are working on a new record, but there were some familiar tunes, as well. For the finale Kevin shouted/sang/scatted through a megaphone while manipulating effects pedals and Deacon causing a commotion behind him. See them any time you have a chance - you won't be sorry!

Thank you to Kate and the Huntridge for another fun night of music!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

RIP Click Mort

R.I.P., Click Mort
Saddened to hear of the passing of Click Mort - a talented artist (we own a couple of his pieces) and former guitarist for the Cramps, the Loafin' Hyenas and more. Of course, I saw him with the Cramps and my bands played with the Hyenas in Hollywood in the 80's. Another one gone much too young.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Bronx, Plague Vendor, '68 at the Bunkhouse, Wednesday Oct 18, 2017

We've known Kenny, one of the guitarists in the Bronx, for decades due to his time in San Diego's amazing punk'n'roll band, the Dragons, but kept missing the Bronx whenever they would come to town for whatever reason. We were finally able to rectify that with this cool week day bill.

The Atlanta, GA duo (guitar/drums) simply named '68 (not to be confused with other bands using these numbers as part of their name) opened the night to a damn full crowd - certainly one of the best nights I've seen at the Bunkhouse, especially on a week night! I was completely unfamiliar with them, but they won me over quick with these frenetic show - completely crazed guitarist/vocalist with tons of properly used effects on both instrument and voice and monstrous drummer who was also quite the showman as well as an incredible musician. The songs were somewhat metal-ish, reminding us a bit of another fave, Nina Coyote and Chica Tornado, but with lots of uniqueness - atonal and a-rhythmic riffs here'n'there, bits of Jack White-isms, and damn cool tunes. Super full sound - a splitter /octave pedal used on the guitar tone to emulate a bass, and speakers perched on each side of the stage with the two in between, facing each other so that they could interact physically as well as musically. Really fantastic - I dunno what it is about Atlanta, but cool stuff is happening there. Check these cats out and be sure to see them if you have a chance - what a show!

Plague Vendor was also unknown to me and, while they still fit into the rough spectrum of the night, were pretty damn different from the opener. This quartet were much more No Wave/Post-Punk/Pixies-esque, and played in the dark (virtually no stage lights at all) with a guitarist that sat down juxtaposed against an animated lead singer who interacted with individual audience members throughout and would grab cell phones as people were filming the show and take close ups of each member of the band as they played! Entertaining and interesting, even if not my usual style.

A number of people throughout the night told me that the Bronx was one of, if not the singular, favorite band of theirs, and they certainly had a massive, loyal fan base this night! With a powerful two guitar attack and a non-stop, drivin' rhythm section behind him, the lead singer ended up spending most of his time in the audience screamin' through the songs while the crowd sang along with him. The audience were insane throughout the entire set - singing/shoutin' along, moshin' and generally diggin' the madness. The band was super tight, with the guitarist that is not Ken (sorry - I don't know anyone's names!) taking most of the leads (and even using a Frampton-styled talk box for a song or two!), but the two guitars pulling off harmony feedback at one point. I got some hints of the Dragons-styled rock'n'roll (actually, probably just pulling from the same influences), but with hollered vocals. Kenny got to let loose on some furious leads towards the end of the set, then there were some harmony leads and everything concluded with more soccer-hooligan groups vocals!

Wild'n'fun night at the Bunkhouse! Thanks for everyone involved and everyone who came out to make this a rockin' Wednesday!