Thursday, October 14, 2021

recommended gigs

 Thursday 10-14-21 - TV Party Tonight showing Death Proof with live music by the Negative Nancys at the Double Down

Friday 10-15-21 - the Double Whammys at the Golden Tiki

Saturday 10-16-21 - Thee Swank Bastards, Stagnetti's Cock, the Rhumones at the Double Down

Saturday 10-16-21 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Sand Dollar

Monday 10-18-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Friday 10-22-21 - Shanda and the Howlers at Soul Belly

Saturday 10-23-21 - Thee Hypnotiques at the Charleston Antique Mall - 1:00 in the afternoon!

Saturday 10-23-21 - the Unwieldies at the 5th Street School at 12:00 pm!

Monday 10-25-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Thursday 10-28-21 - Agent Orange at the Dive Bar

Friday 10-29-21 - The Psyatics at the Double Down with the Laissez Fairs and Kilfeather

Saturday 10-30-21 - Monster Zero, Dr. Phobic and the Phobic-Tones, the Nuclear Undead, Santa Muerte at the Double Down Saloon for the Zombie Prom

Saturday 10-30-21 - Thee Swank Bastards, the Implosions and the Riflemen at the Bullfrog Biennial at 6:00 pm in Rhyolite, NV

Monday 11-1-21 - The schizophonics, Cromm Fallon and the P200 and the Implosions at the Double Down, presented by Dirty Rock'n'Roll Dance Party

Wednesday 11-3-21 = Franks'n'Deans Weenie Roast with Dr Phobic and the Phobic-Tones at the Double Down

Friday 11-5-21 - Thee Hypnotiques at the Golden Tiki

Saturday 11-13-21 - the Meteors at the Dive Bar

Friday 12-3-21 - Dirty R'n'R Dance Party presents Cheap Tissue, Cromm Fallon P200 and Rhythm Ace and the Nu-Tones at the Usual Place

The Devil Makes Three


 My pal Rob just turned me on to this acoustic combo who, once again, has essentially no information on their FB page or website, so I can't tell you anything about them other than what they sound like, which is a melodic, harmony driven trio playing various acoustic instruments in the manner of Las Vegas acts like the All Togethers and the Unwieldies, or Virginia's Gallows Bound, or even a (far) less demonic Bridge City Sinners. 

Things start off with a bouncy, quick-paced pirate-themed tune about "The Plank", that highlights their fine use of harmonies, followed by a quiet, finger-picked, cleverly melodic ode to alcoholism, cheerily titled "Graveyard", then the chunky-rhythmed "Beneath the Piano", once again, relating the troubles of tippling, while "Ten Feet Tall" is purely foolish bravado but with some melodic finger pickin', and once again, drink takes front'n'center in the happy-go-lucky "Shades", this time the need for them while day drinking (nicely sung with cool harmonies, though, with a hip, old-timey feel). "Old Number Seven" is an homage to Jack Daniels (I'm sensing a theme here!) and its amnesia-inducing properties, "Chained to the Couch" has more purty pickin' as the singer tells a tale of livin' his life in recline, more staccato rhythms accent "To the Hilt", "The Bullet" is a fast-paced, truly catchy paean to the end of our worldly sufferin', and the closer for the original record sounds like a honestly heart-felt song "For My Family" that kinda reminds me melodically of a Red Hot Chili Peppers ballad, of all things, although I have no idea which one came first!

This CD has four bonus tracks though, beginning with "Nobody's Dirty Business", which is essentially an bluegrass/hillbilly update (backdate?) of the old tune "Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do", while "Dynamite" is a peppy, well written tune that has a fine, memorable melody and terrific harmonies, the live "Fun Has Just Begun" is almost circus-like in a demented way and the finale, "Oceans Cold", also cut live, is another quick moving crowd pleaser.

Kinda hard to describe these folks if you don't know the bands I listed above - kinda Americana, kinda 20's/30's-ish, kinda country, kinda hillbilly jazz, but all totally hip'n'cool, with great songwriting and vocalizing. Recommended! 

Friday, October 08, 2021

Chrissie Hynde - Reckless, My Life as a Pretender

 


Like everyone else, I first discovered Hynde and the Pretenders when their debut album exploded onto the scene as a smash hit, complete with Top 20 singles. I thought that record was pretty great, but I didn't really stick with them over the years and while Hynde would be on the musical radar now'n'again, I didn't follow her career in detail. But, I respected what she did and loved the fact that she was from Akron and then moved to London for the beginning of the punk scene there, so I knew that she had stories to tell!

Here, her memories'n'impressions are jumbled, random and not necessarily chronological but then so were the times. She does elicit a strong feeling of the 60”s even if it might not be exactly true - or maybe it’s just the acid’s version of truth. She was engrossed, enthralled and immersed with music, to the exclusion of pretty much everything else - including boys, for a time - except getting high. She was never much for schoolwork but went to Kent State - and was present during the massacre there - while listening to records, getting high, watching local bands like the James Gang (!) and doing her best to have a good time and not worry too terribly much about the future.

She sees lots of amazing groups, travels as much as possible (even briefly staying in both Canada and Mexico), and relies on the kindness of strangers, which often, but certainly not always, ends in frightening ways. To get away from it all she took a chance and without any real plan, moved to London - a fortuitous move, as it turned out. She fell into the right crowds fairly quickly - stumbling into Nick Kent at a party, began writing for NME, then worked for Let It Rock and then headed to Paris!

More traveling ensued, including a depressing trip back to America, before returning to London and, after a few abortive attempts with various musicians (including playing guitar in a pre-Brian James Damned), the Pretenders were formed - named after the doo wop number, "The Great Pretender". Fame'n'fortune came fast'n'furious, with its highs'n'lows, including hooking up with Ray Davies (and, incidentally, Iggy Pop!), among many other adventures. Drugs'n'alcohol were used'n'abused in the extreme, and, after two successful albums and world tours, both her guitarist and bassist died of overdoses. Too much, too soon, indeed - even Johnny Thunders, of all people, warned her about her lifestyle!

She leaves us there, with a postscript saying that she continues to make music, she has a family, although she remains single, and she finds her happiness where she can, as is the best any of us can say.

As I said, this starts off a little jumbled, mostly just impressions, but she ends up with a fairly coherent storyline, although some of the worst situations are left fairly vague. But still, despite her abuse of drink'n'drugs, which causes the problems that she has, she lives a fairly extraordinary life, and I always love hearing from those who truly experiences the best of the 60's and the 70's. Not particularly light hearted, but enjoyable, none-the-less. Certainly recommended. 

Thursday, October 07, 2021

recommended gigs

 Friday 10-8-21 - the Dickies with the Queers and the Sheiks of Neptune at the Dive Bar

Friday 10-8-21 - the Souvenairs at Tiki di Amore

Saturday 10-9-21 - the Double Whammys at Taverna Costera

Saturday 10-9-21 - daytime LV Blues Society Jam at Soul Belly

Saturday 10-9-21 - daytime - Thee Swank Bastards at Atomic Motors

Monday 10-11-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Thursday 10-14-21 - TV Party Tonight showing Death Proof with live music by the Negative Nancys at the Double Down

Friday 10-15-21 - the Double Whammys at the Golden Tiki

Saturday 10-16-21 - Thee Swank Bastards, Stagnetti's Cock, the Rhumones at the Double Down

Saturday 10-16-21 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Sand Dollar

Monday 10-18-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Saturday 10-23-21 - Thee Hypnotiques at the Charleston Antique Mall - 1:00 in the afternoon!

Monday 10-25-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Thursday 10-28-21 - Agent Orange at the Dive Bar

Friday 10-29-21 - The Psyatics at the Double Down with the Laissez Fairs and Kilfeather

Saturday 10-30-21 - Monster Zero, Dr. Phobic and the Phobic-Tones, the Nuclear Undead, Santa Muerte at the Double Down Saloon for the Zombie Prom

Saturday 10-30-21 - Thee Swank Bastards, the Implosions and the Riflemen at the Bullfrog Biennial at 6:00 pm in Rhyolite, NV

Monday 11-1-21 - The schizophonics, Cromm Fallon and the P200 and the Implosions at the Double Down, presented by Dirty Rock'n'Roll Dance Party

Friday 11-5-21 - Thee Hypnotiques at the Golden Tiki

Friday 12-3-21 - Dirty R'n'R Dance Party presents Cheap Tissue, Cromm Fallon P200 and Rhythm Ace and the Nu-Tones at the Usual Place

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

The Writhers - In One Gulp


 This is last year's release by the Writhers (i realized that Ghastly Reminders was recorded in 2019) and this one has the same essential features as the previous - including more hip artwork - but it also appears to be a concept record opening with "Devilmask Approaches" and closing with "Devilmask Defeated?", so maybe the "good guys" win?

Appropriately, it starts off with some sorta Misfits-ish punk rock mixed with Goth/punk that segues into 70's-styled, Damned-like (or is it Vom that I'm hearing?!) chant-along punk rock for "Rot Rot Rot", then a tale of UFO's in the accordion-led, call'n'answer punk of "What Is That?", there's some really clever rhythm'n'timing in "Pulp" (wherein lies the title "i'm going to eat you In One Gulp!") and, again, the accordion gives it a unique sound, "Cold Day" once more reminds me a bit of the Damned for some reason (maybe cuz I was just listening to them?!) but with plenty of other influences, as well, and the finale is a bit cinematic in its Gothic-ness as is reveals that the narrator has survived being swallowed alive before being able to recount that "Devilmask is defeated"!

The sound is really well done throughout, polished but without losing its edge. I do think that there is a progression in sound and songwriting, as well as performances, from the previous record and all for the better. Glad I picked this up!

The Writhers - Ghastly Reminders


 I caught the Writhers at the end of the night at the Double Down this past Friday and had a fun time during their set, but due to the lateness of the hour and the ingestion of liquid intoxicants, I could not really give a coherent review of their sound, other than that it was energetic punk rock with a bit of visual style and flair. I picked up two of their CD's to give a more well-rounded listen and I believe that this is the earlier one (chronologically) and it is nicely packaged with hip artwork by their singer, Robert Writhe.

Opening with a touch of mournful accordion, the opening "Pink Twilight" is a dramatic, cinematic horror theme that moves into "Down My Spine" that has driving bass (Iggy Death Ripper) and drums (Rikk R Treat) plus wiry guitar sounding somewhat like a cross between Wire and the Dead Kennedys, with spooky vocals. "Kill the Monster" is more pure punk rock with Robert as the monster that the world will not accept while "I Like To Leave Marks" is an ode to sado/masochism (or is it vampirism? It's a bit vague) done in a semi-lounge-singer/gothic style that picks up in a heavier mode about halfway through. The finale, "Point Pleasant 1966", is a bit of garage/horror-movie/punk rock'n'roll with buzzsaw guitars (courtesy of Chewy Morsel) that ends all too quickly - as it did for the protagonist's girlfriend in the song!

Somewhat silly, but enjoyable'n'thematic punk rock'n'roll. Definitely a band to experience live!

Monday, October 04, 2021

Prophet Greene, The Psyatics, The Holy Smokes, the Writhers at the Double Down, Friday Oct 1. 2021


Live shows are still a little weird here in Vegas, at least for me, but I ended up doing double duty at the Double Down on Friday for a super fun show with our pals the Holy Smokes and, added on later, San Diego's The Writhers.



I started the night off in my Prophet Greene guise, running through my interpretations of old blues songs, ala Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon and more. This was my first time doing this set at the DD and with my "regular" guitar amp, so my not-always-so-trusty drum-machine-pedal had a hard time keeping up with the volume and I had to make several adjustments, but I'm told it worked out in the end. I'm still shakey in this persona, but it is fun to try something different and I appreciate the chance to appear at the DD!
(Prophet photos by Ron Hudy and Nikki Ruffling, respectively - thanks you two!)




Of course, I couldn't take any photos of the Psyatics, but we had a super fun set - we all thought it was our best since coming back from Covid - with good stage sound and with a mix of some brand new songs along with those from our last album (Devil You Know) and some older numbers. There was a good crowd of appreciative rock'n'rollers throughout our set - we always appreciate the feedback! We will return to the DD on Friday Oct 29, so come on back, everyone!

One of my fave local bands, who unfortunately, do not play all too often, is the reformed Holy Smokes. With their unique mix of garage and blues, they are a good time, rockin' party band with great musicians - Luke from the Howlers on bass'n'vocals, Jeffrey on wailin' harp'n'vocals, Joel tearin' up his Tele and Turbo poundin' out the backbeat. The set mixed songs from their two CD's with what sounded to me like brand new originals and hip covers like Bo Diddley's (by way of the NY Dolls) "Pills". Always love seeing these cats - hope they do more soon!






I was having a bit too much of a good time by the time the Writhers hit the stage and didn't take any notes (but I did buy their two CD's, so more on those later) but had a good time with their crazy high energy show, visual hi jinx, accordion, dramatic presentation and somehow I ended up wearing a dunce cap with them! Fun stuff!





Once again, sorry that my phone takes such lousy pix in low lights (guess I need to remember to set the flash sometimes, especially as the DD seems darker than ever lately), but thanks to the DD and all the bands for a great time on a Friday night!

The Last Man - Mary Shelley

 

Of course, like any horror fan of my age, the Frankenstein tale and, naturally, the classic movie, has always resonated with me. Having seen the movie before reading the book - the same as with Dracula - the film is my preferred version, but the novel is a part of my life, as well. I never did explore any of Shelley's other works so when I discovered this, a dystopian, pandemic-themed story, I was interested in finding out how she would tackle this theme.

Interestingly, the story is set in the future - later this century, in fact - but there is little in the narrative that alludes to any time other than Shelley's period. They travel by horses - occasionally by hot air balloon, the one concession to a different future - and live in castles and battle with swords. It's somewhat odd that the woman with the imagination to create Frankenstein's monster could not contemplate any type of future innovations. This combined with her old fashioned dialect does not lend itself to futuristic fantasies.

On top of this, half way through the book there is still no indication of the plague that is the basis for the tale. The story is basically a soap opera of relationships - not bad in any way, but again, not the "advertised" story line. By the second "volume" of the book the plague is introduced, along with increasing weather disruptions - shades of climate change! Funnily, in this fantasy, the wealthy work hard - literally they help till the land - to help those in need in the times of pestilence with food and shelter, unlike our current times. Of course, as the ravages continue, times are increasingly harder - although food continues to be plentiful due to the decrease in population - and the survivors try to decide what is a proper course of action, if any. The plague continues to run its course until there is only one, 'the last man".

Certainly a compelling theme and Shelley brings up some intriguing points throughout the story (when there are only a handful of people left, it actually doesn't sound so bad to be able to travel with your friends wherever you want, to have plentiful food and to be able to sleep in palaces and enjoy works of art at your leisure), but again, the antiquated language tends to make the reading slow and the futuristic setting was essentially unnecessary.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

recommended gigs

 Friday 10-1-21 - the Psyatics at the Double Down with more Prophet Greene and the Holy Smokes

Monday 10-4-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Monday 10-4-21 - Goldtop Bob at the Founders Club

Wednesday 10-6-21 - Dirty Rock'n'Roll Dance Party at the Artifice with Hoover iii, the Acid Sisters and Headwinds

Wednesday 10-6-21 - Franks'n'Deans Weenie Roast with guest host Frankie Lee and the Infernos

Friday 10-8-21 - the Dickies with the Queers and the Sheiks of Neptune at the Dive Bar

Saturday 10-9-21 - the Double Whammys at Taverna Costera

Saturday 10-9-21 - daytime LV Blues Society Jam at Soul Belly

Saturday 10-9-21 - daytime - Thee Swank Bastards at Atomic Motors

Monday 10-11-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Saturday 10-16-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Saturday 10-16-21 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Sand Dollar

Monday 10-18-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Saturday 10-23-21 - Thee Hypnotiques at the Charleston Antique Mall - 1:00 in the afternoon!

Monday 10-25-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Thursday 10-28-21 - Agent Orange at the Dive Bar

Friday 10-29-21 - The Psyatics at the Double Down with the Laissez Fairs and Kilfeather

Saturday 10-30-21 - Monster Zero, Dr. Phobic and the Phobic-Tones, the Nuclear Undead, Santa Muerte at the Double Down Saloon for the Zombie Prom

Saturday 10-30-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Bullfrog Biennial at 6:00 pm in Rhyolite, NV

Monday 11-1-21 - The schizophonics, Cromm Fallon and the P200 and the Implosions at the Double Down, presented by Dirty Rock'n'Roll Dance Party

Friday 11-5-21 - Thee Hypnotiques at the Golden Tiki

Bridge City Sinners - Unholy Hymns


We picked this one up at Punk Rock Bowling, as well, and believe it to be their latest, although, again, there is literally no information whatsoever on the sleeve other than the song listings. This does sound closer to the current live band though, with the violin taking the solos in place of the clarinet on the earlier, self-titled CD.

Having said that, the record begins with some great but very un-BCS-like jazzy guitar for "The Devil's Swing", which is definitely based melodically on the Harlem Hamfats "Root Hog or Die", not that that is a bad thing at all! Is it my imagination or is "Rock Bottom" kind of a dramatic, torch version of the Stones' "Angie" mixed with German cabaret and gypsy music? "Departed" is a clever answer song to "St James Infirmary", again with a bit of cabaret swagger, with interesting vocal sweeps'n'swoons, as she sings in almost an undefined European accent and moves quickly from sweet to aggressive. In "Pick Your Poison", they give another upbeat number with a clever arrangement while "Devil Like You" is, again, musically kinda loosely based on "Minnie the Moocher", but just loosely and lyrically it is a old school murder/suicide number with a male singer narrating the murderer's point of view - there's a nice video for this one, as well. "Love of Mine" is gypsy-ish that moves back'n'forth from a basic waltz rhythm to a frantic whirlwind.

"The Legend of Olog Hai Pt 1 and Pt 2" is a bit cumbersomely titled but is a nice piece of drama, almost cinema-esque, with the bowed stand-up and violin giving a pretty string section, until it raves up with piercing shrieks, in a similar slow'n'fast progression as in "Love of Mine". The moody melodies for "The Fear" are truly creative and cinematic, with some flyin' fingering on both the banjo and violin as the song ramps up in a stormy intensity, swirling in a musical maelstrom, with almost death metal shrieks over it all. Things calm down a bit for "The Damned", but only momentarily, as it again turns into a fiercely frenetic bit of Satanic Gypsy madness, and the title track closes out the proceedings with a bit more banjo mixed in with some string interaction and a choral call'n'answer for a full, creative arrangement.

While there are some similarities in their songs, this record seems to show a growth in songwriting and thoughtful arrangements as well as production to create a strong end product. There's a lot of impressive ideas going on here - both musically and lyrically - and it will be fascinating to see where they go from here. Dig it!

Bridge City Sinners - self-titled

 


I am a newcomer to the BCS - my lovely wife turned me on to them due to a friend saying that her banjolele playing reminded them of the Sinners - but just had a chance to see them at Punk Rock Bowling this past weekend and picked up a couple of their CD's to further explore their sounds.

I do not know how long they have been around (the info on their Facebook page is a bit sparse), but they have 84000 followers, so I assume they have been making music for a little while! This appears to be their debut - its sleeve only lists the songs, no other info at all - and while the singer/banjolele-ist is obviously the same and she seems to be backed by stand-up bass, banjo, guitar (maybe/maybe not - kinda hard to tell in the mix, actually), but the fiddle that was the lead instrument in the live act is primarily replaced by a clarinet here (except for the uncredited 9th track on the CD). The feel is the same, overall - a kinda 20's/30's crooner/old-timey music (sorta similar in a way to what R. Crumb does) but with more of a darker, punk ethos and often with sin-inspired lyrics. Quite a number of current musicians are mining similar territory these days (even I was in a band with the same concept for a few years), but the Sinners do add some originality and the singer has a fine voice that fits in thematically, although she'll add a punky sneer'n'growl now'n'again to balance out her old-timey croon.

Here they open with "St. James Infirmary" (funnily enough, a song that we covered in the aforementioned band that I was in) and do a good job of making it their own (is that a saw towards the end?!). This is followed by a goofy novelty song sung in a little girl voice, "Pussy Cat", that's silly enough, but not much of substance. "Come On In" is less overtly frivolous but quite flirtatious and is a fun, bouncy 20's-styled, lascivious come on, while "Laugh While You Can" continues in the same upbeat musical groove, but with almost a pirate flair with the "ya ha ha ha ha's"! "Stray Cat Strut" (yes, that song) actually works stylistically, due to the chord progression being fairly universal, and one of the guys gets to sing lead for "I Wanna Be Like You", another bit of Dixielandish/Cab Calloway-ish bounce, then the wuper-fast-paced "Dungeon Song" is basically punk/pirate (kinda similar to GoGo Bordello, in a way) before returning to a sorta/kinda quieter croon in "Satan's Song" and the finale is uncredited on the sleeve, so I dunno the title, but it sounds a bit more like the current band, complete with violin in place of the clarinet and a bit more brashness in the vocals - really good one, tho with melodic hints of "Minnie the Moocher" (at least to my ears)!

Like I say, although they are influenced by old-time toons, they are adding a bit of punk edge along with their personal, slightly Satanic style to it all. Good stuff!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Punk Rock Bowling festival September 2021 `

 Well, I didn't take notes and barely took any pictures cuz we were busy in general and kinda running around simultaneously and didn't really see any full day, but here's a few impressions from PRB this year.

We ended up getting in for part of Saturday but due to Melanie's work schedule we only got to see Plague Vendor, even though we wanted to check out more (we were bummed to miss the Circle Jerks). Mel had heard good things about them and they put on a great set of kinda post-punk minimalism with a dash of the Fluid's punk'n'roll and a terrifically manic frontman who was continually being held back by the bouncers, for some reason. He kept jumping out into the audience though, and was very good at his interaction with the crowd, despite being directly in the blazing, mid-day sun. The bassist had a monstrous, growly tone through the house SVT that pretty much carried the songs, while the guitarist added some wiry riffage on top and the drums held it all together. A truly fab live combo - glad we were able to see them!

Sunday was the day that we had tickets to go anyway and got there early to see the acoustic act, the Bridge City Sinners. With a female crooner/banjolele frontwoman backed by stand-up bass, dobro, fiddle and "regular" banjo, they performed punkily energetic takes on old-timey styled music. A number of folks were there for them and many even sang along to their tunes and bopped to the beat. I know that plenty of peeps are doing the 20's/30's-ish style of music these days, but the Sinners add a lyrical dimension of devilish glee, filled with evil intent. The singer goes into kind of a death metal growl a little too often, but that's a minor complaint - well worth checking out.

Of course, I've ranted'n'raved about San Diego's incredible Schizophonics numerous times here on my blog and on this day they were featured on the main stage at the early hour of 4:00, which meant that the band along with a good portion of the audience was scorched by the mid-day sun. That had the crowd moving a bit to stay in the shade but it didn't stop singer/guitarist Pat from leapin', fruggin', somersaultin', splittin' and generally acting like a human pinball for the duration of their set. He amazed the crowd by basically playing guitair with one hand while he flails about non-stop and even losing his strap didn't slow him down! He's not adverse to putting his guitar down just long enough to do a James Brown dance move, then pick it up right on beat and continue on with the song. He managed to leap across the barriers into the audience and got everyone to dance along with him and shout'n'shimmy'n'get down on their knees with him before he lept back up and finished out the finale. Drummer Lety is an amazing time-keeper - and looks great while doing it! - and their current bassist (they've gone through a few over the years) kept the fuzz bass rumbling throughout. They never disappoint and they definitely won some new fans with this wild set. The sound in front could have been a bit better, but unfortunately, that happens with the early bands on these kind of bills.



We took a dinner break during MDC's set, which led into All's time, as well - although All sounded pretty damn strong and far more interesting'n'varied than many of the melodic punk/hardcore groups around these days - but we made sure to catch the Riverboat Gamblers set. While I didn't care for the singer's current hippie-length hair, beard and dress sense, he was still another non-stop, wildman up front while the band was a tight rockin' machine behind him. - although we think it was at least a somewhat different line up than the last couple times we saw them. They had some young girl (like 10-ish young) come up and sing an entire song with them, as well as an older, mohawked musician for some punk-rock cover that I didn't recognize. Still a blast, but not quite as phenomenal as the last couple of times we saw them.



We socialized during the Murder City Devils - who sounded pretty good with a keyboard player adding a bit of a difference to the sound - then I checked out during the English Beat as I do not care for ska, the Lunachicks were rockin' but they're not my particular cup of hemlock, we talked with old friends during Municipal Waste, which we knew nothing about, and then came the finale with Devo!

Amazingly, it's already been 8 years since the last time Devo headlined PRB but, if anything, they were even better this time out! Once again, they had an opening video and throughout their set, the live music was perfectly synced up to their fantastic lightshow/video display - not an easy feat! Multiple costume changes enhanced the show, with their MTV hits placed in the middle of the set followed by the crowd faves, their songs from their first two records. Superb musicianship throughout, especially from drummer John Freese, and even though the videos dwarfed the group, they were still animated and fun on stage. Tons of people cite this as by far the best set of the fest - make sure you see them if you can!

I wish that we had had the time to do more, but between other obligations and the upper 90 degree heat, there was only so much that we could do. But, it was a fun time for socializing as well as rockin'!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

recommended gigs

 Thursday 9-23-21 - Sunday 9-26-21 - Punk Rock Bowling Festival

Friday 9-24-21 - Tiki Bandits at the Double Down with Unit F, Revolt Chix, Hamapple, Hope Fiend

Saturday 9-25-21 - The Darts at Evel Pie with tons of other bands - PRB-related

Monday 9-27-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Friday 10-1-21 - the Psyatics at the Double Down with more Prophet Greene and the Holy Smokes

Monday 10-4-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Monday 10-4-21 - Goldtop Bob at the Founders Club

Wednesday 10-6-21 - Dirty Rock'n'Roll Dance Party at the Artifice with Hoover iii, the Acid Sisters and Headwinds

Friday 10-8-21 - the Dickies with the Queers and the Sheiks of Neptune at the Dive Bar

Saturday 10-9-21 - the Double Whammys at Taverna Costera

Saturday 10-9-21 - daytime LV Blues Society Jam at Soul Belly

Saturday 10-23-21 - Thee Hypnotiques at the Charleston Antique Mall - 1:00 in the afternoon!

Thursday 10-28-21 - Agent Orange at the Dive Bar

Friday 10-29-21 - The Psyatics at the Double Down with the Laissez Fairs

Saturday 10-30-21 - Monster Zero, Dr. Phobic and the Phobic-Tones, the Nuclear Undead, Santa Muerte at the Double Down Saloon for the Zombie Prom

Monday 11-1-21 - The schizophonics, Cromm Fallon and the P200 and the Implosions at the Double Down, presented by Dirty Rock'n'Roll Dance Party

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Residents at the Regent Theater in LA, Wednesday Sept 15, 2021 by guest blogger Rob Bell

 


            On September 15, 2021 the wife and I made the trek to see experimental band The Residents in L.A. for the first time.  Established in 1972, the band is difficult to classify…avant-garde, experimental, sometimes focusing on sonic landscapes instead of any semblance of structured songs.  They play in anonymity, masked and silent, focusing on the music or story of the compositions.  Residents albums are thematic, focusing on a story/binding narrative and their performance feels like theater.  Tonight was no different, but also completely different.

            First off, I would like to say The Regent in L.A. did a fantastic job of making us feel comfortable and in a safe, intimate environment for our first real concert experience since the pandemic started.  Full vaccination required and attendees masked did nothing to take away from the enjoyment of the seated show, and put us at ease to really enjoy the evening.

            Because of the pandemic, the first 19 shows on the tour were cancelled, making The Regent the first official stop on the 2021-2022 for Dog Stab (the 50th anniversary tour).  This collection of shows is culled from 3 albums, Duck Stab, Third Reich and Roll and the newest Metal, Meat and Bone (The Songs of Alvin Snow).  Their new album continues their penchant for storytelling…supposedly an old albino blues artist, Alvin Snow (AKA Dyin’ Dog) was friends with Roland Sheehan (a member of the Residents) in the mid-seventies.  After the death of Howlin’ Wolf, he disappeared.  In 2008, The Residents ‘discovered’ his demos, and released their own interpretations of them.  It’s essentially a ‘cover album’ of their own compositions, and a damn good one at that!  The cd also includes the original ‘demos’, showing their dedication and commitment to the storytelling.

            The show started at 8p (no opening act), with four members, masked in wolf heads (with glowing eyes) and suits hitting the stage.  Guitar, keys, drums and vocals accompany the songs, which were very structured (in a good way).  This was the Residents playing their version of the blues…some dream-like and droning and others extremely reminiscent of Tom Waits/ Brennan collaborations.  The first set (one hour) consisted of the majority of ‘Metal, Meat and Bone’, interspersed with dialogue from the projected head of Alvin Snow, talking about his upbringing, bad luck with women, and finding religion in the songs of Howlin’ Wolf.  Movement was minimal, and the band never spoke, giving the whole presentation the feel of a cult theater, engrossing and enveloping.

            After a short intermission, the band came back with a costume change (eyeball suits and matching face masks), and played the entirety of Duck Stab (out of order)!  My first and favorite Residents album, this one is electronic with modulated voices and strings, not entirely unlike early Devo compositions.  Sinister and uneasy, this album came out in 1978, influencing many, with ‘covers’ of these tracks shaping other bands most beloved songs (including Flipper’s ‘Ha-Ha-Ha’ and They Might Be Giant’s ‘Istanbul’).  The accompanying videos consisted of versions of the residents throughout the years, including the iconic eyeball with top hat look from the ‘Eskimo’ album.  After a throbbing Constatinople and stage exit, the audience brought them out once more for an encore consisting of tracks from Third Reich n’ Roll, a deconstructing of top 40 rock and roll songs from the 60’s, including Land of 1000 Dances, Hanky-Panky and The Letter.  I’ve always dug the Residents, perhaps more for their willingness to experiment and break norms than for their actual output, but two hours later and I’m a convert.  Please see them…50 years on, they are still a force against nature.  Mucho thanks to Dani Bell for the pictures and Rich Coffee for the platform!







Setlist:

SET 1 (all culled from the album ‘Metal, Meat and Bone’)

1.     Dyin’ Dog Intro         

2.     I Know

3.     She Called Me Doggy

4.     The Dogs Dream

5.     Dyin’ Dog interlude 1

6.     Cut To The Quick

7.     Dead Weight

8.     Dyin’ Dog interlude 2

9.     Bury My Bone

10.  River Runs Dry

11.  Dyin’ Dog interlude 3

12.  Cold as a Corpse

13.  Blood Stains

14.  Hungry Hound

15.  Dyin’ Dog interlude 4

16.  Die!  Die!  Die!

 

SET 2 (the entirety of the album ‘Duck Stab!’)

1.     The Booker Tease

2.     Blue Rosebuds

3.     Lizard Lady

4.     Laughing Song

5.     Bach is Dead

6.     Sinister Exaggerator

7.     Weight-Lifting Lulu

8.     Krafty Cheese

9.     Elvis and His Boss

10.  Birthday Boy

11.  Semolina

12.  Hello Skinny

13.  The Electrocutioner

14.  Constatinople

 

ENCORE (from the album ‘’Third Reich n’ Roll’)

1.     Swastikas on Parade

2.     Hitler Was a Vegetarian

3.     The Letter

 

Rob Bell 9/18/2021


Monday, September 13, 2021

RIP Don Maddox

Don Maddox – Final Member of Maddox Brothers & Rose – Has Died 
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Thursday, September 09, 2021

Bob Gruen - Right Place, Right Time


 Gruen is one of the legendary photographers whose iconic pictures have graced an untold number of albums, magazines and more and who is still working to this day. After learning to take and develop photos from his mother, he had his first newspaper byline at 13 and has since learned how to be in the "right place" at the "right time".

It took a little time before Bob was able to make a living with his photos, but growing up in the New York area he had already taken pictures of legendary events such as Dylan's first electric concert at Newport. Befriending musicians and writers while working in photography-related day jobs, he managed to insinuate himself into the growing scene - which was a bit easier to do in the 60's and 70's than it is today - and was soon working with superstars like Ike and Tina Turner and even John Lennon!

Everything seemed to move faster in those days and Gruen became involved with the New York Dolls, documenting their first trip to LA among other adventures, Alice Cooper (he took photos at the fabled meeting of Dali and Alice), Elton John, Led Zep (the iconic personal jet pic), Kiss and anyone else who could provide a fun photo, or at least a paycheck! Of course, once the punk scene got going, that was a natural fit, as well (despite his mass of curly hair, mustache and flared jeans!), and he documented both the burgeoning NY and London scenes while still also taking pix of the big stars of the day at the same time - sometimes even the same day or night! He even managed to get on the bus for the fateful Sex Pistols American tour!

Gruen spends a lot of the book recounting his friendship with Lennon - obviously the biggest star that he knew personally - and his continued relationship with Yoko and Sean long after John's death. But, he continues to work with and befriend more current stars, as well, although once we're past the 70's, the names become somewhat less interesting to me, but that's just me, and he dedicates most of the book to those more thrilling times.

All in all, a fun trip through the best years of rock'n'roll with some incredible images and nice tidbit stories. He has had, and continues to have, an incredible life, and the book is a fine reflection of that life. Fans of the times and of his images will certainly enjoy this.


recommended gigs

 Friday, Saturday, Sunday Sept 10, 11, 12 - Thee Swank Bastards, Shanda and the Howlers and much more at Viva Las Vegas

Saturday 9-18-21 - Jesse and the Hogg Brothers, Stagnetti's Cock, the Mucky Boys, Big Beau and Jangle Gang at the Double Down

Monday 9-20-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Thursday 9-23-21 - Sunday 9-26-21 - Punk Rock Bowling Festival

Saturday 9-25-21 - The Darts at Evel Pie with tons of other bands - PRB-related

Monday 9-27-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Friday 10-1-21 - the Psyatics at the Double Down with more Prophet Greene and the Holy Smokes

Friday 10-8-21 - the Dickies with the Queers and the Sheiks of Neptune at the Dive Bar

Saturday 10-9-21 - the Double Whammys at Taverna Costera

Thursday 10-28-21 - Agent Orange at the Dive Bar

Friday 10-29-21 - The Psyatics at the Double Down for Nikki Ruffling's birthday with the Silhouettes and the Laissez Fairs

Saturday 10-30-21 - Monster Zero, Dr. Phobic and the Phobic-Tones, the Nuclear Undead, Santa Muerte at the Double Down Saloon for the Zombie Prom

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Only Lovers Left Alive (movie)

 


We don't get around to watching too much stuff these days and we just happened upon this 2013 Jim Jarmusch flick the other night. We're suckers for twisted love stories, especially those that involve musicians - in this case, vampiric musicians. It's a tale of a married couple who have been together for centuries but are currently separated in Tangiers (the book-loving wife, Eve) and in exile in the abandoned suburbs of Detroit (the musician husband, Adam). The despondent, somewhat needy husband convinces his wife to return to him as he wallows in self-pity while making his noisy, somewhat ambient music (recorded by Jarmusch's own band) on old school equipment - he also hires a human to procure him wonderful, old guitars, equipment, and other oddities. Together again, they celebrate with blood that Adam procures from a local hospital and all is well until Eve's sister surprises them and their bliss is demolished.

So much that we could relate to in this film - the isolation, the artistic creation, the relationship and the damn cool guitars! This was a fun one - glad that my fabulous wife discovered it!

Monday, September 06, 2021

RIP Rickie Lee Reynolds of BOA




Black Oak Arkansas guitarist Rickie Lee Reynolds dies aged 72 
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I loved Raunch and Roll Live when it came out - and still do to this day! Although Rickie left when he found religion, he was an integral part of the initial - and best - BOA sound. Sad to hear of his early passing.


Sunday, September 05, 2021

The Implosions, the Psyatics, Franks'n'Deans at the Double Down, Friday September 3, 2021

 


Well, the world is still an unpredictable place - mostly due to the anti-vaxxers needlessly dragging out the pandemic - but at times we have to do our best to at least pretend to have some semblance of normalcy in our lives and get out and see people again. This show at the fabulous Double Down Saloon was a perfect chance as everyone involved are friends and are sane enough to be careful.

This gig was supposed to include the Maxies but unforeseen circumstances kept them from making it out to Vegas so the Psyatics filled in to complete the aural mayhem of the evening.

Opening the night was one of my fave bands in town, the terrific Implosions - a groovy band and some of the heppest people in Vegas. This double-couple quartet mix up garage-y punk rock, pop and Cramps-ian sleaze with Vegas-themed lyrics. Opening with a brand new rocker about Evel Knievel, they ran through a super-fun set with numbers like "Moulin Rouge" - a song about Jim Crow laws in Vegas that is highlighted by a fab, noisy guitar solo - along with a rockin' homage to the Stardust (the band stole the Stardust logo for their new t-shirt, which I failed to pick up, but you need to get the next time they play), a dedication to Binion's million dollar photo shoot - this one moves from Cramps-ish swagger to hard rockin' with a seriously great guitar solo - then one about the Blue Angel and closing with their tribute to playing the ponies! Clay'n'Denise provide a swingin' rhythm section while Dave provides a variety of git-slingin' and the lovely Adrienne croons'n'shouts her way through seriously clever lyrics. They're being careful during these trying times, but hopefully they will be back out'n'about soon.

(Again, my phone camera takes crappy pix, but here's a few. You can't really see that the Imp's got the crowd up on the feet and dancing throughout the set!)




Of course, I couldn't take any photos during the Psyatics sets, but here's a couple of selfies before we started. :) I was a bit sloppier than I should have been but it was fun running through some brand new tunes along with some tried'n'true Psyatics classics along with numbers from our pre-COVID album, Devil You Know. We will be back at the DD on Friday October 1 - come on out and see what other surprises we have up our collective sleeves!


Franks'n'Deans are a Double Down favorite and rightfully so - a highly talented combo who mix tight playing with ridiculously good harmonies while blasting out punk rock versions of Rat Pack numbers! They have also stretched out to include their take on surf numbers, as well, all while the lovely, appropriately-named Muse shakes'n'shimmies and entices the crowd.  They have a new (to me, anyway) drummer calling himself Meatbag (I guess I won't ask about that sobriquet) who was excellent, with a strong attack all while adding extra vocal harmonies! Always a good time, although halfway through their set I was out on my feet after working all week and needed to cross town while I still could safely. I hope to see these cats again soon, as well.



 

Once again, I must say thank you to Ian and the entire crew at the Double Down for hosting another great night of local music and thanks to the Imps and F'n'Ds for being the coolest. We'll see you again soon!

Thursday, September 02, 2021

recommended gigs

 Friday 9-3-21 - the Psyatics, Franks'n'Deans, the Implosions at the Double Down

Saturday 9-4-21 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki

Monday Sept 6- Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Friday, Saturday, Sunday Sept 10, 11, 12 - Thee Swank Bastards, Shanda and the Howlers and much more at Viva Las Vegas

Saturday 9-18-21 - Jesse and the Hogg Brothers, Stagnetti's Cock, the Mucky Boys, Big Beau and Jangle Gang at the Double Down

Monday 9-20-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Friday 9-24-21 - Sunday 9-26-21 - Punk Rock Bowling Festival

Saturday 9-25-21 - The Darts at Evel Pie with tons of other bands - PRB-related

Monday 9-27-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Friday 10-1-21 - the Psyatics at the Double Down with more Prophet Greene and the Holy Smokes

Friday 10-8-21 - the Dickies with the Queers and the Sheiks of Neptune at the Dive Bar

Friday 10-29-21 - The Psyatics at the Double Down for Nikki Ruffling's birthday with the Silhouettes and the Laissez Fairs

Thursday Oct 28 - Agent Orange at the Dive Bar

Monday, August 30, 2021

RIP Ron Bushy of Iron Butterfly



Iron Butterfly Drummer Ron Bushy Dead at 79 
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I know that the song became a cliche, but that was a helluva tune and Bushy's drum solo is a classic - and actually listenable! 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

recommended gigs

Thursday 8-26-21 - the Blank Tapes, Wanderers, Indigo Kidd at Artifice

Monday 8-30-21 - Goldtop Bob at Founders Club

Monday 8-30-21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday 9-1-21 - Franks'n'Deans Weenie Roast at the Double Down

Friday 9-3-21 - the Psyatics, Franks'n'Deans, the Implosions at the Double Down

Saturday 9-4-21 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki

Saturday 9-18-21 - Jesse and the Hogg Brothers, Stagnetti's Cock, the Mucky Boys, Big Beau and Jangle Gang at the Double Down

Friday 9-24-21 - Sunday 9-26-21 - Punk Rock Bowling Festival

Saturday 9-25-21 - The Darts at Evel Pie with tons of other bands - PRB-related

Friday 10-1-21 - the Psyatics at the Double Down with more Prophet Greene and the Holy Smokes

Friday 10-8-21 - the Dickies with the Queers and the Sheiks of Neptune at the Dive Bar

Friday 10-29-21 - The Psyatics at the Double Down for Nikki Ruffling's birthday with the Silhouettes and the Laissez Fairs

Thursday Oct 28 - Agent Orange at the Dive Bar

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Picasso - Creator and Destroyer - Arianna Huffington

 


My lovely wife picked this book up at some point and I stumbled upon it in between other readings and it looked reasonably fascinating, particularly seeing as I know little about the man. Of course, I know Arianna from her Huffington Post, and her writing style is quite compelling - as is her subject.

A child prodigy with artistic parents who recognized his talent early on, Pablo was somewhat pampered and doted on, especially by his father, and his early works are truly striking. With little care for rules or traditions, beginning in his teens, Picasso moved around as much as he could afford to - which, for a number of years, wasn't much as a traditional starving artist. Eventually, though, a critic recognized his growth and bought a number of paintings, which allowed Pablo some independence for years.

Picasso is known for his passions and Huffington at least hints that his sexuality may have been fluid, at least at times, although women seem to be his main attraction. Of course, his art was his strongest passion, and he often lived simply to paint, although his debaucheries were equally often a distraction. As is hinted in the book's title, he was also ready to destroy any artistic traditions and with some heavy influence from African "primitivism", he creates Cubism. 

This was a fast-moving time for the arts and salons came'n'went and evolved and Picasso had his own cadre of friends'n'admirers and Huffington quotes him extensively as he would talk about his philosophy of art and what he hope to accomplish. He quickly finds'n'holds onto fame'n'fortune and moves through innumerable women and innumerable pieces of art. His relationships with women'n'friends come'n'go, although some may last for years and some may be resurrected at different times in his life, depending on his needs. He is obviously extremely self-centered and seems to take much more than he gives at any given time - his relationships with women, in particular, but with friends, as well, can be truly reprehensible at times - most of the time, in fact.

The books is not a critique of his works, although significant ones are mentioned, but a biography and while Arianna seems to be trying to be even-handed throughout, she does seem to have her favorites among Picasso's women and she has no problem critiquing the man's many personality flaws. 

Again, not rock'n'roll, although Pablo's attitudes certainly were reflected among many later rockers. Still, his work manages to excite'n'entice to this day and he was a major influencer of pop culture. This is a fine review of the man's life.