Monday, April 20, 2015

The Motorcycle Black Madonnas, Thee Fourgiven and The Unclaimed at the Redwood Bar, Los Angeles, April 18, 2015

This is one that I've been looking forward to for several months - the first reunion show for my 80's band Thee Fourgiven, along with good friends in the MBM's and the group that started it all, the legendary Unclaimed!

Although it was their record release show (new vinyl/CD release, These Days - more on that soon), the Motorcycle Black Madonnas were gracious enough to open up the show. Led by husband and wife team Marea and Jonathan Hall (Backbiter/Freeks), the band smoked through a set of tunes from their two CDs, mixing Marea's Patti Smith/Bob Dylan influenced lyrics with Jonathan's incredible guitar playing and compelling arrangements. I've always been a fan of Hall's playing - he is one of the best around and I love what he's doing as he alternates from his Strat - excellent whammy-bar work - to his hollow-body Guild. The rhythm section of Richard Jones (bass) and John Collinson (drums) moves from powerhouse bashing to fine subtlety behind M&J and the whole package seemed to win over the crowd right from the start.

This was the first reunion show for the Fourgiven so we had to return to our old LA stompin' grounds and were happy to see so many old friends make it out to lend their support. Everyone was terrific and we had a blast playing, even as I snapped the neck off of my SG in the throes of a noise solo in "Anything"! We will be playing more, so "like" our Facebook page and come out when you can!

The Unclaimed were the band (or, at least one of the first) that started the 60's revival on the west coast and were always one of the best! Led by singer/guitarist/lead guru/visionary Shelley Ganz, the group went through several personnel changes before splitting up in the late 80's. The new line-up includes former Unclaimed/Yard Trauma/Outsideinside and too-many-more-to-name bassist Lee Joseph (who also owns Dionysus Records - home of Thee Fourgiven), former Droogs/Dream Syndicate/also-too-many-to-name Dave Provost on lead guitar and Dave Drewry - also veteran of numerous groups - on drums.

The set comprised of songs from the Primordial Ooze Flavored 12" EP, like the classic "No Apology" and "Lost Trails", unreleased (I think) tunes like "My Kind" and numbers from the Attila and the Huns record ("Betty Cooper", "Under the Bodhi Tree"). Of course, they pulled out some of the raw garage songs that they helped to introduce to the world like "Bad Girl" and the Syndicate of Sound hit, "Hey Little Girl" (which they have done throughout the entirety of their career).

Naturally, this is a bit different from the other line-ups, but it is all still prototypical Unclaimed. Shelley looks and sounds terrific, Dave is a fine and expressive lead guitarist, Dave D. is a pounder and, of course, Lee is up their with the best bassists around. See them when you can!