Friday, October 20, 2017

INGER LORRE BRAVES A VENICE CALIF. GIG 9.23.17

 
Inger Lorre played famed Venice CA culture depot Beyond Baroque 9.23.17 with her Nymphs' bandmates TJ Rauch on guitar and percussionist/drummer Eric Contreras. Whereas her set of Nymphs' classics and newer solo original material remained a predictably excellent caliber, it proved a strange gig...


...which was illustrated far worse in the warmup set by legendary local Tequila Mockingbird (shrugging below left.) She had attempted to provide ambient music with her synthesizer, but no sound was heard. Luckily her masked Theremin player (below right) remained fully audible.

 
In the case of Inger's set, her lead vocals microphone wasn't heard as well. Fortunately for the patient audience, her strong voice singing of powerful emotions carried well into the venue, and the guitarist and percussionist followed through in adjusting their own volumes. Strange to deny the lead performer of both acts any audio whatsoever. We all were told later that the sound person had gone home at 9 p.m. for the 10 p.m. performance...

Thursday, October 19, 2017

ARWEN LEWIS, PETER LEWIS "The Yellin' Bells" plus CARLA OLSON 2x, and JACK RIVERA 1x

Jack Rivera solo last night at Molly Malone's as part of the International Pop Overthrow Los Angeles fête: cool blues & pop!
The International Pop Overthrow Festival lured songbird Arwen Lewis and dad Peter Lewis (yes, legendary singer/guitarist of Moby Grape fame) sporting their new moniker The Yellin' Bells to the stage of Molly Malone's back on 8.1.17. Father and daughter both remain such strong singer/guitarists that play beautifully off one another, so this set of classic Grape fare plus newer originals predictably sounded fantastic. 

Also on hand, another formidable singer/guitarist Carla Olson (of The Textones and various superior duet albums with onetime Rolling Stone Mick Taylor and the late Byrd Gene Clark) joined in to jam. Moby Grape songs haven't sounded this hot since their inception in the mid-1960s! 

Many artists played the Fête on assorted nights, but I was fortunate to catch this act just before the Yellin' Bells: legendary producer/musician Jack Rivera doing a fine solo turn. Quite the local legend for his stint in the Stains and notoriety as a great purist Hard Pop producer, Rivera initially had been introduced to me by his clients Dr. Boogie (LINK*) whose singer/guitarist Chris P. lauded him as "the person from whom I learned everything useful, like you can be out there musically as long as you remember to have hooks." Playing solo since his current band did not remain sufficiently healthy to gig, he offered a skillful set of self-accompanied originals.

Our next encounter with The Yellin' Bells and their talented chum Carla Olson erupted at Skinny's Lounge on Sept. 3, 2017 wherein the club apparently forgot to turn on any onstage illumination. Nonetheless, the crowd predictably was treated to quite a cool set.  The Yellin' Bells remain: Peter Lewis, Arwen Lewis, George Adrian, Nick Babishoff, and John Collinson.
 


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

PERSONAL STUFF CATCH UP

 New Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound) puppy Livia joins bitchpack with Scottish Deerhound Gia, Golden Retriever Sarabelle and yours truly...
 Mr. Twister and hounds before the former's morning coffee ↑

sleeping arrangements ↓
 



 
 
Picking up  puppy, literally and figuratively, in Gorman, Calif. rendezvous locale.

Below, fun birthday dinner last night at my very favorite Japanese restaurant (great sashimi and they play Reggae music in the background!) Thank you Mr. Twister, Chris and Carolyn. In the last pic, I sport the hachimaki headband for courage to endure another birthday (don't even ask...)
 



Saturday, October 14, 2017

THE DOGS ROCK MAUI SUGAR MILL 9.8.17 with a surprise or two...

 

 Detroit/L.A. legends THE DOGS shredded the Maui Sugar Mill club in Reseda of the San Fernando Valley part of L.A. this last 9.28.17, delighting the crowd their usual supertight but wild finesse, plus a few surprises.
 

The redoubtable Jenna Talia, newly relocated from The Dogs' own native Detroit, proved the perfect singer to come jam on what had been the B/side of their legendary 1977 "Slash Your Face" punk EP, a cover of the Barbarian's "Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl." Loren repayed the favor a few weeks later with his participation in Jenna's West Coast debut of newly revamped GlitterTrash at the Viper Room.

Quote of the evening was Loren's onstage patter of the band's longevity (actually since the 1960s) joking that "We haven't played the San Fernando Valley since the mid-1980s when the streets of L.A. were paved with cocaine!"  

THE DOGS are Loren Molinare, lead vocals, guitar; Mary Kay, bass, vocals; Tony Matteucci, drums, vocals. 




PHOTO OPS:
Billy Bones, another O.G.L.A. punk formerly of The Skulls, also raved 
through a set with his 
newer The Sold! and 
Bones ensemble. At left, Bones flanks photographer Michael Eivaz, resplendent in a historic T-shirt of The San Fernando Valley's major rock venue of the 1980s, the Country Club.  Below, Mary Kay, bassist of The Dogs hangs with Jenna Talia and friend.
Below, Loren Dog enjoys a long ago Dogs' show tearsheet 
supplied by fan Bill Ballard from PNX News.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A COLLEAGUE IS THREATENED WITH VIOLENCE by Punk icon...

 
Spot the music photographer. No, not the subject of this piece but yours truly, since I don't want to remind her pictorially of this unpleasant episode any more than she wishes. First two shots, guest photographer 
© John "Star Dust" Alvarez;
next pic © 2017 Kurt Ingham; 
last shot © Donna Balancia







Photojournalist Alyson Camus of Rock NYC Live, who graciously reviewed my photography exhibit in May of this year LINK*, was threatened onstage by Television's Tom Verlaine this last week. For the story in her own works, click LINK** .

My own response to fellow comrades in photographic arms on social media was the following: Colleagues, we have approximately 5 years left to take pro shots of the music we love until all phones have pro photography features. Then, the present policy of no pro photographers allowed, only phone-wielding amateurs allowed to provide snapshots on the internet for anyone who wants free content will prevail. This is what those representing today's artists want, as their so-called public relations mainly is concerned with preventing real media access than enabling it. Quantity over quality, micromanaging control rather than artistry. 

When I began Public Relations firms knew who was good and who wasn't, so they mainly sorted who got what interviews and gigs, relegating, say, beginners to less crucial ones. Also in my 50 years, I only snuck in cameras once with my otherwise valid press access, and that was for the very inception of today's restricted era, that of Tony Defries barring all photography of David Bowie in 1972. My shots came via telephoto lenses in a false bottom of a purse since I had heard tell of this policy in advance. 

It is the inevitable future of our profession no matter what our focus. I already have encountered security trying to bar my photography of outdoor public statuary in indisputably public places, whining that statues are "an event" not a public installation, no pro cameras allowed! while allowing all cellphoners to snap away. I'm not advising tabloid-type intrusiveness ever, but if you are press and pro and believe in the First Amendment, have some kind of subterfuge techniques up your sleeve ready to go...

Best online response, by Verlaine's former Television guitar-sparring partner Richard Lloyd: "I certainly don't mind people filming me or my band." Lloyd's autobiography Everything Is Combustible: Television, CBGB's and Five Decades of Rock and Roll will be released on Oct. 25, 2017. Richard's science-laden blog and social media sites remain vastly entertaining even minus any music musings, guaranteeing this tome as a fascinating read to come. My copy already is ordered!


*http://rocknycliveandrecorded.com/fast-film-50-years-of-music-photography-by-heather-harris-at-pop-obscure-records-saturday-may-6th-2017.html
 **http://rocknycliveandrecorded.com/tom-verlaine-threatens-rock-nyc-with-violence.html

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

THE BLESSINGS and THE SLOTHS' DYNAMIC DOUBLE BILL live 7.19.17

Above, THE BLESSINGS; below, THE SLOTHS
 Monty Bar in a southwest corner of downtown Los Angeles, cool but slightly inaccessible via a public transportationless locale bereft of neither street nor public parking, proved the exact place one had to be to be earlier this summer. 7.19.17 sported a primo double bill of L.A.'s favorite blues/country/soul/rock THE BLESSINGS and half-century later surprise retro-resurgents THE SLOTHS.
One hopes readers aren't desensitized to frequent praises heaped upon THE BLESSINGS, because they remain every bit as deserving of any and all accolades. Their Exile on Main Street classic orchestration of singer, strong backing singer, 2 guitars, harmonica, keyboards, bass, drums sounds even better in today's climate of anemic band/faux pitch-bent vocalist, all dance/percussion chart hit formulae. The Blessings also remain every bit as deserving of fame and fortune for the high quality of their songwriting. When was the last time you left a gig with all of one band's repertoire as firmly imprinted in your brain as if it already was your alltime favorite album? I can't wait until their latest tunes "Meaning Of Sorry" and "Uptown Too Long" make it to current releases to the public.

The combination of brilliant original fare, lively onstage personalities and virtuoso performing continues to serve The Blessings, live or on their assorted cd/streaming releases Tomahawk Inn and Bare Bones. The Blessings are Jeremy White, lead vocals, harmonica, guitar; Lavone Seetal, vocals, percussion; Mike Gavigan lead guitar; Jason Upright drums; Jeffrey Howell Keyboards; Lights Out Levine, bass.
 
 


...and as for THE SLOTHS...

Between 1964 and '66, Beverly Hills/West L.A. born and bred The Sloths opened for The Doors, The Animals and Pink Floyd at vintage Riot on Sunset Strip venues like The Whisky A Gogo, The Trip, Pandora's Box, the Sea Witch, etc. Then...prolonged hibernation until a Back From the Grave garage band compilation resurrection, then 2011 clamorings for a reunion. Original member Jeff Briskin reunited the band via a private detective (!) minus its two deceased members and adding apropos new Sloths. After gigging 2011-13 he returned to his law practice but the band continued its momentum. No matter the hiatus: then as now they sound like The Chocolate Watch Band, Count Five and assorted better/lesser young bands I heard in the original era at assorted school exchange dances.
 



















 The current band: O.G. Sloth Michael Rummans, original Sloth guitarist who remained in music and helmed a cult band I once championed called Starz, an original glitter era glam band of similar NY Dolls-type promise. In place of deceased first vocalist Hank Daniels we have vintage Sloth school buddy and Rummans' bandmate in splinter groups from the 1960s on, lead singer Tom McLoughlin. 

The following transgression is mentioned in the official bio, but Tom must have been the second boy kicked out of Beverly Hills High School for having long hair, since I actually know the first one (Michael Verdick, still in the music biz as a multiple Grammy-nominated sound engineer/producer.)  Besides Slothdom, Tom remains a much in-demand television director (USA Network documentaries like D.C. Sniper,) film director of fare like Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI, also film professor/lecturer at Chapman University. Remaining 2017 Sloths are "Pooch" (Pat Di Puccio, beloved L.A. musician/scenester/writer at original punk's "Flipside,") Mark Weddington and Greg Rom.
  
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