Friday, September 30, 2016

INGER LORRE LIVE- A Nymph Returns: 9.24.16 at The Redwood Bar&Grill, L.A.

For the first time since a brief spurt a year ago in Silverlake, Inger Lorre performed live at The Redwood Bar&Grill, downtown L.A. Sept. 24, 2016.  She sang selections from the distinctive canon of her popular Geffen-signed band of the 1980s/90s The Nymphs, abetted by new Nymph guitarist Morpheus Blak. Plus sang one Snowflake solo LP tune. Plus one Badfinger cover (!) as a sweet, in both senses of the word, birthday present to the club owner Bob Cantu. After another club cancellation the night before. Cue the nuns to warble "how do you solve a problem like Inger Lorre?" because she was and is absolutely one of a kind, well deserving to be seen and heard by new audiences in 2016 and beyond as well as by her many longtime fans.

It sucks to describe sui generis, albeit remaining your humble photojournalist's favorite cladistic category. Cautiously then, one must start with the voice, somewhat similar to the confident, clear and acrobatic strongholds of Bjork and Grace Slick, but with a built-in vulnerability the others lack, even if it's sort of a front for internalized anger. Or maybe the anger is a front for vulnerability, who knows, who cares, the voice remains great. And she tends to yodel notes up or downward, rather than resort to the two others' melismatic note extension. Unique, y'see.

Then we sort through the songwriting, decadent, enchanting, expressive, troubled, precise, all of its own kind..."Sad And Damned"..."Death Of A Scenester..." "Wasting My Days..."(not in the set.)  And the unexpected delivery, as on that Geffen debut LP with (not in the set) "'d probably kiss the hand that slits your throat!" hissed as viciously as if she herself did the deed. Then back to the minor key girl soprano reflective stuff, seamlessly.

Below, plumage has loomed large in the legend. Whereas she once performed in see-through mesh (see LINK) with large feather fans worthy of Sally Rand and wild feather headdresses to stoke the envy of Las Vegas showgirls, this evening showcased her personal millinery talents with a self-made chapeau of rather extravagant pheasant feathers. A dress bedecked with a pattern of The Little Mermaid characters seemed utterly apropos to the Redwood's nautical decor.

Then we wade through the reputation. As Nymphs' lead singer/songwriter Inger Lorre also was known for costuming extravaganzas (see above); being a powerful vocalist to a great but unclassifiable band The Nymphs (Gothmetal? Trancepunk? Siouxsie Sioux meets Led Zeppelin? Marianne Faithfull ambushes Soundgarden? Rodan versus Megalon?); and that infamous episode with their recalcitrant A&R Director, which she addressed by peeing on his desk in front of him. And other pre-rehab problems, now happily banished...

But it all comes down to the return of a worthy, engaging artist, reason enough to rejoice. Speaking (or rather writing) of Ms. Faithfull, I very much want to see Inger Lorre have a Marianne Faithful-type-revival career: bad old days long past, beautiful artist with absolutely distinctive voice and fascinating material, finally appreciated. Her live set proves she's ready, capable and willing. And very kind to share her personal demons/inner world as performance art in song. This is a right now set by a true original who prefers the tightrope wire of pure emotion, even if it has proven dangerous to all concerned...


The Blackerbys 
opened with 
rousing rock 
drive, cool 
and a singing

Wednesday, September 21, 2016



First photo: Heather Harris for Leopard Lady Records. I love being a fashion 
forward taste-maker! Here is my cover for Petra Haden & James Williamson's "Blues Jumped The Rabbit" released earlier this year, followed by the brand new look of all of Faustine Steinmetz' runway models for Fashion Week this past month. Gabby Grave's exact, custom shades to my own specification, lighter Wedgewood blue and glamourous, not odd, with light pink lips, plus Gabby's own expert application, have been mirrored exactly. Take a bow, Petra, James, Gabby and self!

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Outstanding performance logged in 9.12.16 at Skinny's Lounge by Arwen Lewis and her dad Peter Lewis (one of the three hotshot singer/songwriter/guitarists from the astounding front line of 1960s legends Moby Grape. Not hyperbole: I saw them live. They were the one San Francisco group of all kick ass players.) Nowadays, Arwen and Peter offer a triple whammy of strong singing, strong instrumental performance and strong material, much of it from that amazing Grape debut album. Arwen's clear soprano wraps around Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart" or her own Patsy Cline-like "Sweet Dreams," Peter offers his blend of intricate string slinging and singing on his originals like "If Life Were Just A Game," then the two combine for powerhouse duets on classic Moby Grape songs like "Omaha," Sittin' By The Window," "If You Can't Learn From Your Mistakes" and an incendiary "Fall On You."

The show, a MusiCann Cancer Benefit organized by Skinny's Happenin' Harry and Doug Goldstein raised money for cancer patient Valorie McMahon also featured-- wait for it -- The Nine Inch Chili Pumpkins All Star Band featuring Happenin' Harry, Robby Rist (all growed up from actual The Brady Bunch tv show,) Murv Douglas (also on guitar,) plus perfomances by Peter DiStefano, guitarist for Porno For Pyros/Perry Farrell Band and Killing Floor, the Pleasure Burn band, actress/singer Kylie Dakota and comedian Barry Sobel. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016


The Canyon Club, Agoura Hills
CA hosted a whole lotta all around good music on 9.19.16 with Felix Cavaliere's Rascals and openers The Hailers.

 Cavaliere was premiere singer/songwriter of The Young Rascals (later The Rascals,) the New Jersey born and bred hit-making machine of R&B-tinged pop with an unusually upbeat mien.

 Unlike some phoned in oldies acts, Cavaliere has showed the world how to do a knockout set of one's 1960s hits-- sing 'em with all the teenage passion with which one originally 
wrote them. The Canyon Club lapped up his originals, co-written with Rascal Eddie Brigatti, "Groovin," "It's A Beautiful Morning," "Good Lovin'" and the always incandescent ballad of teen romantic angst "How Can I Be Sure."

Rascal covers of others' tunes like "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" came with preambles of interesting patter of stories behind the songs. Most touching was Cavaliere's tale of an African-American stranger coming forth to bear hug him, who related "You put my song on the B side of one of your big hits. Wilson Pickett heard it and covered it, a movie producer heard it and put it in a hit movie, and now everyone knows it and I have a good life with the royalties, all thanks to you." The man was Mack Rice, the song was the immortal "Mustang Sally." 

Digital light show for Felix Cavaliere's Rascals. 
Openers The Hailers well complemented the show. They are a large ensemble who write and perform original, brand spankin' new, future retro Rock!

 The Hailers are helmed by lead singer/guitarist Robert Mills and singer/bassist April Carson.
Then we have additional guitarist Aaron Wolfson; drummer Billy DiBlasi; percussionist: Paul Cassarino; keyboards: Richard (Koz) Kosinksi; Hammond organ: Ron Guzek; backup singers: Lori Herek and Adrena Jensen. Total= 9 souls. Have I forgotten anyone?

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Strange evening for one of L.A.'s best bands of this century, THE BLESSINGS on Aug. 27, 2016. At a dive bar club in the oceanic hinterlands of Sunset Beach CA that we'll call "Parental Unit's" during one this group's most popular songs "Shipwrecked," a Parental Unit's employee that we'll call "Miss Bummer" suddenly darted between the dancers and tried to stop them dancing, then halted the band's set with gestures initially taken to be personal distress on the part of Miss Bummer. 

What sort of capitalist establishment stops patrons from dancing, people from drinking, and the headlining band from playing live? Rumors abounded that the club lacked permits for live acts, making their booking of three loud rock bands all the more puzzling. 

Parental Unit's dive bar should be grateful The Blessings didn't follow the tack of THE DOGS who routinely played until all the plugs were pulled, or Ahab/Rehab who, when told to turn down the volume cheerfully all switched instruments claiming they couldn't possibly play as intensely. It took the management two whole songs before it realized it had been duped.

Oh well, at least I got to hear several brand new original songs amongst their material. Now on to more professional venues...Stalwart troupers The Blessings are: Jeremy White, lead vocals, harmonica, guitar; Mike Gavigan, lead guitar; Jason Upright, drums, Lavone Seetal, vocals and percussion; Jeffrey Howell, keyboards; Lights Out Levine, bass. More info within, click: LINK*.

 Openers Big Rig Dollhouse 
played admirable British boogie 
covers, plus a surprising take 
on Funkadelic's "Super Stupid" 
that translated quite well into 
British boogie! Leader of the
threesome is seen jumping on the bar,
 and above, commiserating 
backstage with Jeremy.

Perhaps it should have been seen as an omen, but on my way to this non-local gig was an entire automobile engulfed in flames, no doubt detaining commuters on the opposite side of the 405 Freeway for a minimum of 2 additional hours.  Here's two seconds of it shot while driving.

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