Thursday, November 19, 2009

How To Fight Records, Dramaturgy and Feed Your Head present a Show at Mr. T's Bowl on Friday, November 20


Here's the promotion I put up on Radio Free Silver Lake to support this show. Please come out, it should be a great night.

"Old friends and party favorites, Manhattan Murder Mystery, headline a show I'm co-presenting with Dramaturgy and How To Fight Records, at Mr. T's Bowl. The reverb drenched distortions from Kill Kill Kill, the stripped down, minimal post punk of Meho Plaza, who are releasing an EP, Made of Gold, tonight. The Ross Sea Party, perform pretty indie pop tunes with distinctive vocals and '60's style rock and blues is provided by The Downtown Train in a widely varied line up that's sure to please everyone."


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Art At A Gallery

Elaine Layabout put together a show that really deserved to be in an art gallery, because all four bands displayed an artistry uncommon for a single band in an evening's line up. But for all four bands to inspire and invigorate was something very special.

By the end of the evening of November 12, 2009, the audience was punch-drunk, not from alcohol (alright maybe some alcohol) but from soaring spirits and aural satisfaction. As the evening began with a sound check by Tommy Santee Klaws (at right) that was inspirational, it provided a hint of what was to come. Even the sound check struck the early attendees silent.

This was my first trip to the Gallery 2023 which can only be reached by being squirted out the back end of downtown Los Angeles. Quite a trip on subway and bus, but so worth it I would do it again in a heartbeat. It's one of L.A.'s secret treasures. This was also the second Thursday of the month, meaning it was also the night of L.A.'s downtown Artwalk, which may partially account for the excellent crowd that came to the show. Excellent in number and excellent in quality.

I was glad so many were on hand to witness Tommy Santee Klaws. I've been singing the praises of this band for over a year now and I'm thrilled to see people are finally catching on and a following is developing.

Beginning at ten, I realized this was going to be a long night and I might as well relax and sink into it. An excellent sound mix and the beauty of their voices and the huge sound of the full band had the audience in a trance in an instant. There appears to be no end to Tommy's songwriting resources as they always include brand new material on their set lists. The music is like honey to the ears with lyrics that their upright bassist, Tom Paige, described to me as "dark-folk". I like the term.

I can't get enough of this band and their swift set was over way too soon. But it has been a little while since I've seen them with Dirk Doucette on drums and his drums were louder and more powerful than ever and it ramped up the music a notch on every song. I've never heard the songs with so much punch before.

Next up was Austin's Monahans, who performed a tight, melodic set of their distinctly powerful indie rock with it's driving beat and carefully executed vocals. I'd never heard them before, but since, have learned how many in the local music scene have played with them or admire their work. I must pick up their recordings and see them again when they are in town.

The real lure of this show was the opportunity to see Telegraph Canyon (below) for the third time. It is a testament to the quality of this remarkable band that, in spite of persistent sound problems and the fact they didn't play my favorite song, "A Light In the Field", this was still one of the best sets I've seen by any band this year.

They swept the audience off their collective feet and won a slew of new fans this night with their fully realized genre-spanning atl-country indie. I first encountered them at Elaine Layabout's third Hella Hipster Hoedown at Pehrspace last June, picked up a couple of CD's, met the band and became addicted to their superb CD, The Tide and the Current. By the next time I saw them (September 11, American Legion Hall 206) I knew every note and every word of their songs, so to hear them so fully realized live was both reassuring and a revelation.

They sang "Into the Woods", "Shake Your Fist" (my other favorite song), "Safe On the Outside" with Austin Green clackity-clacking away on the drum casing. The highlight, I think, was the beautiful "Reels and Wires" which pulls you in with Chris Johnson's (pictured at left) evocative vocals, when the song drops into a reverie of choir vocals and Tamara Cauble's stunning, plucked violin which completely washes over you to hypnotize by it's conclusion.

Eschewing the mikes on a couple of songs, to hear a full, orchestral band, playing in complete harmony and perfect balance, as they stood right in front of me was an experience I will treasure for all my days. That sounds dramatic, but that's how it was. Every member of this band seems an accomplished musician so I'll name them. They are: Chris Johnson, lead guitar and vocal, banjo; Tamara Cauble, violin; Andrew Skates, organ, piano, mandolin; Chuck Brown, Bass; Eric Wolfe, electric guitar; Austin Green, drums. They all play and sing more than I've listed, but you get the idea.

I felt totally electrified by this point and then Restavrant came on to blow my mind one more time. What is this junk-house rock and roll amalgamation they play? Where, in their devious little brains, does it come from? It's like rock-a-billy. new wave, punk, folk, disco, with a heady dose of psychedelia that is completely original. Identified as Troy Olaf Murrah and J State on their myspace page, I assume J is the one on the percussion where any and every metallic or wooden object became fair game for his rapid fire drum sticks, which looked more like clubs. Troy is the singer and guitarist and keeps the whole thing from flying off the rails. Don't miss this band.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feed Your Head presents it's 3rd Show

I am happy to announce a show presented by How To Fight Records, Dramaturgy and Feed Your Head, with a bunch of great bands including one of my personal favorites, Manhattan Murder Mystery.

Will post more details later: