about 4 years ago
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forgetters + The Muffs (not on the same bill but still the same night)
I don't get to hit two shows in one night very often. I recall seeing The Cult on the
Electric tour at the Long Beach Sports Arena with Guns 'n' Roses opening and then driving to the Scream club for an after-hours Jane's Addiction gig. At the time, they were three of the hottest bands in the universe--for me, at least. I'm not sure if seeing The Hard-Ons in the afternoon at Rhino and then at the Anti-Club with the Chemical People that night counts, but that was pretty cool. And years later, I saw Heavenly play a lunchtime college gig followed by an evening club show. Also amazing, and also a long time ago. On Saturday night it happened again, afforded by forgetters playing an early show at The Echo.
Doors opened at 6:00, and we got there just in time to catch the last song and a half by the openers, Dangers. The local band had a punky sound with tasteful keyboards and dramatic vocals, but more like American Standard than The Damned, with bonus points for the singer wearing an old Butthole Surfers shirt. Too bad we didn't see more of them, but it turns out the keyboardist works in the same office as my wife so we'll probably catch them again.
Next up were Street Eaters, Bay Area tourmates with the Brooklyn-based forgetters. The duo was awesome and because my crew was right in front, we absorbed their full power. Megan March and Johnny Geek reveal their Gilman St. roots with powerful, roughshod melodies and populist politics, but play songs that mutate, twist, and grow as well as rip. Some of them are Who-like in their epic construction. I'll be looking out for their vinyl and would pay to see them again in a second.
When entered the club, I didn't think there was any way that forgetters would go on at the crazy-early posted start time of 8:15. But they did and I hope that not too many fans missed out on it. Most of the sold-out crowd were followers of Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil, and Thorns of Life, and desperately wanted to see Blake Schwarzenbach's new band featuring bassist Caroline Paquita from Bitchin' and drummer Kevin Mahon from Against Me! before it dissolves.
[Norton Anthology first. What if I get quizzed?) The short-but-intense set was cut even shorter by a dance club that occupied the venue after 9:00, hopefully not indicative of the band's life. If you don't live on a coast, there's no guarantee that you'll get to see them play, but you can purchase the band's excellent double 7" at your local punk store or](http://rock-o-meter points closer to the straightforwardness of Jawbreaker than the elegance of Jets, with the lyrics as poetic and obliquely political as ever. The punk/romantic sensibility was supplemented by a recital of Keats. (Blake offered Shakespeare or Shelley as well. I was tempted to yell out )here.
When I purchased forgetters tickets months ago, I didn't realize the show's early start would provide plenty of time to go home, take a whiz, grab a snack, and then head to Spaceland/Satellite to catch The Muffs' set at 11:00. But it did. While Jawbreaker mutated into a bunch of bands with varying styles, Kim Shattuck and Ronnie Barnett have kept their perfectly executed pre-Riot Grrl, post-girl-group-filtered-through-power-pop-and-garage-rock sound intact for 20 solid years.
The Muffs' best lineup featuring the drumming machine known as Roy McDonald (Redd Kross) was solidified in 1994 and is tighter than ever. The band totally cranked on all the old hits and awesome new songs. Ronnie didn't hock loogies onto the ceiling and Roy McDonald's kit remained intact throughout the set but Kim was stll chatty between songs, describing how she keeps her guitar picks in a spot where the sun doesn't shine, offering faith healing to the packed crowd, and fucking with her bassist.
After the hour-long show and encore, Kim couldn't find the door to backstage through the venue's trademark blue curtains, started another song, and the band came out to rip through yet another set. I love The Echo, and a succinct show by a band with only one release is appropriate, but there's nothing seeing a favorite group play its guts out until it's clear they can't go any further.
Although I probably would have been content with just the latter gig, seeing both in one night at clubs that are 5 minutes from home was super rad. When will the stars align next? In L.A., I guess that happens now and then...
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