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Save Music in Chinatown 2 recap with Money Mark, CH3, and Hector Penalosa from The Zeros; plus bonus reviews: Dum Dum Girls, A Minor Forest, Kevin Seconds

The second Save Music in Chinatown benefit gig took place last Sunday. Yes, it was rad and I’m not just saying that because my wife and I started the series to raise money for music education at our daughter’s school. On a purely musical level, it was a dream bill for me that started with DJ Adam Bomb playing the best of SoCal punk (Weirdos, Germs, Adolescents, you get the idea).

Next up was Hector Penalosa from The Zeros, original punks from Chula Vista. That band is a national treasure and Hector is the coolest guy ever, supporting the cause since we announced it and driving up with his buddies from San Diego to take part. First he played a ripping set with his on-point Beatles band, Baja Bugs, which reminded everyone of when the Fab Four was young, rocking, and out of their minds. A real blast of primo garage rock. Then he debuted new solo material, which sounded amazing. Look for the solo record soon.

Channel Three is another legendary group that played in Chinatown during the original waves of punk. So it was really cool when they accepted my invitation to play our matinee. Although the stark gallery space with cookies and coffee on the back table was pretty much the opposite of the dark, beer-soaked bars they typically play, the band brought a full-on raging punk set that included guest contributors Maria Montoya (“You Make Me Feel Cheap”) and Tony from the Adolescents (The Simpletones’ “California,” below).

They ended the set with with their best-known song, “I’ve Got a Gun,” but turned it into “I’ve Got To Go” in recognition of the handful of kids present who could handle loud punk rock. Founding members Mike and Kimm also told a story about how they learned how to play guitar in after-school music programs. That band is as down for the cause as they are O.G. SoCal punks.

Co-headliner Money Mark is as cool as they come. When the supporting musicians who were supposed to come to the show flaked, he just brought a bunch of gear and turned his slot into a demo. He proceeded to show how he used the pile of gear that looked as if it came from thrift shops and junkyards. But mostly he showed the role of curiosity and fun in music, which captured everyone’s eardrums and imaginations. How does he turn scrap electronics into soulful funk?

The next benefit will be in May. Hopefully it will help us raise this school year’s contributions to the 10 grand level . Stay tuned for details…


The Dum Dum Girls played a sold-out record release show at the end of last month. Opening the show were the new wavy Baths (below, left, ex-Abe Vigoda) and  psychedelic pop of Dream Boys (right). Very cool.

The new Dum Dum Girls record is choice slice of gothic wave, but I like the new cuts even more live. The feel is so much more rockin’ and the musicians feel more like a kick-ass band or gang of musicians to me. The expanded five-piece mixed in about half of the new songs, and I’d imagine the band will really have its touring legs back under it by the time it tours and drops in on Coachella… They’ll be a real force of nature. And did you see them on Letterman? Wow.

A reunited A Minor Forest played at The Satellite last weekend. Andee (KUSF cap) has stayed at my house with three bands: J Church, P.E.E., A Minor Forest. What a great guy, and holy crap was it great to see him on tour again. Sadly, I missed most of Rob Crow’s Gloomy place when we were jabbering away outside with our mutual friend Una Kim of Keep shoes fame.

A Minor Forest sounded amazing. How the proto math rock trio found their heavy-duty chops and regained their organic chemistry after so long is beyond me. Complicated, melodic, and heavy all at once. It’s hard to explain so you’ll have to see them for yourself when the band hits the road this spring

Tonight, I took my daughter to the Kevin Seconds in-store at Amoeba. The Pride of Sacramento told stories and played folk-flavored (but not wimpy in any way) songs off his new album, and previewed a song off the next 7 Seconds LP. He also explained why he’s playing singer-songwriter type stuff these days. The rest of 7 Seconds has families, kids, and commitments and just can’t tour as much as he’d like. Hence, the stripped-down approach, which didn’t sound that raw at all with sweet backing vocals from his wife Allyson and gentle percussion from his friend Kepi Ghoulie.

Talked to Mr. Seconds a little bit afterward and he was nothing but cool to everyone who was lingering around the stage, hoping for an autograph, a photo, or just some mojo. When he asked Eloise what she liked, we talked a little bit about Channel Three playing our benefit. He said, ” I saw pictures of that!” How awesome is it that I get to meet so many of my musical heroes and they turn out to be awesome people…

Coming up: King Buzzo at The Satellite…

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