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martin wong
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Show Reviews: OFF! at The Roxy, Bryan Ferry at Club NOKIA, JSBX at The Echo, CH3 at Left of the Dial


Is OFF! the gnarliest band in the universe? The members’ chops came out of heavy bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Redd Kross, and Rocket from the Crypt and they are complemented and pushed by each other’s unique badassness. That’s why they can tour with young, up-and-coming, and hungry punks like NASA Space Universe and Cerebral Ballzy without seeming like fossils. Instead, they’re the badass godfathers.


The vocals of Keith Morris are the blueprint for angry, pissed-off hardcore but they come off as brand new with the ripping guitar of Dimitri Coats, percolating bass of Steve McDonald, and massive drums of Mario Rubalcaba. The raging set was drawn pretty evenly from the essential first four EPs, bitchin’ self-titled debut, and the darker-than-crap follow-up. I loved it when Keith chided a girl for trying to take the playlist mid-set without asking by saying, “Don’t be a Republican.” And then followed, “Don’t be a Democrat, either.”


I’ve never been to Coachella but I’ve become a fan because I like the club shows that the bands play in L.A. in-between. A couple of weeks ago I got to see Bryan Ferry at Club NOKIA. That’s a pretty small place to see a rock god play a killer survey of mostly Roxy Music songs with choice solo material. From “Re-Make/Re-Model” and “Ladytron” to “More Than This/Avalon” and “Jealous Guy,” he put on a clinic of how to be cool.


Getting to see Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at a small club like The Echo was rad, too. Opening was Shockwave Riderz, which countered a buttery electro vibe with real drums was hot and cool at once without ever becoming tepid.


JSBX are masters at what they do, jamming out a stripped-down, cranked-up, and unironic garage-rock take on the blues. More like musical mutants than Coelocanths, “Bell Bottoms” weren’t exactly trendy when they sang about them in the first place. And because the genre that they wreak havoc on has nothing to do with youth and everything to do with emotion, they can truly be better than ever each time you see them. Soulful, bulletproof jams with heart, brains, and sentimentality. You’ve heard their mashup of “She’s On It” dedicated to Adam Yauch, right?


And yet another Channel Three gig. Couldn’t miss their Record Store Day invasion of Left Of The Dial Records in Santa Ana. I’d be a lousy parent if I didn’t take Eloise to the dudes' free matinee, and if I could build up uncle points by taking her cousins--and then meet my brother and another niece--even better. Yes, they played a full set, from Posh Boy punker days to Enigma rockers to the great new 7″ single on Hostage Records, which is great: punk business in the front and party in the back with an AC/DC cover. Yes!


No shows coming up for a while. Hopefully, Survival Knife. Perhaps that big Scion metal fest with High on Fire, Coffins, etc. And then it’s time for Save Music in Chinatown 3 with Chuck Dukowski, California, and Bitter Party. You know I’ll be writing about that one and hoping you’ll be there…


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