JASON FALKNER, Spaceland September 2010
When it comes to Jason Falkner I am biased. This is a harrowing task to review one of my favorite artists. Now that Jason spends most of his time producing, with all ready finishing records with Daniel Johnston, Anne Soldaat and put out his own album All Quiet On The Noise Floor, he only plays a handful of shows with most of them being in Japan. An L.A. show has become something of a sacred thing to see and hear him play. I wasn’t surprise that Saturday’s sold-out show at Spaceland was as packed to standing room only.
Opener act Nico Stai pulled primed the crowd with his alternative rock music including a cover of The Psychedelic Furs A Ghost In You to the crowd’s approval.
Jason hit the stage to a loud crowd of applause. He started with the opening song of Honey from his sophomore album Can You Still Feel. Jason hit all of the high notes with ease through out the evening’s performance. The set was chock full of goodies off his new album, which is currently only available as a Japanese import.
The songs Emotion Machine, Evangeline and Counting Sheep seemed familiar to the audience members. Jason also did Be Bop Deluxe cover Jet Silver And The Dolls Of Venus and did My Home Is Not A House from his days with The Grays. He also pulled out a hear felt performance of Hectified from his 1996 debut Author Unknown. Then he also played The Plan from his sophomore release. A great show not to ever miss when Jason is in town. Rumor has it that Jason might be doing a show at The Echo in December sometime so watch for it.
SHOW REVIEW, Cobalt Café, Canoga Park, CA
KNOCK OUT, BROKE AND DOWN, BLIND AWAKENING, THE RIADS, STREET THREAT. MIDDLE CLASS MINORITIES – August 29, 2010
MIDDLE CLASS MINORITIES opened the show with pulse racing punk songs. The song they played were about two and a half minutes each and done really fast. You knew they were going to be a fast paced band because by the time their thirty minute set was over they had played over a dozen songs. Some of the best songs they did were Skank Skank, Fuck The Red & Blue Lights and No Way. They are from Panorama City area.
STREET THREAT played second on the show. Out of Los Angeles and mixed with afro American, white and latin members, the diversity shows in the bands strength and stamina. The do fast quick raw yet commercial punk like in the style of early Bad Religion. Definitely not pop punk but more street since punk. The bass player kind of stood back away from the audience in almost the corner of the stage. Possibly listening to his amp the whole time to hear himself. But the rest of the three guys play fierce and strong with maturity. Some of the best songs in tonight show were Us Against The World, I Do What I Want, Street Threat and the very cool Mind Riot, which could make for a cool video for the band.
THE RAIDS were next. They are on the boarder of Hollywood and Los Angels. The style of punk they ply is fun circle pit rampaging thrash around exciting punk. Maybe it’s their youthfulness or cleverness that gets your attention first. The songs are quick and to the point. Radio friendly at times but effective to keep the crowd moving along with. This is one of those bands that you might want to have play at your back yard BBQ just to get the crow charged up. Some of their best songs were: King Of The Hill, Sick Of The Media, Personal Abuse. Will most likely book these guys again. They are a lot of fun. These guys should be looked over from Epitaph, Fat Wreck and Hopeless Records.
BLIND AWAKENING is from Woodland Hills area in The San Fernando Valley. They play commercial punk pop songs that are ready for Fearless Records to be looking at. The band is very young but all ready have a great sound tot hem. They have catchy melodies and hooks that get a crowd feeling happy. They have a little diversity with two singers in the band that can both lead too. With songs like I Walk Alone and Lights Out they are all ready finding their audience is starting to come familiar with their sons and starting to sing along. These guys are the type of band that all the teen girls would love. They would fit well on The Vans Warped Tour really well. Would be great to give this band a chance against any other pop punk band for a song duel contest.
BROKE AND DOWN came out all the way from Riverside to open up for Knock Out for this show. They have played at The Cobalt Café before so this was a good homecoming show for them to appear on. It’s been a while since having this band here so the core line up changed a little but still a very strong group. They play instruments maturely and professional with ease. They Ska sound they have is friendly that makes you want to dance around with. With performing such songs as Summer, Done With You, I Walk Alone (which would make for a cool music video), Lights Out, Falling Down, Can’t Live With You and Someone New this band is ready to make a album. So any producers around looking to work with a ska laid back down to earth band let these guys know.
KNOCK OUT has out currently two CD’s for downloading released through Epitaph Records and produced by one of the guys from Voo Doo Glowskulls. Knock Out for the fall is on going to be on tour in Europe. They will be back this winter. They are currently writing new songs for their third CD. Lead vocalist Jared crooned the crowd over which got the audience slamming around and making a mash pit. They performed a 40 minute set of 11 songs that included: Generator, One Night In Paris France, Only Escape, Moving On, Sound System, Fade Away, Curtains Up, Another Wasted Night and Sooner Or Later. They might be coming back around to playing a show in December for a sort of Christmas show at The Cobalt Café. More info to be determined so watch for it.
THE PRETENDERS LIVE CD/DVD REVIEW
The latest release from this iconic rock band is The Pretenders Live In London. It is available through Strobosonic & EI Music (www.strobosonic.com). This is a DVD where it sets the back right in front of the crowd with no barriers. So no special equipment was used to film the show either. This plain and simple in your face event. Most concerts use lighting effect, crane devices with the band behind a barrier and even at time are above the crowd in order for film camera’s to capture the band in the live setting. Here though it is all at the ground level. It’s like seeing a band in an old dive bar and playing really hard fast with the noise blasting. This show contains 24 songs all together and has a companion CD that goes along with it that has most of the show on it recorded to play in your car. But it’s this special performance in your face and minimal production that lets the songs stand out for them selves. This DVD live performance shows what it’s really like to see a band in a small venue though way to popular for this kind of thing and still pulling it all off without a hitch. This is a rue must have for both Pretenders fans and for those who enjoy going to small venue shows to see their favorite bands take them over selling out. Some of the bands best of songs are featured on here so enjoy it and have a good time kicking back with it.
SHONEN KNIFE – Live At The Mohawk Place 2009
This ultimate live DVD has been release from Good Charamel Records. This captures the three-girl punk band live concert on their first visit to The United States. Even though having a big influence here in the USA from doing a great cover of The Carpenters Top Of The World hit and with 16 albums (several of them imports from Japan), it is no wonder that they have finally arrived here in The USA to play some shows. The DVD features 17 songs that the band does quickly and harmoniously. Some of the songs featured on this release give you example of the bands overall pup and garage punk styles mixed with a commercial flair. Some of the best songs are Giant Kitty, Fruits And Vegetables, Flying jelly Attack, Banana Chips, Barnacle, Super Group and the infamous I Want To Eat Chocolbars. The songs also show off lyric wise the bands since of humor too. The band as a group reminds you of the charming first visit of The Beatles when they got here into the USA. You might find yourself slamming around the living room floor so be careful of rug burns while doing so with this bands DVD.