Music has a way of connecting to sense memories. Certain songs will take you back in time, recreating a remembered feeling each time you hear them. Every time I hear the halting-driving-halting-driving opening beats of “Los Angeles” it takes me back to a time when I was truly discovering my home.
I came to punk rock late. In the late-70s and early-80s when punk was hitting its stride, I was still in elementary and middle schools in Glendora, at the far eastern edge of the county. I always thought I grew up in L.A., but it turned out to be a small, cloistered corner.
It wasn’t until after high school and the freedom of my own car that I started to explore Pasadena, downtown, Hollywood and points west. Then I began to really discover Los Angeles. That coincided with the period when I became aware of bands like the Ramones, New York Dolls, Black Flag, and X.
A few days later came the Cracker / New York Dolls/ X show at the brand-spankin-new Club Nokia, where Cracker (one of my fave bands) delivered a solid set and a slam-bang version of “Lonesome Johnny Blues” (crossing my fingers they’ll do their Campout again next year).
Then the New York Dolls came on with what could only be termed as a triumphant powerhouse of a performance, egging the audience on until bleach-blond waifs were wilting like flowers in the front row and disaffected emo kids were spazzing out dancing. Seeing bands like this, who’ve survived through so much, return to the stage and just KILL–it makes my little black heart glad. X followed and tore through everyone’s faves, with a dash of X-mas (har har har) spirit thrown in (and here‘s a report by Metblogs contest winner Chez Shoes).
If you have pictures, you may want to post a link in the comments as well. Thanks, everyone, for playing, and keep the entries coming! More shows will be posted in the next few days.
This Saturday one of my favorite bands, one of LA’s most iconic bands, and one of the most important bands in music history play downtown at the disturbingly-sparkly LA Live complex at the newly opened Club Nokia. I was down there for the Oasis show the other week and they’d just lit all the holiday lights and while it was very pretty and a raver wonderland with all the blinky “icicles” on the trees, it was also strangely devoid of public seating like benches and such. Hmm.
But I digress. I’ve loved Cracker since I first heard them in my sophomore year of high school. X really captures so much of the spirit of this city, and I found them around the same time. It was actually significantly longer before I heard of the New York Dolls (my music education began in earnest around my junior year, and I didn’t discover classic proto-punk until college…very sad).
So, this show should kick ass. If you can weave a little yarn, tell me a good story in the comments below–about your discovery of either of the bands, when it was, and how it made you feel (think of me as your music therapist)–well, we’ll pick a few winners to go to the show, where you can stand around a lot outside and watch the blinky lights before you go in.
John Doe‘s venerable solo career has continued to sparkle long after the dissolution of X, arguably LA’s mascot-band if there ever was one. His latest album (which just dropped yesterday), “Golden State,” has guest appearances by Dave Alvin, Jill Sobule, Kathleen Edwards, Eddie Vedder, Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker, Dan Auerbach (from The Black Keys), Greg Leisz, Aimee Mann, Dave Carpenter, Jamie Muhoberac and Bryan Head. Not sure who his backing band is these days (for a while it was the fabulous locals Dead Rock West), but it’s sure to be a great show. We’ll send you if you can pen a clever haiku that summarizes either an old X song or a song from Doe’s solo career. Ayup. Got two pairs of tix to give away–so may the best haiku win!!!
If you wanna risk buying tix (this might sell out), you can go here.