Win tix to X, Cracker and the New York Dolls at Club Nokia on the 20th!

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.

5 Replies to “Win tix to X, Cracker and the New York Dolls at Club Nokia on the 20th!”

  1. I was 15, maybe 16, and a recent transplant to Los Angeles, hanging out at a rehearsal studio in Hollywood with my crappy then-boyfriend and his crappy band.

    Someone came in and said X was rehearsing next door, and asked me if I wanted to check them out. I had no idea who they were – but I loved what I heard, and totally ditched the boyfriend and his band to hang out with X that day! And listening to X led to a bit of soul-searching and I then ditched the crappy boyfriend for good. So in a way, it was a life-altering experience.

    Almost thirty (!) years later, I still listen to X. Almost daily!

  2. Let’s see…I discovered X when I was a kid back in the early 80s. A guy who worked for my dad lent me a bunch of records, one of which was “Under the Big Black Sun.” I remember thinking the cover was kinda scary (this coming from the guy whose first album at the age of 4 was KISS “Alive”). Then I heard “The Hungry Wolf” and I kinda fell in love. DJ Bonebrake’s drumming was like the rock version of Gene Krupa on “Sing Sing Sing,” not that I knew who Gene Krupa was at the time, but it had that same infectious groove. And for some reason I thought Billy Zoom looked awesome in the music video.

    I started listening to Cracker because of a girl I met in college. :P So cliche’, I know. She loved all kinds of oddball music (she also got me into The Pogues and They Might Be Giants), and Camper Van Beethoven was one of her favorite bands. Cracker came naturally from that. Sadly, I don’t talk to the girl (er, woman, it was a long time ago) anymore, but I still listen to and love all of those bands.

    I discovered the New York Dolls through my brother, back when we were in high school. He was really big into glam rock and hair bands and all that, back when the rest of us were listening to New Order and The Cure.

  3. Damn, once again I’ll be otherwise engaged and have to miss X. I’ve already shared my ‘John Doe dancing in his underwear’ story, anyway.

  4. I’m of that age–a bit younger than X, and a fair amount than the New York Dolls, but about contemporary with Cracker (I met Jonathan Segel, Dave Lowery’s bandmate in Camper van Beethoven when he was an undergrad as UCSC and I visited my best friend there)–where the actual discovery of most anything is lost in the mists of memory. But at least I might have a story of the unfolding of my love of a band.

    Back when New York Dolls was a fond memory from the early 1970s, long before they were a touring reunion, I wore their vinyl deep in the 1980s. With some specificity, April 1988 stands out as a NY Dolls period. In those days, I remained somewhere halfway between New York and Los Angeles. I was shining in a (very) minor political light as Boulder, Colorado directory of Jesse Jackson’s unsuccessful Presidential primary campaign of that year. Mind you, I was certainly far left of any Democrats, including that one, and in fact wasn’t affiliated with the party. He seemed like a better lesser evil for that year though.

    While working these politics, coincident and unrelated, I needed a minor surgery, so did the political work for a week or two from a convalescent bed at home, with only a telephone line and a jury rigged home stereo system. The thing about this system, with wires stretching from living room amplifier to downstairs extension speakers, was that it had a tendency to cut one channel or the other if the stars were not aligned just right. Like most misfortunes and malfunctions, this one had a silver lining.

    The first two New York Dolls albums have this beautiful stereo separation on them, with rhythm section straight in the center, vocals over them, but Sylvain Sylvain’s ultra-fuzz grunge-guitar entirely at right, with Johnny Thunders’ snaking blues lines all to the left. Depending on which wires were loose on a given listen, I could be delighted by any of three equally brilliant songs (most especially, I think “Human Being” where the separation was perhaps most distinct): left, right, or stereo. The sonic isolation was much of what impressed me to the real brilliance of the Dolls.

    By way of confession, however, it wasn’t until years later that I actually came to realize how much further Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd of Television, influences and descendants of the Dolls, pushed this snaking, twisted, dual guitar proto-punk. Nonetheless, the place of the Dolls stands singular, that golden prediction of what music would be these next 35 years since they did it first(ish).

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