The Mayan Theater
June 6, 2002
by Bret Miller
For me, the night was FUBAR, where Mr. Murphy and his universal laws came down hard on my unsuspecting head. Long line, couldn’t bring my camera in, missed most of the band I came to review because they had an early and short set, packed into the venue like sardines. After the show on PBS Nicholas Cage was talking to Charlie Rose and he summed up why I continue to go to concerts and buy music: because music reaches you at the most primal level and evokes an emotional response regardless of language or culture. Thanks, Nic. That’s why I had a good time at the Mayan in spite of my anger. At the end of Elbow’s set the theater was dark, with a blue light on the singer, and the rest of the band barely visible. Newborn started quietly, building slowly, slowly, lulling the audience into the emotion of the instruments and vocals. Guy Garvey began to wail along with the guitars as white lights shot down onto the band and audience and the instruments melded together into glorious white noise. While I caught my breath Elbow ended their set with a pleasant quiet tune that was all but drowned out by the talking of the rude people around me. If you love intense, intelligent and emotional rock’n’roll in the vein of Catherine Wheel and Sigur Ros, then be sure to pick up Elbow’s new album, Asleep in the Back, it’s sure to become a classic.
After a longer wait than Elbow had to play their entire set, Doves began their show. With images and videos playing on the screen above, the trio weaved their magical music into the air of the theater, drawing us into guitar textures, old-style organ playing and passionate singing. Mixing in a few new songs from the recently released The Last Broadcast, Doves soon warmed up and began to present looser versions of songs from their debut Lost Souls. Sea Song had us swaying to the powerful guitars and piano and Jimi Goodwin’s forlorn vocals. The audience went wild upon hearing the languid tones of Rise, hearts swelling and lungs pouring out the lyrics. We all sang along to Catch the Sun, with its thrilling guitar lines and uplifting chorus. For their last song Doves gave us a melding of house music and rock swagger, lights flashing and smoke machines filling the air with ambiance, bringing the night to a sweaty, satisfying end.

The Starting Line
The Los Angeles Troubadour
May 22, 2002

Mike and Matt of the Starting LineThe Starting Line
Singer/Bassist Ken with friendThe Starting Line
Finch liveyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeeeuuuuu...
...ieeeeeeeeeeaaaaa...Kenny of the Starting Line

David Bridie


The Hollywood Knitting Factory

March 9th, 2002

by Bret Miller
I love the Knitting Factory for its great sound and cozy atmosphere. The venue was still not intimate enough for the heartfelt and personal songs of David Bridie. Bridie is the singer for Australia’s Not Drowning, Waving and started his solo mini-tour in Los Angeles in support of his Nettwerk release Act of Free Choice. For this show Bridie played a keyboard that often sounded like a grand piano, accompanied by a guitarist who added ambient fills to the electronic backing percussion and synths. The focus of the night was on Bridie’s melodic and melancholy voice and lyrics of memory and loss, philosophy and peace, love and other personal politics. His performance made me wish that the show was held in a smaller room with a fire crackling and comfy pillows and couches for us to curl up on while we soaked in the warmth of the flames and basking in Bridie’s intimate music.
Also playing that night was Minibar, a low-key rock’n’roll group who’s performance took some time to warm up. They mainly played mid-tempo bland songs but after half an hour revved up and put some energy and heart into things. The guitarist’s mini solos were cool but overall Minibar’s sound is too breezy and forgettable. Then again, they may have just had an “off” night.



The Mayan Theater

April 17th, 2002

by Bret Miller
The Mayan was dark, cool and cavernous. But the place heated up when the trio of Peter Hayes, Robert Turner and Nick Jago walked on stage. Silhouetted by floor lamps, Hayes and Turner traded vocal duties, their guitar and bass and even switched sides of the stage making it almost impossible to keep track of who was doing what. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club tore into their instruments creating a thick stew of distortion, cymbals and bass, mixing imperceptibly with the red smoke filling the stage. Jago’s tight percussion broke through the guitarists’ wall of sound spurring the audience to bob their heads and dance. B.R.M.C. played black on black leather sweaty rock and roll using Spirit in the Sky and Summertime Blues as their stylistic starting point. Most songs bled into each other with the standouts being Love Burns with its buried vocal melody, the glam-tinged Whatever Happened to My Rock And Roll (punk song), Rifles with its subdued yet menacing guitar riffs and the fuzz stomp of Spread Your Love. Even as the band was obscured by thick smoke and you could barely see them, they played as one putting on one loud show for their appreciative fans.

After putting us through hearing at least 30 minutes of that annoying drone loop from Pure Phase, J. Spaceman and company strolled over to their instruments and proceeded to build a slow jam of layered guitar lines sparking off quite a few mescaline and LSD flashbacks in the crowd. Jason Pierce stood still through most of the set, left side to the audience and eyes closed. The Spiritualized line-up consisted of a vibraphone player, two guitarists, a bassist, drummer and keyboardist accompanying Pierce’s vocals and guitar. They were in high form, with tight playing, sending colorful vibes into the audience. Pierce seemed to be drawing his energy directly from his soul, pouring it into his guitar and hymnlike vocals. The band mesmerized us with their psychedelic layered guitars and drones as Pierce sang of finding heaven on earth and lying in the sun, having some good times. Harmonica blazed our ears as the guitars raised in volume and the keyboards became a horn section. The fans cheered upon hearing the opening organ drones of Medication, attempting to dance to the guitar freakouts but getting interrupted by the prayer-like verses. During the first encore Pierce sang “I’m going nowhere and nowhere is where I wanna be.” Perhaps he was singing about the state of bliss that is nirvana, where you become one with the cosmos, free of pain and ego. The B.R.M.C., Jason Pierce and Spiritualized took their fans to a place of pure sound and light and I, for one, was happy to take the trip with them.

The Briefs

The Garage

April 20th, 2002

by Bret Miller
The Briefs went on sometime after Midnight to a standing room only drunken crowd. Dressed in suits and skinny ties, 80’s sunglasses and matching short, spiky, bleached white hair, the band tore through 50 minutes of short, pop-y rock and roll, making you believe that the Knack, the Kinks and all those early 80’s new-wave bands never grew older and moved on to other things, or have already toured the nostalgia circuit. These rejects from the Valley Girl casting call jumped around, smiled and sweated over their fans, playing sing-along rock songs about New Shoes, killing Bob Seger (Silver Bullet), Rotten Love, and getting a New Case of crabs. The Briefs put on an energetic show, the fans raised their fists in the air and sang along, jumping around, crowd surfing, throwing beer and ice into the air and expending at least as much energy in return. The Briefs had us turning Japanese with ecstasy with their fast rock and roll that’s equal parts sloppy Sex Pistol and upbeat new wave melodies. Be sure to pick up The Briefs’ 2000 album Hit After Hit, it’s 30 minutes of pure energetic guitar pop. And for God’s sake see them when they come to your town!


House of Blues

June 7, 2000

Bobby Gillespie and company hit the stage exactly at 10:00pm and proceeded to attack our eardrums with their patented brand of noisy guitars and dance beats. Gillespie gave the stage to ex-Stone Roses bassist Mani who looked great in his leather pants and floppy white shirt, swinging his bass around and posing. It was Mani who propelled the songs forward with his hyper fingered style of playing. Primal Scream isn’t much for song structure yet it was the actual songs that got the audience moving. Their odes to 70’s rock and roll went over best in the form of Movin’ On Up, Rocks and Medication. It seemed that no one really knew what to do during the other tunes from their latest release XTRMNTR since the loud guitars overpowered the funky drums. Do we dance? Do we bang our heads? Most everyone in the HOB just stood there and took it all in, the layers of noise, Mani’s bass, Gillespie’s rare vocals, and the lights. The Scream played the queasy drug anthem Higher Than the Sun which got some of us blissed out. The show got really exciting when they encored with Kick Out the Jams and a Stooges song and THE Steve Jones tore it up on guitar. Maybe Primal Scream should stick to some form of song structure when playing live, they still have some kinks to work out their experimental tracks. XTRMNTR is an incredible album, just the same, it doesn’t translate that well live. That weekend I heard from someone who was also at the HOB that the Vinyl show was much better and the band played longer. For me, the HOB show was just fine, the sound was perfect and Primal Scream put on a tight show.

Bobby GillespieMani kicks out the jams
ThrobWhat are you looking at?
Bobby and THE Steve Jones