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HAMMONS REVIEW: Woolly Bandits and The Weirdos Bring Old Style Punk Back to ‘Destroy All Music’

Sweet But Wild Reunion at Echo

By CRAIG HAMMONS

After being held captive by my Uber driver I finally made it to The Echo for the long awaited homecoming of Hollyweird’s own premiere punks, the Weirdos.

I missed the opening act Dirty and His Fists, but maybe that was a good thing. Tonight was also going to be special as it would market he reappearance of the mighty Woolly Bandits.

Christa Collins Brings It

The Woolly Bandits are a high energy get up off your ass rock and roll garage band led by the majestic dynamo Christa Collins. A lot of Woolly Bandits fans were here tonight and ready to rock.  The crowd let it be known by giving them a thunderous round of applause as they took the stage.

They were like a rocket ship taking off as they ripped into their opening number, “Woman of Mass Destruction,” from their album of the same name.

I had no idea of what was going on behind me as I was front and center on this rock and roll ride to partyville.

The Woolly Bandits captured the crowd – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Hard to Forget You’

The band was stage tight and well-rehearsed as they roared through song after song before getting to “Hard to Forget You,” which was the second song KROQ’s Rodney Bingenheimer played on his farewell show last Sunday night.

Christa prowls the stage like a panther who was just released from her cage. She is a mixture of Iggy Pop and Wendy O. Williams. She shakes her tambourine with a fierce vengeance and interacts with her bandmates and the audience by demanding a good time is had by all.

Rik Collins plays the bass like his fingers are on fire, guitarist mark bellgraph rips through every song like a man on a mission and tonight’s show had a keyboard played that added an extra layer to each song. Rik then joins in on vocals for “Bomp Shu Bomp,” a toe tapping shimmy shaker. The Woolly Bandits know they have a job to do and waste no time.

Christa Collins rocked the Echo – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Shear, Intense Energy’

They deliver song after song with shear intense energy you can feel it in your rock and roll shoes. They went right into “Watch Your Step,” which let the keyboard player drive while Christa steered. Next was one of my favorite tracks, “I’m a Bug,” in which Christa sings “I’m a bug, I can’t get no love.” The Woolly Bandits raised some hell tonight. Let’s hope they don’t stay away so long and come back to kick out the jams.

A break in the action was needed before I get back into my punk time machine and head back to 1977 for The Weirdos. I have to give a shout out to The Echo as their staff is professional, cool, friendly and the bartenders are fast and mix a good Jack and Coke.

Rockin’ Reunion – The Weirdos are punk to the core – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

The Weirdos

After a pause on the patio I made my way back in only to find the place packed full of punk rockers reado to see the Denney brothers get their punk on. The Weirdos were packing clubs like the Whisky in 1977 and tonight was no different.

They came on stage like no time had passed and gave the fans a wide array of songs from “It Means Nothing,” to “Happy People.”

The Woolly Bandits – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Helium Bar’

John roamed around the stage singing and staring into the audience lie he was ready to rumble and Dix pretty much played like it was “Helium Bar.” “The Weirdos showed us why they were one of the best punk rock bands from the era by still playing with abandoned passion and attitude.

They did “Destroy All Music,” and made all the punks and rockers happy to be in the house tonight. Now where did I park my time machine? I need to get back home!

Le Butcherettes Cause Havoc at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, Support At The Drive In at The Shrine Saturday

With Video of Le Butcherettes and ATDI from Kimmel

By DONNA BALANCIA

Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes is one of the best rock and roll performers of all time. It’s as  simple as that.  Anyone who saw the show at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach on Wednesday night would agree.

Teri of Le Butcherettes – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

People can agree Teri’s one of the best women rockers out there, yes, but her work does not need to be qualified by gender.  After all she is named Teri Gender Bender.  And her music and performance will blow your head off.

Mainly Teri is the ultimate badass performer, who puts on a show for the ages.  There isn’t even anyone to compare her to.  Teri revs up the audience the second she stomps on stage in her red heels and green fatigues. And then she strips down to her red party dress and the pace picks up.

Favorites on the set list contained “Henry,” “The Leibniz Language,” and “Dress Off,” from Sin Sin Sin and “Mallaley” from A Raw Youth.

The Butcherettes support At The Drive at The Shrine on Saturday – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Alejandra Robles Luna, who is also from Mexico, is quickly becoming the darling drummer of the crowds. Several fans jumped on stage after Le Butcherettes’ Wednesday show in Long Beach to get a photo with her. Alejandra’s drumming is such a frenetic pace that it’s hard to imagine. She has the talent and style to rate with the tops in punk rock class.

Le Butcherettes at Alex’s Bar – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Riko Rodriguez-Lopez is a faithful and strong force in the band.  He has a reserved presence that helps keep the band’s heart beating at its steady and exciting pace.

Teri, who would be fan favorite from among all the rockers we’ve reviewed, appeals to everyone. As beautiful as she is, she’s not threatening to women and she’s got the guys’ attention because of her musicianship, her heart and her physical abilities.  For both genders it’s easy to see this impassioned musician is channeling something beyond anger, fear and rage when she’s on stage.

Teri enjoys the fans as much as they enjoy her – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Check out the classic Le Butcherettes album, A Raw Youth, on Le Butcherettes’ Bandcamp page

For TICKETS to At The Drive In at The Shrine Expo Hall.

But her off-stage persona is another story. As soon as she crowd-surfs off the stage and wraps up her show, Teri hangs out with her fans, most of whom tell her anything and everything.  She enjoys chatting with the faithful followers and it’s obvious she gets a lot out of the conversations.

Teri electrifies any room she plays – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The show at Alex’s Bar was a warm up for the Shrine Auditorium show opening for At The Drive In, with whom she’s enjoyed a longtime friendship. Musicians from At The Drive In and Le Butcherettes are label-mates at Ipecac Recordings, Mike Patton’s company.

It could be supposed that Teri’s outrageously creative works are unharnessed, much in the way most of the artists on the label work. The bands on the label — like Eagles of Death Metal, The Melvins and Crystal Fairy — have in common the innovative style needed to keep the music business alive.

Teri Gender Bender: Breaking all the rules – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Le Butcherettes are leading the charge in this regard.  The band has played a range of different venues and in various positions, not only opener but also headliner. And it’s worth repeating: Go see Le Butcherettes.

The crowd clamors around the stage where Teri of Le Butcherettes plays – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

A local Long Beach band that has been a favorite, Asi Fui, opened for Le Butcherettes.  This avant-garde synth group appealed to the punk crowd on a range of levels. Asi Fui has some cool songs, great musicians and a front woman who rips. Band members are Tatiana V on vocals and bass, Jacob C on synthesizers and keyboards, Ryan R on the drums and Miguel V on guitar.  We expect more great work from this group.

And a note on Alex’s Bar. The place has really established itself to be a true player in the Southern California punk rock scene. Not too many venues hold this distinction.

British Punk’s Prolific Colin Newman: The Band Wire is Not Just Some Heritage Group from The 1970s

The Drill Fest by Wire Packs the Echo

By JOHN NORRIS and DONNA BALANCIA 

Wire held its Drill Fest at The Echo and Echoplex, and it was a rare opportunity to see some of punk’s originators tell it like it is.

Judging by the attendance at the fest, which ran over three days and included performers like Mikal Cronin, Bob Mould and of course headliner Wire, it’s easy to see punk is very much alive today. Or it’s making a “curated” comeback at the very least.

The Pink Flag Guitar Ensemble – a roaring finale – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Drill Fest is not just Wire playing on tour, founder Colin Newman told CaliforniaRocker.com.

“Drill is curated by the bands,” Colin said. “It’s just another aspect of what the band do.

Colin Newman: 'Being influential is a double-edged sword' - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Colin Newman: ‘Being influential is a double-edged sword’ – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Wire: Not Re-Living The Past

“The importance is it’s partly to us,” Colin said. “One of the things about Wire is we’re not doing the heritage circuit. We’re not trying to relive our past. It’s about us making connections to other artists, not necessarily younger artists, but artists of different genres, with different ways of working and in a way it’s putting ourselves in a situation and saying this is what we are, we’re not just some band from the ’70s living off our past.”

Great musicians curated at Drill - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Great musicians curated at Drill – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Newman On Being ‘Influential’

Wire has been so influential to so many bands, but that’s an interesting conundrum, Colin said in typical fashion.

“It’s a double-edged sword, really,” Colin said.

Why?

“Because you don’t like everything that you’ve influenced,” he said. “But everything influences everything else in music. Music is a dialog.”

Musicians and friends - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Musicians and friends – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

That dialog connected this weekend as the crowds at the Echo and Echoplex appreciated the music of many favorites.

Among those who hit the stages were:  Malka Spigel (Minimal Compact), Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (Luna), Jason Falkner (The Grays, Three O’Clock, Jellyfish), Jessica Lipstate (Noveller), and Jess Labrador, and Shannon Sky Madden (Chasms).

Not just 'Part-Time Punks' The Drill is the real deal - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Not just ‘Part-Time Punks’ The Drill is the real deal – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Other friends and players on hand included Rafe Mandel, Caroline Borolla, Geoffrey Halliday, James Hamblin, Stefan Nelson and Sandy Yang. Wire is Robert Grey, Matthew Simms, Graham Lewis and Colin Newman.

 

 

Wire, One of Rock’s Founding Punk Bands, to Play Echoplex This Weekend During Drill Fest

By DONNA BALANCIA

Wire will hold its Drill Fest at The Echo and Echoplex tomorrow through Saturday, and the legendary band will celebrate the release of their new album Silver/Lead.

Wire is one of punk’s founding members, and has been the influence of many of today’s bands. Wire members are Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, Robert Gotobed, Margaret Fiedler McGinnis and Matthew Simms.

Performers set to take the stage at The Echo are Bob Mould, Mikal Cronin + string and horn ensemble, Julia Holter, Mild High Club, Wand, Laetitia Sadier, Fitted, Part Time Punks, Howardamb, Once and Future Band, Chasms, Alina Bea, Noveller, Slows, The Pinkflag Guitar Orchestra.

Check out the WIRE Facebook page.

For Passes and DRILL Tickets go here.

Get tickets to Drill here.

Watch the Trailer for the Mick Rock Doc, ‘Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock’ in Theaters April 7

By DONNA BALANCIA

Mick Rock has made a career of featuring artists on film. Now the lens is turned on him.

The Magnolia Pictures documentary on Rock’s outstanding career in music photography will get a U.S. release on April 7.

Few punkers and rising rock stars escaped Rock’s lens. When asked how he built such a remarkable and vast portfolio, his answer: “I just don’t sleep.”

Check out the trailer here:

 

Meat Puppets Rip Through Favorites as Show at The Echo With FdMdxFd Becomes a Family Affair

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Meat Puppets won over the crowd of the faithful Wednesday night as they took the stage and held a packed house at the Echo entranced. They didn’t miss a beat and it’s been far too many years since we’ve seen this great American band in action.

The guys, notably the Kirkwood clan — Curt, Cris and Elmo — along with the outstanding Shandon Sahm, ripped through fan favorites and showed the chops that have kept them rolling over the years.

Meat Puppets Fans

There are few bands as pure fun and who need to do so little to elicit the crowds’ adoration as The Meat Puppets.  Some of the players have changed over the years, and there have been breakups and reunions, but things seem to be moving along nicely for the Arizona players.

The drummer for The Meat Puppets, Shandon Sahm, is extraordinary — and not just because of his ripped physique  — his command of the kit is something to behold. He is the son of the legendary Doug Sahm of the Sir Doug Quintet.

Stonefield California Rocker

Stonefield – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Openers Stonefield and Ford Madox Ford brought a new influx of fans to the Echo, some who like young women with shoegazey style, and punkers from the 1980s.  There was profound talent on hand with the impressive Stonefield and Ford Madox Ford.

Dewey Peek and Chip Kinman are kin - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Dewey Peek and Chip Kinman are kin – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Chip Kinman Punk Legacy

As the crowd increased in capacity during the night so did the curiosity about Ford Madox Ford.  Many of the punkers in the audience were not aware the lead vocalist in the band is none other than wildman Chip Kinman, who with his brother Tony created the sound of Rank and File and The Dils.

Family Affair

And as it was a family affair with The Meat Puppets, so it was also with Ford Madox Ford. Along with bassist Matt Littell and drummer S. Scott Aguero, Kinman was accompanied on stage by his son, Dewey Peek.  The group keeps the party rolling with serious rock and roll.  They’re working on a new LP and have a single out, called “Expect It.”  Check out the video for “Expect It” by Ford Madox Ford.

Ford Madox Ford - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ford Madox Ford – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Chip Kinman – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Ford Madox Ford – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

The Meat Puppets - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Meat Puppets – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Brothers Kirkwood - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Brothers Kirkwood – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Chip Kinman and Ford Madox Ford Debut the New Vid for Bluesy Tune ‘Expect It’

By DONNA BALANCIA

Check out the exclusive video from Chip Kinman and Ford Madox Ford, called “Expect It.”  The video makes its debut right here on CaliforniaRocker.com.

Chip Kinman and Fdmdxfd - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Ford Madox Ford – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

A Cool Video

Kinman, the well-known wild SoCal punker who rose to fame with his brother Tony in bands like The Dils and Rank and File, is at it again. This time, Kinman is working with another “kin” of his: His son, Dewey Peek.  On bass is Matt Littel and drummer is S. Scott Aguero. The video was directed by Rez Hat.

‘Collapse and Nothingness’

“The song ‘Expect It’ is about collapse and the complete nothingness that follows,” Kinman told CaliforniaRocker.com. “We had a great time making the video, a lot of beer and tacos, North East Los Angeles, dontcha know. It was filmed with a rare Swedish camera that makes everything look like TV in the Seventies, which is what life should be like anyway.”

Chip Kinman - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Chip Kinman – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Ford Madox Ford brings a bluesy sensibility to punk and will be taking the great stage at the Echo Wednesday night opening for The Meat Puppets.

Kinman has had his share of innovative bands, predominantly known for The Dils, and Rank and File. As for Ford Madox Ford, Kinman says it’s a fun and new style.

“We’re the only band that plays punk and blues at the same time,” Kinman said.

Check out “Expect It” here. Go to Fdmdxfd Facebook page for more info on the band. Wednesday’s show at the Echo is sold out.

Say 'cheese,' Dewey Peek - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Say ‘cheese,’ Dewey Peek – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

 

Matt Littell - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Matt Littell – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

 

Chip and Scott - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Chip and Scott – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

 

 

The Alejandro Escovedo Band Takes Its ‘Burn Something Beautiful’ Tour to the West Coast

Escovedo and Jesse Malin to Play Federal Underground

By DONNA BALANCIA

Alejandro Escovedo has had an interesting career. He may come from the famous musical Escovedo family, but he’s punk rock through and through.

He’s worked with East Coast punker Jesse Malin for years, and the two of musicians — seemingly from different parts of the world — take the time to tour around and make music for music’s sake. Check out Escovedo’s website

Escovedo hails from a Mexican-American family via Texas, and Malin is a punk rocker from New York. But somehow the friendship and the music-making works. On Tuesday, Escovedo and Malin will play the Federal Underground in Long Beach. 

Escovedo and Malin’s tour launched February 16. In tow are a range of great musicians. The Alejandro Escovedo Band is comprised of Jason Victor on guitar, Shawn Peters on drums and Aaron McClellan on bass.

Throughout his career, Escovedo has worked with many people and has earned many distinctions including Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Performing in 2006.

His latest album, Burn Something Beautiful, which was released last October, highlights his talent. His musical gifts are revealed across a lifetime spent to faith in the hard work of life and music and its possibilities.

Escovedo and Malin play the Federal Underground in Long Beach on Tuesday. For tickets and more tour information go here.

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