Friday, September 26, 2014

When A House Is A Home...

20 SEPTEMBER, 2014
your host, calling a point of order...
Memorable house parties seems to be a recurring theme this year, and last weekend's was a corker. Rogie opened up his house in Boyle Heights on a steamy Saturday night, and Eloy Lugo upped the ante on his previous All Dogs/Upset booking to welcome Philadelphia's Radiator Hospital, as well as locals Upset, Benny The Jet Rodriguez, and Girlpool. The 'bandstand' stood at the foot of the driveway, penned in by guest houses and a fence, and one was hard pressed to make a people count, but jam-packed will suffice. Shooting from next to, and at times underneath a teetering speaker pole, lit only by the security light on the back of the house, it was worth every second of drama, and hopefully the energy of the evening comes through. Cultural/generational note: the boys at the check-in table seemed taken aback, then thrilled when i dropped a case of beer with a weighty ch-chunk on the table. Have the unwritten rules of house shows have gone the same way as paying for music? Interesting... A long ways away from the College Rock days, but once the bands kicked in, it was as ever... Settling into the scene, i caught up with my usual suspects, then staked out a spot.

"A stacked bill" was an observation that stood up, as the night started with Girlpool. With the recent double-barreled blast of signing to Wichita Records and getting their song "Jane" pimped by Pitchfork, Girlpool is stepping into the deep end. As evidenced, their live show is the converter, and the passion is infectious. They covered most of their self-released EP, (reappearing in November through Wichita), including "Blah Blah Blah", (below), "Jane", and "Slutmouth". Their spiky, confrontational songs are matched only by their ability to put them over. Next up for Girlpool is a strong dose of the road, along with a pending UK/Euro tour. The Long Beach punk trio known as Benny The Jet Rodriguez hit the afterburners and came out flying, repping last year's LP Home.Run hard out of the gates. Spearheaded by Lauren Freeman on guitar, (she also pulled double duty as the new recruit in Upset), "Alley Cat" was the number that got the bodies flying. As noted at their last appearance, LA's Upset is in a period of transition, and based on this rough and ready set, things are starting to come to fruition. The chemistry with relatively new Rachel (Slutever) and very new Lauren (Benny The Jet Rodriguez) is gelling, and the band previewed new material that plays to their strengths. Even after a kazillion listens, "Oxfords and Wingtips" retains its otherworldly power, and served as the anchor of the set.
The scary part is, that only a few albums in, it seems like a Radiator Hospital set is jammed with 'hits', and one rues what isn't played, unlike most bands at that point who play everything and some hastily organized covers. Band is the operative word here, as Radiator Hospital is Sam Cook-Parrott, and on record, an ever-evolving cast of cohorts. On this tour he's brought that cast to life, in the form of a crack band, and they added a savage edge to Torch Songs live, crashing through the tunes with a raucous joy, pausing only to verify the safety of the audience on a comfortingly consistent basis. Kicking off with "Cut Your Bangs", there was no looking back, just a full throttle blitz that included a rousing take on "Our Song" from last year's Something Wild that threatened to push things over the edge. "Fireworks" brought brought it down with a bittersweet romp, and provided an unexpected high point for the evening, as the bodies stopped churning long enough to make an emotional connection. And that was the beauty of the night, to take these songs that are heard almost as a private vice, and give them a new life.





meeting of the minds: Sam (Radiator Hospital) and Eloy

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