California Blues

A needle in a steel wool haystack.

The Flag Controversy

It’s been ages since I posted, but I wrote this as a FaceSpace comment that ambled off topic, and I still wanted to put it somewhere.

Part of the issue is that those who are more likely to link the dixie flag with southern pride are those who are taught in accredited education that the South seceded from the Union for the main cause of ‘States’ Rights’.

The argument exists that the Union’s civil war was unconstitutional, as states would have had the legal right to disavow it and secede. The larger issue with this reading of history is that those in power at the time in the South made lengthy speeches about the reason they wanted to secede was to protect the institution of slavery. Those speeches are simply ignored in favour of the much earlier “necessary evil” speech about slavery. And then there’s the Cornerstone speech from the Confederate Vice President before the war started. I was educated in Texas, and I didn’t know about this speech until just now. So that’s fun.

While I was aware of the history of slavery, I believed that there were other causes that lead to secession well into my university education. ‘States’ Rights’ is a rallying cry that people today can still get behind, and through educated or wilful ignorance, many Americans are unaware of the actual history of what went on 150 years ago, so needless to say, they think what symbols represent are up for interpretation. I cannot say that anyone who argues that the stars and bars is a pro-slavery symbol is wrong, but I can argue against the stance that everyone who flies it is unequivocally racist.

(Back in high school, I knew a couple of best friends from childhood who would exchange their ‘X’ t-shirts. The black kid would wear the white kid’s dixie flag shirt, and the white kid would wear his friend’s Malcolm X shirt. That isn’t to say that neither of them were racist, or that they weren’t. We are all prejudiced to one degree or another. The goal should be to not support systems that re-enforce prejudice.)

(A further aside concerning ‘states’ rights’: by itself, the concept that local government *should* be more accountable to its constituents than the massive representation levels of national government does not sound wrong. A single representative in the house appears to represent roughly over half a million people of voting age. The last time the numbers in the house increased was in 1959, only to revert back to the 1913 numbers four years later. We are still running a national government based on the population over a century ago. It’s no wonder no one thinks the national government represents them.)

20 June 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Better than Me

16 November 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


I’ve been to maybe a half dozen shows since the last post, none of which I feel the need to post about. Either nothing happened of note, I couldn’t make out the slide guitarist from the blurry after image of the same slide guitarist I could see, or I had far much more fun with the venue than the show. Originally, I thought I might refine my writing skills and my ability to critique music by posting in this blog.

Blow that for a lark.

Now, I think I’ll review just about whatever’s on the top of my mind, which could be anything from Elijah Craig bourbon to a sadly neglected BBC Radio show, but probably most likely an interesting bar/venue.

On the slate for tonight, The Doll Hut, Anaheim, CA. Everyone told me it was famous for punk music. I realized nearly immediately it was famous for ska and southern California punk, and possibly, on a long shot, old school rockabilly.. In my mind, those are far different from punk, but that’s probably because I lean a bit more new wave and post punk than I lean American Hardcore. This venue is old school for orange county, and is ideally placed amidst downtrodden car lots for an ideal ear blasting sound. Though, surprisingly, the sound was quieter than your average West Los Angeles “dive”. With a tiny bar area and open air back patio, this place has just about everything you could ask for, even a good Guinness pour. Hell, even the semi-retro Bettie Page-esque artwork suited the place.

It’s vaguely near Disneyland and I-5 so it might not be too terrible a location. Sadly though, if your someone who judges musical acts by their band name, it’s far too easy to see why the place didn’t seem to be doing much business. Granted, it was a Thursday night. I arrived solely for my local favorites, Armada. The preceding band Karmakaze wasn’t bad for that very illusive ska sound. The following band might’ve had good songs but I could barely hear them and dear lord did what I hear sound like it came from a cookie cutter of late 90s pop punk. The Doll Hut itself, was very laid back and congenial to a great night or afternoon of drinks, music, and whatever you want out of the cigarette vending machine. They had one and it had their tobacco permit taped up in the window. The beer was cheap, the sound solid and the atmosphere welcoming.

Hmm. I say welcoming and congenial but let get this straight: it is a dive bar. For those familiar with only West LA bars, this is another level. It is a proper dive bar, but at least it plays half decent music and pours good beers, even if they come in a plastic cup. If you ever have a reason or a chance, give this place a once over and stay for a couple rounds.

1 March 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

A Tiny Niche For A Genre Blending Show

A chilly Thursday with some meddlesome rain showers sounds like a good time for a gig. Luckily, Armada was slated for a packed show at Stronghold, a jeans shop in Venice with a spacious attic fitted out as a concert space. Five bands in roughly four hours.  Continue reading

14 March 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saloon Swilling Lounge Acts

And now for a summary of the new year. So far, it’s been a full tumbler of whisky and gin, one barroom show to the next, and all enjoyable.  Continue reading

22 February 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I was wasted, She was out of control.

Back in December, I opened my best Christmas present of the year: the doors to the Troubadour show for Band of Skulls. Continue reading

22 February 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

3D Vision and the California Blues

Apologies, it’s been awhile. I did move. I also got lazy. And it didn’t have to do with Avatar. I’ve seen more than a few shows in the past two months, so I can push a quick summary. Continue reading

21 February 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s a dog on some tits. What? You’ve never seen that before?

I knew Silverlake Lounge was a small place for a show, but I never knew it would be so much fun. When You Awake presented a fine array of musicians: a mixture of energetic, dulcet, vulgar, and completely blotto. Leslie and The Badgers topple the spittoon to open the show. Continue reading

29 October 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

An Idiot’s Tale of Fury and Sound

Running late, as happens more often, The Ettes are already blasting out their brand of twangified-beat-rock at hyper-speed. Most acts crank up the speed of their music for live shows, but The Ettes take the trend to the next level. Poni attacks her drums so mercilessly that they may as well be a punk act to rival the likes of Gaslight Anthem instead of their more direct influences of Patsy Cline backed by the Kinks with Animal drumming. Live, the music of this Los Angeles émigré three piece takes on a life of its own. With minimal crowd interaction, the music speaks for itself. Continue reading

19 October 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Painting The Town Red and Brooding

Arriving unfashionably late to a packed show at The Troubadour, hoping to at least hear the comforting 60s psychadelic rockabilly of the Magic Wands, I learn they’re not playing tonight. I’ll find out later they backed out because they had toured too much in the past year and a half. Thankfully, I arrive just in time to see warpaint’s set. Knowing School of Seven Bells headlines, I do my best to prepare for dreampop/shoegaze, as it tends not to be my favourite. No one should have to prepare for warpaint: the fog machine in overdrive should suffice. Continue reading

16 October 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment