California Blues

A needle in a steel wool haystack.

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

Country, Punk, and Whatever Falls in Between at the Henry Fonda

One word of advice for a show with four acts? Get there early. A half hour after doors and the curtain already lifts to reveal a dirty publican with a scruffy 2AM shadow and a devilish grin. Continue reading

16 October 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


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