California Blues

A needle in a steel wool haystack.

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.

For this tour they added a guitarist, probably so Coco could get a breather and not have to play the tambourine with her foot. He also adds a few well-placed distorted riffs to punch up a few of the songs. From one song to the next Poni powers them through the set list. Unfortunately the crowd is there for Juliette Lewis, well-known for her onstage antics. Most of them aren’t as into The Ettes form of live music–you know, the type where you play music instead of put on a show. Even so, by the time they get to “I Get Mine” everyone’s moving to the beat of their choosing. The Ettes give you at least three to choose from: the rapid dive-bomb drumming, the swaying, knee-slapping guitar or Jem Cohen’s practically slow dancing bass rhythms. “Crown of Age” with it’s mechanical clockwork drumming in overdrive and energetic guitar closes out the set, complete with an auditorium full of stomping feet and cheering fans.

Juliette Lewis‘s fans bide their time before crowding the stage; this wait seems a bit longer than most. It just serves to make them erupt louder when the curtain finally does lift. Lewis has mirror-ball pants, well, tights, and a feather boa-like neckwear around a clingy shirt. “Fantasy Bar” comes in about four songs into the set when everyone’s finally at ease and involved in the music. Lewis gives us an extended preamble about childhood dreams with balloons and faeries and a declaratory proclamation: “That’s the Universe I live in!” Next, she goes sultry with “Hard Lovin’ Woman” and thanks the audience for the great homecoming show. Lewis delves into a few of her old Licks songs and the show goes full bore into unabashed, unfiltered rock and roll. It’s a refreshing nostalgic sound, but there isn’t a lot of creative spark to it, just female presented testosterone rock. She takes a good six minutes to introduce the band, giving them all their own solos before they segue into “Sticky-Sweet.” Taking another intermission to expound her stream of consciousness Lewis calls for no one to become disillusioned, because “if you don’t have your illusions, you’re concrete.” They close the set with “Suicide Dive Bombers” getting the theater full of people singing “shine a light” along with her.

17 October

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19 October 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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