Your humble music editor celebrates a birthday this weekend, and for this one, I’m honored to have some really special participants playing with me at this month’s free, all-ages Sunday afternoon show at the Redwood Bar.
The Last (6pm) have been among LA’s most powerful power-pop bands, and one of its most enduring. Existing since 1976 with a fluid lineup rotating around founder Joe Nolte, the current incarnation – including legendary Pedro guitarist Phi Lo, bassist Lisa Torres, drummer Greg Tarpley and keyboardist Mike Nolte – is a monster on stage, playing with a level of piss and vinegar that’s going to seem familiar to a lot of people who went to gigs a long, long time ago.
Trotsky Icepick (5pm) continues a two-year streak that has seen a lot of people who overlooked them in the early 90s slowing down for a second look. Urinals founders John Talley-Jones and Kjehl Johansen, former Leaving Train Tom Hofer, Vitus Matare of the 1979-era Last (I hope their parting of ways was at least friendly, or backstage is going to be awkward!) and drummer John Frank made up one of SST’s most danceable signings ever, a funky good time that downplayed its members’ punk roots and took a shot at pure pop with the edges sanded to the texture of glass. As their very name confirmed, there was something subversive to be found under those gleaming surfaces, and their recent live shows have been immensely satisfying. They’re heavier live, not as in distorted/ grungy/ chaotic, but somehow weightier, more solid than their records. This second wind has already lasted a surprisingly long time but with Talley-Jones talking about a new Urinals album about to come out, a Radwaste reunion, and even a 100 Flowers reunion all on the horizon, it seems highly possible The Pick will be cooling their jets for a while after this show, so don’t miss out.
Jon Wahl and the Amadans – with me on drums – opens the proceedings at 4pm. We’ll be playing songs we’re getting ready to record, which should find us in focus.
As always, our shows are free to attend, and all ages are welcome so bring the kids. Thanks to Bob Cantu and the Redwood staff for letting us do our thing, and thanks to all of the artists willing to come and do a free show for the people. I hope you’re enjoying these as much as we’re enjoying putting them on.
The Los Angeles Beat Presents takes place every fourth Sunday at the Redwood Bar and Grill, 316 W. 2nd St, Downtown LA on Sunday May 26 from 4pm – 7pm. Free admission, all ages welcome.