Saturday, July 13th, was a special night at Elinor, the bar at MADE by Millworks in Long Beach. It was MADE’s owner Michelle Molina’s birthday, and she threw a party. There was cake, of course, and great art on exhibition in the gallery from ceramicist Kathryn Heaton and others. But the topper of the night was live music from the killer double bill of John Doe and Jesika Von Rabbit.
Jesika Von Rabbit performed for an hour as part of her regular quartet. Von Rabbit’s music features a unique mix of modern keyboards and rhythms with guitar twang straight from the desert and lyrics reflecting her surrealistic sensibility. One of the highlights was her version of the Culture Club classic Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, delivered in a countrified arrangement that went right to the song’s cheating heart. Ms. Rabbit will be back at Elinor to DJ this Sunday night, July 21st, part of a busy summer itinerary that includes appearances at Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven’s Campout at Pappy & Harriet’s on August 2nd and at the Tiki Oasis in San Diego on August 7th.
I was one of about 7,000 people at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa on July 6th for the concert featuring X, the Damned and the Reverend Horton Heat. Just one week later, I was one of maybe 100 lucky fans who got to see John Doe’s perform in Elinor’s far more intimate confines. Doe’s began his set unaccompanied on acoustic guitar for several numbers before switching to an electric and being joined by a stand up bassist and drummer. X is virtually synonymous with L.A. punk rock, but when the volume is turned down John Doe becomes one of our outstanding balladeers as well. His set included several songs from his solo career, name-checking local icon Snoop Dog on on “Never Enough,’ along with a handful of X classics, and a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.” X, since reuniting with Billy Zoom, tend to draw their set lists largely from the first four albums, so it was a treat to hear songs like “Burning House of Love” and especially Dave Alvin’s great “4th of July” from outside that period.