Wild Honey & Lenny Kaye’s Tribute To Nuggets Is A Eureka! Moment In Garage Rock History

Paul Kopf and Lenny Kaye. Photo by Elise Thompson for the LA Beat.

Wild Honey’s Tribute to Nuggets at the Alex Theater, hosted by its original compiler, Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Group, was a hot night in Glendale. With a set list made up entirely of “artyfacts from the first psychedelic era, 1965-68”, members of the Seeds, Love, Count 5, Electric Prunes, the Leaves, MC5, Chocolate Watchband, the Paley Brothers, Billy Vera and even the lead singer of the Archies shared the mic with GoGos, Bangles, Fleshtones, Plimsouls, Loons and the entire Three O’Clock, and the formidable force of the Wild Honey Orchestra. It was an old fashioned all-star revue, with Kaye as its chatty Ed Sullivan host keeping the “really big shoo, folks” moving along.

These Wild Honey shows, under the direction of Paul Rock, are known for their attention to detail and dedication to accurate re-creations of classic records, and the Nuggets repertoire proved to be a perfect object to receive their affections. The trippy arrangements of psychedelic gems like “My World Fell Down” – complete with  samples obtained from the actual 1960s sound effect records used on the original Sagittarius recording, and triggered by band member Jim Mills – and “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night” sounded incredible in the hands of these players. I know many of them as high level pros from the likes of Brian Wilson’s band, who have enough sense of fun, camaraderie and adventure to do this once in a while.

Every song is a winner, so the trick was matching the singer to the material, and this they did with a high rate of success. Cameron Dye slayed on Blues Project’s “No Time Like Like The Right Time”, while Paul Kopf proved why he has the gig as current singer for the Seeds on a relentless “Pushin’ Too Hard.” Modern Soul diva Evie Sands led a full choir for some of the night’s most impressive vocal harmonies on “An Invitation To Cry” and “My World Fell Down.”

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Cruel World 2023: A Report from the Front

Siouxsie at the Cruel World Festival 2023. Photo by Deb Smith.

Cruel World 2023, with a stellar line-up of new wave, punk, and goth 80’s bands, came to Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena on May 20th. Headliners included Siouxsie, Iggy Pop, Billy Idol, Love and Rockets, Echo and the Bunnymen, Human League and many more great bands from what was arguably the best decade of music from these genres.  The crowd was said to be 70,000 strong including fans from California and around the world.

The bands did not disappoint, playing their best hits as well as new or little-known work.  As I arrived, I listened to the Vapors singing “I think I’m turning Japanese.”  Shortly thereafter, the Gang of Four played “I love a Man in Uniform.”  “I’ll Stop the World and Melt with You” by Modern English was also a big hit with the crowd.  Not everyone knows how much of a pioneer Gary Numan was in electronic and industrial music.  In addition to his hits, like “Cars,” he played a lot of his industrial-styled music which this industrial music lover enjoyed immensely. Billy Idol also gave a strong performance as did his amazing guitarist, Steve Stevens, who performed some spectacular solo work.

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LA Zoo’s Beastly Ball Returns Saturday, June 3, 2023

Tina and Shaunzi having breakfast at the GLAZA Beastly Ball preview. Photo by Zoë Sharpe

A fun time was had by all as the LA Beat had a chance to preview the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Associations (GLAZA) upcoming Beastly Ball fundraiser, which will be held on Saturday, June 3rd. The annual gala gives guests a chance to experience the Zoo at night, enjoying tasty nibbles and cocktails from some of Los Angeles most popular eateries, while learning about the animals and the Zoo’s conservation programs with special animal experiences.

This years annual gala will be hosted by actor and comedian Joel McHale, and honorees include longtime City Council member, “Mr. Los Angeles” Tom LaBonge, who will posthumously receive the Betty White Conservation Hero Award for his contributions to
the Zoo and Griffith Park. GLAZA Trustee Diann H. Kim will also be honored for her work over the past 12 years shaping the future of the Zoo. Continue reading

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watt’s picture of the week – sunday, may 21, 2023

“sauce is the boss” ??? no fuckin way!

photo by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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Lenny Kaye Talks Nuggets Ahead Of Friday’s Big Show With Wild Honey Orchestra & Myriad Special Guests

This Friday night, the Alex Theater in Glendale will host an event celebrating the anniversary of a revival. Nuggets, first released fifty years ago as a vinyl 2-LP set, is a seminal collection of seemingly unconnected bands, all of whom came to a brief prominence in the mid 1960s through records on primarily small, regional labels. Some, like the Nazz’s Todd Rundgren, became legends in the coming years but plenty  of others broke up, maybe without ever making an album, and vanished from the public eye. Those singles were the bands’ entire existence, and sounded like it. Taken together, they define and exemplify an aesthetic – a shared vibe more than a style – that was eventually known as Garage Rock, and which came back around right in time to nourish the first generation of punk rockers.

You can draw a straight line from the excitement of the Seeds and Chocolate Watchband to the New York Dolls, Blondie, Ramones and Patti Smith Group, the latter of which included Nuggets compiler Lenny Kaye as its guitarist. And it’s just as easy to connect those dots to Jack White, the Black Keys, and all kinds of acts up through current acts like the Darts and the Schizophonics. It’s a simple, straightforward, American kind of thing, and the number of bands in the pile of forgotten singles good for at least one all-time classic turns out to be staggeringly high. A five-LP version of Nuggets hit stores on the last Record Store Day and immediately sold out Continue reading

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watt’s picture of the week – monday, may 15, 2023

back in action!

photo by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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Otello At LA Opera – Have A Beer With Fear, Rage, Jealousy And Betrayal

“I believe in a cruel God
who created me in his image
and who in fury I name.
From the very vileness of a germ
or an atom, vile was I born.
I am a wretch because I am a man,
and I feel within me the primeval slime.
Yes! This is my creed!

…I believe the just man to be a mocking actor
in face and heart;
that all his being is a lie,
tear, kiss, glance,
sacrifice and honour.
And I believe man the sport of evil fate
from the germ of the cradle
to the worm of the grave”


Boy, those opera people sure are DRAMATIC! Everything in the best operas gets rendered at a thousand percent, every emotion manipulated masterfully with the maestro sculpting every moment of sound. While there are many operas that really “do that opera thing”, perhaps none does it quite so intensely as Verdi’s Otello, opening at the LA Opera tonight and running through June 4. Continue reading

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Spend Mothers Day with Crasslos and the Cocteau Twinks on the decks!

Cochón at Little Joy Bar 1477 W. Sunet Blvd, Los Angeles, CA  90026 (Echo Park). Street parking only.

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Movies Till Dawn: Thrills and Chills ’23

AmnesiA” (Cult Epics, 2001) Photographer Alex (Fedja van Huet) abandons his faltering career – too many visions of a past trauma interrupting the shoots – and joins his twin brother Aram (also van Huet) at their mother’s home, which appears to be a junkyard for old cars. There, past conflicts are dug up and revisited, including the truth behind their father’s violent end. Questions abound in “AmnesiA” – who is Carice van Houten (“Game of Thrones”), the mysterious hitchhiker (and pyromaniac) who joins Alex? Why is Aram’s arm in a sling? What’s going on with Mom (Sacha Bulthius), who keeps mistaking Alex for his father? – but you aren’t getting easy answers (or any answers, really) from director Martin Koolhoven, whose focus is on creating unnerving visuals through gloomy color palettes and a disorienting structure marked by gaps in action and information. The parade of weird behavior holds attention whenever Koolhoven’s style threatens to upend it, with the lion’s share of the bizarre shouldered capably by van Huet and van Houten. Cult Epics’ Limited Edition two-disc Blu-ray includes an 4K restoration of the film, as well as commentary by Koolhoven and van Huet; Koolhoven and van Houten are also interviewed together or alone in new and archival featurettes. Two projects by Koolhoven for Dutch TV – “Suzy Q,” about an Amsterdam teenager determined to break into Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful’s hotel room in 1967, and “Dark Light,” about a man held hostage by a woman on a farm – are also included.

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A Procrastinator’s Guide to Mother’s Day Dining

Sparrow Italia at Hotel Figueroa. Photo credit: Noble 33.

This Sunday, May 14, is Mother’s Day. If your mom lives in LA, why not show her your appreciation by treating her to brunch or dinner? Make it a Mother’s Day to remember with the help of our list below.

DTLA’s Redbird is more than a culinary treasure. Housed in what was the rectory of the 19th century St. Vibiana’s Cathedral, it’s also one of LA’s architectural gems. This Mother’s Day, Redbird’s Chef Neal Fraser and his team will serve up dishes like Cinnamon Crunch French Toast with creme fraiche ice cream and maple syrup; Ricotta Cavatelli with English peas, maitake mushrooms, black truffle, and pecorino; and Basque Baked Eggs with Short Rib. Brunch is $65 for adults, while the special children’s menu is $21 for kids ten and under. Dinner is also available ($75 for adults, $21 for kids), with options like Bacon Wrapped Saddle of Rabbit and Green Gazpacho. More information.

Recently recognized by “Food & Wine” as one of The 15 Best Hotels for Food in the U.S., DTLA’s gorgeously restored Hotel Figueroa is a relaxing, resort-like getaway. Opened in 1926, Hotel Figueroa is home to Sparrow Italia, which offers a unique, decadent, Italian-inspired dining experience. Sparrow Italia’s Mother’s Day brunch menu includes Caprese Frittata, Spring Pea & Fava Toast, and the Amore Di Mamma Cocktail Special (mezcal, ocho reposado, cocchi americano, Luxardo maraschino, Giffard Peche, lemon, strawberry cordial, and strawberry gold dust). Mom can enjoy this same cocktail special at dinner, along with options including Spring Risotto, Pistachio & Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb, and Spaghetti All Ubriaco (with crispy duck prosciutto). While you’re there, explore the hotel’s famous coffin-shaped swimming pool and “In Her Image,” a world-class artistic showcase from artist Erica Everage. You can make reservations here.

If you’re thinking about a local getaway for Mother’s Day, why not head to the historic Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs? Its restaurant, The Colony Club, is helmed by Executive Chef Michael Hung (Faith & Flower, Viviane). Dine al fresco while enjoying views of the swimming pool and the San Jacinto Mountains or in the glamorous, Art Deco-inspired dining room.  The Mother’s Day brunch menu includes dishes like Brioche French Toast, Avocado Toast, Baked Cage-Free Eggs, Egg White Scramble, East Coast Breakfast Sandwich, and more. Sip on a brunch cocktail such as the Prickly Pear Bellini, a Mimosa, or a Bloody Mary. More about the venue here. Continue reading

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