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Monday, January 18, 2010

Rock & Roll Confidential, Part 2

The Blue Star (2200 E. 15th St.) = I got the invite on the Garage Punk Hideout that there was a big garage blow-out show, and when free barbecue was thrown into the mix I was there with bells on. The fact that The Blue Star was located in truck & train nightmare Vernon, California didn't even scare me. This is what happened:

The Blue Star looks like an abandoned Norm's with a rockin' juke box. Drinks are $6 but all they served was beer and wine, no hard-ons, booo. I walked out to a patio with a tiny stage in the corner that had cheap Walgreens Xmas lights strewn about the stage for lighting. You can barely see how ugly the bands are on stage, so maybe it's a public service.

The barbecue pit was in the back with a cool Flintstones-type boulder bar with all the fixings. While The Teutonics (From Germany, natch) played "Dont'cha Just Know It" I noticed the patio was covered in corrugated iron with a barbed wire topping. There was a good turn-out by the time The Jinxes played their spazzed-out Dickies meets Supernova mishigas as I looked up at the star constellation above me in the cold winter sky.

The bottom line is that come summer time this will be a shreddin' scene, but until then you won't find many takers that'll sit out in the cold night air no matter how hot the band. And get some stage lights - at a $10 door cover plus $6 for supermarket booze you can afford to buy some fluorescent tubes or something. I wanna catch all the pimples the garage bands are sportin'!

Timewarp Music (12255 Venice Blvd.) =
On one of my many treks into Culver City I checked out the majesty that is Timewarp Music. There were surf-era guitars, Ringo Starr drum sets, vintage tweed amplifiers and bulbous Elvis-Fifties microphones laid out all over the store. The showroom was cooler than the club next door! I imagine Westside kids coming in and buying all their gear so they can form a surf combo and play the beach down the street.

Club Good Hurt (12249 Venice Blvd.) =
Advance reports of Club Good Hurt conjured visions of foxy nurses in PVC uniforms with nurse caps, tongue depressors, stethoscopes bouncing off bobbing breasts, but alas, no such luck, just two barmaids wearing tiny dresses with a medical cross stitched on. Club Good Hurt has a gimmick but doesn't really run with it much: a 1940's neon drugstore sign hangs over the bar, and that's about it. What did you expect? Mar Vista will never be a hot bed of rock 'n roll, anyway.

The bar itself was lacking, too. I had the most watered down Cosmopolitan ever. Not only couldn't I taste the vodka, I couldn't even taste the cranberry juice. That's bad, seriously bad, especially at $12 (and an expected tip). The band that played, yes, it's a nightclub, was kinda bad psychedelic, but the kids liked them. They had a squirrely synthesizer yammering through their set with a silly fog machine blasting everyone in the face. Nurse! Nurse!

I'm giving Good Hurt three stars because if I was 21 and in a band I'd probably play here and I think it has the potential to be a cool venue. Just don't drink the water, I mean booze. Doctor Andy's prescription: flask it.

Rock City News (7030 DeLongpre Ave.) =
Everything old is new again. Before you get a chance to wax nostalgic over The Pixies they're back on the road touring again. Well, Warrant's back too and Rock City News is there reporting every rawkin' head bang they make. If Axl Rose is making a personal appearance at Pink Dot, Rock City News is there. If Dave Mustaine from Megadeath has more catty remarks to make about Metallica, Rock City News is there. If Faster Pussycat plans another rent-paying comeback, Rock City News is there.

Rock City News, in business for twenty-five years and keeping the heavy metal Strip scene flag flying are still going strong, yes on a monthly basis as opposed to their once weekly output, helmed by the fearless Reuben Blue. In fact, their 25th Anniversary party will be at FM Station on August 22nd. An AC-DC cover band will be on board, and so will Hardly Dangerous, whoa! I thought they were dead. Rock City News is the nightmare that keeps coming back, just like The Pixies.

Studio Instrument Rentals (6465 W. Sunset Blvd.) = Everybody knows about the legendary SIR studios. I once came here for an audition. It was for some psychobilly band. The guitar player was a giant from Germany who would argue with you about everything, even when he agreed with you. Crabby Kraut, may a team of hobbits pee poison in his stein.

The rooms themselves are pretty spacious and clean as rehearsal studios go. Some of the rooms have stages in them so you can point at your invisible audience as you're rockin' out. I'll bet when the big guns like Kiss or The Motels rehearse there they point at that invisible audience from the stage. That's lame enough to be funny.

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