Y'know how your subconscious brain takes in everything and screens it like a secretary before it makes it to your consciousness? Well, while struttin' it "Stayin' Alive"—style down Orange Avenue last week I happened to walk by the Lodge. A few paces past their sidewalk sign, I came to a sudden halt with the scratch of a record. Wait, that didn't say what I thought it did, did it? Couldn't be. Pedal back … one, two, three … look down slowly … THROBBING GRISTLE! What the …? Of course I walked in. Once inside, I was told that since they didn't have live music that night like they typically do on Mondays, they thought it'd be funny to write that. No, really, I'm laughing inside … fuckers.
Since last summer, everyone's been dying to hear what's next for the exiled Will's Pub. I've got good news and I've got bad news. The bad news is that the Colonial Drive space (by the Cruises Only building) that was to be the location ain't gonna happen. The deal-breaker was the existence of a pesky little school, operating out of a house within 500 feet of the building. The only way it could've worked under city code is if 51 percent of its sales were food and non-alcoholic beverages. Never mind that this stretch of U.S. Highway 50 is one of the most well-traveled commercial stretches in the entire county. Nope, rules are rules. And food service is the last aegis that separates the children from a life of sin. You don't like it? Go back to Sodom, heathen.
The good news is that owner Will Walker is about to, at long last, officially rejoin the local music fray in a collaboration with College Park restaurant/bar Taste. He'll assume reign of its semi- private side room for concerts. Work is underway to fit the space with the necessary infrastructure — like a stage and PA system — and the connection with the main room and bar will be amplified. With doors opening around 10 p.m., shows won't interfere with the dining and, more importantly, vice versa. Wanna play there? Go to www.myspace.com/willspub.
Lookin' for love in …
In the quest for live fire last week, I braved lots of unexpected twists and turns. Twice I waded upstream through the tourists leaving Universal Studios to see shows. But I shouldn't complain, salmon do it all the time.
So what's new? I'll tell you, pussycat. Tom Jones, that's what. On my way to Hard Rock Live, I tripped over a socio-cultural divide and landed in a Twilight Zone of frenzied menopause where no one bothered with drink wristbands. It was part and parcel of the surreal phenomenon that is "Tiger Tom," and even I have to bow before such towering machismo. The performance was a vigorous one, with the spectacularly gaudy stylings of his rich suede voice still remarkably strong. Woh-WOOAAH-ohh-ho, oh yeah. Seriously, this cat's one of the few remaining male entertainers left from the old school who still musters sheer charisma. Besides, any retirement-aged fella who lets fly that many sexual innuendos, hip thrusts and gestures to his penis is mighty impressive, if creepy. Tom, you're my hero. And if you were wondering who flung that pair of boxer shorts with the banana print by your foot, well, wonder no more.
My second safari to U-land took me on the other side of the lagoon to the Groove, where I found myself among another equally foreign population: conventioneers. A member of the species from Seattle tells me that the gathering is the largest for the wireless industry. How fascinating. Anyway, here's proof that I'll go anywhere for a show. This junket was to see L.A.'s the 88, whose sunny blend of California power pop and soaring, Thrills-esque piano pop coalesced into a catchy set that was airy but rocking. The faint touch of ruralism gave them more depth than is typical for their ilk. Nothing new but definitely well-done.
One of the most mind-melting displays came via Chinese-Canadian turntable phenom Kid Koala. Three decks, no headphones and a pair of hands that were part hummingbird, part surgeon, and made for a next-level performance. A camera was specifically set up to capture his sick finger gymnastics and project them on a video screen for all to see. On one hand, so to speak, it was a downright brave thing to do. On the other, when you're packin' that much dope, it's just showing off. Shit, I'd do it too. The dude's a household name for a reason. He spins on a rarefied plane where only tricksters of the highest order exist, a level where the DJ can look the guitar virtuoso square in the eye. When Chuck D rapped, "Run-DMC first said a DJ could be a band," this is what he firstname.lastname@example.org