July 2004: Alisha Amnesia reports on L.A. punk shows

So I have been really slow in writing updates since I moved to LA. I think partly due to the fact that I am not loving the music scene here so far. I mean, I’m the kind of girl who can make my own fun, but good shows here are either high priced, or few and far between. I am still adjusting and making new friends, and having as much fun as I can. I expect to discover more new places and new good bands in the coming months. I have to admit, I really miss the San Francisco punk rock music community.

I had an unexpectedly hilariously fun Fourth of July! I went to a “white trash” party at a friend’s house where we shot off a bunch of fireworks, barbecue’ed, and shotgunned a lot of beer. Well, it was me and 6 guys shotgunning beers. No other girls were up for it, but the girls told me I was representing! It was so funny and I really enjoyed blowing off steam with a bunch of crazy people. Afterward, a lot of us went over to my favorite Silverlake neighborhood gay bar, the Akbar, where they have a great dance room that just opened a few months ago. I always have fun there. (I even met Ross the intern from the Jay Leno show there one night. He’s a doll.) My friends and I danced like fools and had watergun fights. It was the perfect end to our Fourth of July celebration.

Saturday, July 3, I went to see one of my favorite bands, FEAR at the Key Club. I was so happy that I got a spot in the front row, and some adorable 23-year-old punk boy stood behind me and didn’t let anyone knock into me. He took it upon himself to be my bodyguard and that was totally cool. I had a big huge dumb smile on my face for the entire show, because Fear just makes me really happy. I got really excited after the show that I was able to get backstage wristbands for me and my friends, but then Fear’s manager told us that no one could go backstage cause Lee didn’t want anyone back there. That sucked becase I love Lee Ving and wanted to hang out with him again, like I go to in SF the last time they played there. Oh well.

I was planning to attend the MacbreFest in San Bernardino the weekend of June 18. I had a few friends fly in from Dallas, only to discover that the promoters are total losers who never sent plane tickets to the international bands. Apparently this whole sham of a weekender got really screwed up by young promoters who couldn’t deliver on their promises. The bands who were supposed to play that I wanted to see were Demented Are Go, Batmobile, The Hellbillys, The Phenomenauts, Lobo Negro, Guana Bats, plus about 20 more. There are rumors flying around about lawsuits and bankruptcy for the promoters, Los Pistoleros Productions. It sounds like those guys were in way over their heads.

A friend of mine who was visiting from Dallas and I made our own fun and had a kick ass weekend anyway. Friday, June 18, there was a show in LA called “Wild in the Streets” LA Punk, held at The Gene Autry Museum (which was quite strange). The bands were TSOL, The Dickies, DI and Channel 3— a great line-up. We found out about the show in the LA Weekly and we called and found out it began at 7pm and was sold out. I decided we should take our chances and show up and we could find a way to get in. When we got there, there were no ticket scalpers, and there were at least 30 people hanging around with the same idea we had. My friend and I waited patiently near the entrance. I figured I had nowhere better to be, and I knew it would work out. I was right! A guy named Chicken from DI came up to us and asked if we were having trouble getting in. We said yes and he handed us backstage passes! Right on!

The show was pretty fun except, because it was held in an outdoor courtyard at a place that has probably never had live music, the sound left something to be desired. It was an all ages show, so there was a roped off area where you could drink alcohol, but you had to stay in the roped off area if you were drinking. Needless to stay, I spent most of the night in the roped off area drinking beer and watching the show from about 50 feet from the stage. When I did go up front to check out the Dickies, I realized the sound was no better in front, so I went back to the drinking area. At one point, they ran out of beer and that was not my favorite news, but it didn’t last too long. The Dickies were great as usual, and they are my favorite of all the bands that played. Since the sound was so bad, and you could barely hear the vocals, I don’t really have anything to report on this show, but it was a lot of fun anyway.

Later that night, we went over to the Echo to see a SF Goth band called The Vanishing. They were really good, and at one point the female singer took off her top and played the saxophone. It doesn’t get much better than topless saxophone if you ask me! She had a really great voice and they were very entertaining. I thouroughly enjoyed them and would definitely see them again.

Now that I live in LA, I have a house where I can actually entertain after hours. In SF, I always had neighbors living below and next to me who hated me for my late night afterparties. I have no neighbors close enough to bother at 3 a.m. here, and I love that! I had people over after the Vanishing, and the next night I had a crazy afterparty where we played with all sorts of loud airhorns (I have a collection)!

Saturday the 19th, The East Bay Chasers were in town from Oakland. I ran into them and had a few drinks, but didn’t get to see their show because I had tickets to see The Avengers. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Avengers were one of the most well-known punk bands in San Francisco back when the punk scene began (late 70s, early 80s). They came up with bands like the Nuns, The Nubs, and the Dead Kennedys. I had never had the opportunity to see The Avengers, so it was a show I couldn’t miss. Singer Penelope Houston used to have short hair that looked like a cross between Annie Lenox and Billy Idol. She doesn’t still don the short hair, but she looked and sounded really good. I was totally bombed at that show though, and although I had a great time, I couldn’t tell you much about it! I did get some decent photos though. I took off immediately after to catch up with the East Bay Chasers, who played at Zen Sushi. I hoped to catch the tail end of their show, but they were done when I got there.

Sunday I had breakfast with the Chasers and friends, and then I packed a bag and headed off to Sunny Ensanada, Mexico! Since it was kind of spur of the moment, my friend and I didn’t arrive til evening. We got there in time to enjoy the hot tub and watch the sunset. I hoped to get some good beach time the following day, but unfortunately it was overcast. It was still fun though, since we shopped for trinkets, drank lots of margaritas, and got to see a new place. I hope to return again soon.

Since I haven’t written since April, I want to mention some bands I have seen and liked since then. On Thursday, May 27, I saw a local new wave band called The Checkers at the Bigfoot Lodge. They have a female singer and did a great cover of “Fanatic,” a song I recognized from the Valleygirl soundtrack, which I enjoyed. They were really fun and I’d definitely see them again.

Monday, May 24, I went to see The Black Halos (from Canada) at The Knitting Factory. I didn’t like the venue because I felt like I was at a mall, but this band was great. The singer reminded me of a cross between Dwayne Peters (Dwayne Peters & the Hunns, US Bombs) and Lux Interior (The Cramps), only very gay! He was funny and nutty and ended up pulling his pants down to reveal a cheetah print thong, and rolling around on the stage, which I thought was hilarious. I love kooky performers.

Thursday, May 20, I went to see Oakland’s own Phenomenauts! I love these guys, and it is apparent that they keep getting better and better. (They are on this years Van’s Warped Tour for those of you who are going.) They have a new release coming out, and they gave me an unmastered 4 song CD to check out that was phenomenal! I can’t wait to hear the finished mastered version.

Saturday, May 15, I went to see Big Sandy at El Guapo Cantina on Melrose. This was a very weird venue that the Rockabilly crowd has been less than complimentary of since this show. This particular night was weird because there was a big crowd of rap fans watching the end of a Laker game as the well-groomed Rockabilly crowd began filing in. These two groups didn’t mix easily. I was talking to Robert (Big Sandy) at the beginning of the night and some guy who looked like a short Ludacris nearly knocked me down by walking into me while he was talking on the phone. Robert said something and the guy just walked on and didn’t acknowledge us or apoligize. When the Laker fans finally filed out, the show was pretty good. The venue isn’t that bad, since there is a patio, and Tom Ingram (Viva Las Vegas and LV Rockaround promoter) DJed. I had a good time and danced a few songs, and when it was over, I rushed over to Mario Diaz’s Hot Dog at the Parlor for last call. This is a packed gay dance club held every Sat night that is a lot of fun… if a packed and sweaty gay club doesn’t faze you!

Friday, May 14, I went to see Oakland’s Fracas at Zen Sushi. Unfortunately, there was hardly anyone there, but the band still put on the same high-energy show they would play to a packed house. It was great to see them, and I rolled around on the floor with Joe the singer to show support.

The last weekend of April, I was in Dallas for a friend’s wedding and I happened to catch The Briefs and The Real McKenzies at the Gypsy Tea Room on Sunday, April 25. There wasn’t a big turnout, but both bands were a total blast as usual. I had a great time and got to see an awesome show that I had missed when it came through Southern California.

I will end this update with plans to write once a month and keep things more current! Upcoming shows I plan to attend: The Stitches at Zen Sushi on Thurs July 8, The Partisans at the El Rey Theatre on July 22, and I am considering going to the Hollywood Park horse races to see Berlin on July 16. More later…

XOXO- Alisha Amnesia

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