Mindy and I went to see L.A. fuzz-punk dyad No Age at Bottom of the Hill the other night. If you don’t know who No Age are or what they are about, Randy Randall and Dean Spunt started out as two-thirds of Wives before splitting to form this truly awesome band. They released five excellent EPs in short order, and then culled the best tracks for their first full-length, Weirdo Rippers. Recently, they were signed to Sub Pop and are at work on a new album.
Video for “Boy Void”
Mi Ami and KIT
We missed the first band, Party Fowl, but caught local S.F. band, Mi Ami, who played shortly after we arrived. The rhythm section was tight and reminded me of the Minutemen, both in terms of sound and talent, but also, spookily, appearance. The bassist looked like a young Mike Watt in flannel and beard. He locked in tightly with the drummer and I really enjoyed watching him play. Too often, bassists just bump along, proving the equivalent of sonic filler, so it is always nice to see one who is a musician in his own right. The drummer played in a frantic, muscular style that reminded me of George Hurley, down to the way he flipped his mop of hair in his face. I’m not sure if this is an analogy that stands up to scrutiny, but it felt right to me at the time, and I’m sticking to it. The front man was extremely dynamic. He played guitar, twisted knobs, screeched and vamped, rang a splintered cowbell; whatever the song required, even if it was just offering attentive enthusiasm for the beat. They were Mindy’s favorite band of the night and reminded her of other locals, Lemonade.
Their next show is October 1st at The Knockout with Always (Australia) and 3leafs.
Check them out on MySpace:
Next up was East Bay’s KIT. KIT are one those great bands where all the members are monstrously talented, but play like a group of drunken friends goofing around. The rest of the band thrashed along while guitarist, George Chen, teased the crowd with mock-epic metal guitar riffs. Here are pictures from flickr:
No Age took the stage just after 11 and played a solid forty minute set that included almost every song off Weirdo Rippers. Songs included, “Neck Escaper,” “Boy Void,” “Loosen this Job,” “My Life’s Alright Without You,” and “Every Artist Needs a Tragedy.” They also played two new ones, presumably from the forthcoming SubPop album, which were overall speedier and cleaner sounding than Weirdo Rippers, but still instantly recognizable as No Age songs.
“Neck Escaper” is my favorite song by them and I was glad to see it done justice at the show, but the highlight was “Everybody’s Down.” Guitarist, Randy Randall, immersed himself in the crowd, a look of total delight on his face, as he played the catchy melody over and over. Dean Spunt came out from behind his drum kit to sing at the mike stand. This went on for several minutes; the tension in the room building. Dean sat back down at his kit, unhurriedly, deliberately, channeling- I think- an innerfury for the inevitable assault. Sensing this, the kids piled around Randy readied themselves to unleash their pent up energy. All they needed was the spark of a stick pounding a drum to ignite the fire. From the first hit, they went completely berserk, and didn’t let up until the final note of the last song.
Here is a good clip of No Age playing “Everybody’s Down” live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn back in April by Poker Chris:
The guys in No Age were clearly having a great time. Randy kept repeating how psyched they were to play SF, how many friends they had here, how much they liked the other bands, and the city in general; all stage cliches, I know, the cynic inside me said, but the believer believed. What can I say? At one point Randy gushed so enthusiastically that Dean gently mocked him, saying “This is like MySpace in real life.”
They have a few more live dates across the country before heading off to Europe next month.
Sep 20 2007 Backspace PDX, Oregon
Sep 21 2007 Vera Project Seattle, Washington
Sep 22 2007 Pats Pub Vancouver, BC
Sep 23 2007 house party Olympia, Washington
Sep 25 2007 Delta of Venus Davis, California
Sep 27 2007 Drunken Unicorn w/ Deerhunter Atlanta, Georgia
Sep 28 2007 Mercy Lounge w/ Deerhunter Nashville, Tennessee
Sep 29 2007 Empty Bottle w/ Deerhunter Chicago, Illinois