Tuesday, July 29 was Club Sandwich's two year anniversary--they're a local all-ages/"diy" show promotions group. Anyway, they pulled off somewhat of a booking coup with this sold out show at West Oakland's Lobot Gallery: No Age, Mika Miko, Abe Vigoda, and Oakland's KIT all played after a stint at SF's Great American Music Hall the evening before.

I missed KIT, but Abe Vigoda ended up being the highlight of this show--their set was tight and their verbed-out ADD punk has a hypnotic quality to it. My complaint with all these LA bands is a dearth of respect for the human voice (vocals are often buried deep in the mix, and are usually completely inaudible at shows like these), but Abe Vigoda's guitar work tends to make up for it. It's a novel punk band that plays with tremolo and reverb knobs cranked to 10, and it makes for a sound that is cavernous and beautiful. Beautiful, even in a stark-white gallery with no sound system, crushed against the wall by a surging mass of sixteen year olds. Very inspiring.

Mika Miko is a different story. These girls have a sound that is pure throwback: the Misfits, Bad Brains, thrash, whatever. Relentless powerchords, simple drum beats, and unintelligible (but cute) screeching into a telephone rigged up as a microphone are the hallmarks of this group. The first time I saw them (at SF's Noise Pop festival) their energy was sufficient to make it a worthwhile spectacle, but I was rubbed the wrong way this time. Their songs have precious little by way of substance. I've never heard any of their recorded material and I don't particularly feel the need to.

I enjoyed No Age's set. I think a lot of folks end up at No Age shows expecting some level of MTV polish on the songs, and what they get is a sloppy two piece rock band. That's what No Age is. A fun, sloppy, youthful LA punk band who like to throw in some noisy stuff every once in a while, and who place more value on the energy of the performance than on, say, the vocals. Their artier leanings (as evidenced by the video for their empty-sounding single, Eraser) tend to go right out the windows at shows like these, thankfully. They finished up with a cover of the Gun Club's "Sex Beat" which actually made my night. It all made for a fine showcase of L.A.'s biggest indie exports of the moment. Hopefully it was an inspiring one for the music makers and venue owners of the Bay Area, an area sorely lacking in the sort of upbeat energy these three bands bring in spades.

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