Los Angeles isn’t burning…
It took just one Saturday night in London to confirm that Los Angeles is dead to rock n roll. Gallows were playing the Bizarre Ball and they came on stage wearing balaclavas, with a truly ferocious cover of ‘God Save The Queen’, all attitude and uncaged aggression. It was one of those moments, all the better for being shared with friends. A week later AC/DC headlined Download.
It’s been four years since I was back in England and almost ten since I moved to Los Angeles, foolishly seeking something that had died with Kyuss in the desert not long after Demon Cleaner. Those wild generator parties that Kyuss made legend were replaced by corporate, sterile, festivals, where the cops are unnerving and you can’t take your overpriced beer within about 100 miles of the stage. So much for stoner rock.
But who the fuck wants to live in the desert? I can see the Whiskey A Go-Go from my window. That mecca of rock n roll, where the Doors and Guns N Roses and System Of A Down all played back in the day. Iggy Pop overdosed on stage there. Nowadays it’s nine band bills with some pay to play bullshit and, in all fairness, you wouldn’t pay to watch any of them play. Awful death metal bands (with due respect to good death metal bands), with stupid names, clogging up the pavement and usually playing to no one. It’s as close as Sunset gets to a music scene unless you count Steel Panther every Monday, but, as fun as they are, surely someone sees the irony. There’s also thriving underground punk scene if you fancy venturing down to Compton and you’re prepared to have a gun pointed at you by the cops. And so much for the capital city of rock n roll.
Aside from the odd gem at the House Of Blues (Revolting Cocks being a rare example) the only venue in LA consistently booking good bands is Club Nokia and words cannot fully describe what a turd that place is. Suffice to say you won’t be able to see or hear much of the band unless you’re among the first 400 to get there (the place holds about 2200). This is one of many genius rules that seems to be catching on in LA in order to discourage dancing. Probably best, since dancing at Club Nokia will ensure that three bouncers dislocate your knee to stop you doing it again.
There’s a reason that bands likes living in LA and that’s because if they’re touring then they don’t actually have to live here. It’s a beautiful, beautiful city, where you can surf in the morning and snowboard in the afternoon (no one ever does, they just like to rub it in), but beyond the bar culture there’s no real rock community here and not enough passion for it to even hope for one. If you’re looking for the heart of rock n roll then it still beats on a soggy little island just north of Calais. And no, it’s not the Isle Of Wight.