[The Valley is a big place, and it puts out more interesting music than we could ever hope to cover. Every week or so, Mike Bogumill will use this space to cover a little more of it. - Ed.]
The goal of this column is to document, explore, and create awareness for interesting things happening in local music, casting a broad net over current events in the Valley's various scenes.
Cover the Crescent: Punk Rock Edition - Crescent Ballroom - May 14
A while ago, there was a documentary produced called One Nine Nine Four. Narrated by Tony Hawk, it presented a triumphant narrative of the "punk rock explosion" of the 1990s, as evidenced by the growth of labels like Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords and the commercial success of bands like The Offspring and Green Day. An undercurrent of the work -- not really emphasized by Mr. Hawk's narrative but suggested by interviews in the film with people such as Brett Gurewitz and Mark Hoppus -- was that the punk explosion saw the incursion of large commercial entities into what once was a strictly underground scene.
Lines were drawn between those who stayed independent and those who sold out. The residual effects of the commercialization of '90s punk were not lost on the documentary, whose main obstacle to publication has been paying the licensing fees of some of the music featured in film. Cuts of the film can still be found on stream sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, usually under some thinly veiled alias to elude copyright trolls.
Crescent Ballroom is offering a less mettlesome alternative to indulging in '90s punk nostalgia. In the latest event in its Cover the Crescent series, local musicians will be playing tribute sets to some of the big names in '90s punk. Members of bands such as Fivespeed, Authority Zero, Redfield, and Jedi 5 will performs sets of Bad Religion and NOFX songs, while a Propagandhi tribute set will be performed by Keep Away, and a Hot Water Music set by Sun Ghost.
Read More: Los Dias De La Crescent features its own cover night for 2013.
Like Propagandhi, the show will set out to be "something more than a faded sticker on a skateboard." Proceeds will be going to benefit the School of Rock scholarship fund, helping support the musical education of a new generation learning how to play rock music. Detached from the morally ambiguous commercialism of corporate sponsorships and major labels, this may be one of the best opportunities to enjoy your favorite '90s punk jams without worrying about being called a sellout.
Unfun Benefit Show - May 16 - Tempe Tavern
Vancouver-based Unfun plays what is probably some of the angriest-sounding pop-punk I've heard. The band was scheduled to play a show this coming Thursday at Tempe Tavern, but before they could get here they were involved in an accident in Indiana that left their van totaled and several members injured.
They've accrued a lot of expenses, and Canada's socially minded healthcare policies still aren't generous enough to bail out touring punk bands. So the show will go on at Tempe Tavern without them -- but now it's functioning as a benefit show to help out Unfun. This international relief effort is being supported by local bearded punk dudes Rumspringer and Said Gun, along with the relatively new local pop band Daisy Face, who recently put out a four-song EP I really liked called Dirt.
Thursday, May 16, at Tempe Tavern Rumspringer Daisyface Said Gun
9 p.m., 21 and up
Alice Bag - Lawn Gnome Publishing - May 18
Alice Bag (née Alicia Armendariz) has it really easy when it comes to establishing scene cred: If anyone doubts her legitimacy, she can merely turn on The Decline of Civilization and point out she is the woman in pink screaming on stage as members of the nascent L.A. punk scene slam into one another. However, she hasn't rested on her laurels of cult documentary fame; she's been consistently raging since as a musician, a feminist, and a writer.
This Saturday, she'll be reading from her memoir Violence Girl, a series of vignettes that covers topics ranging from her time in the seminal punk band The Bags; growing up in the East L.A. barrio; changing adolescent dreams, from wanting to be a groupie to wanting to be a performer; and overcoming environments rife with domestic violence and substance abuse. If I am doing a bad job pitching it, the book also comes highly recommended by Henry Rollins.
Accompanying the readings will be performances by Alice's current band, the She*Riffs, as well as JJCnV and French Girls.
Alice Bag @ Lawn Gnome Publishing 905 Fifth Street 7 p.m., all ages
Local Music Discovery
This week's discovery is Solid Brown. They play angsty alt-rock with a monotone, Bill Callahan-like vocal delivery. Altogether, it sounds like a feeling of apathy while you're being rained on, or something to fill in the silent pauses of your coworkers, friends, classmates, and family members whenever you tell them about the weird stuff you think about all the time.
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They are playing at the Trunk Space this Wednesday with Gashcat and Ghost Foot, both from Shreveport, Louisiana, along with locals Diners and Creosote Mantra.
Wednesday, May 15, at Trunk Space Gashcat Ghost Foot Diners Creosote Mantra Solid Brown
7:30 p.m., all ages