Alex’s Bar, Long Beach, California
It is safe to say that when the night started I had no idea what it would unveil. As I walked into Alex’s Bar I am greeted by my friend Vince who right away introduces me to Kira (bass player of Black Flag and Dos). We both exchange a, “nice to meet you”, and then I am turned around and told to come here.
Vince leans over and tells Mike Watt something and the next thing I know I am getting a hand shake that said to me hey brother! It is safe to say that my night started out very positive. By now the first band had started and I had no clue who was on the bill other then Dos and Fugazi bassist Joe Lally, then again did I need to know anything else?
First up was Long Beach locals and one of my favourite bands right now, the Valley Arena. These guys rock, they mix some of today’s dance/rock sound (without the cheese) and mix it with a sound reminiscent of Jawbox. They use intergraded guitar sounds with a lot of call and response, you would never though as their the songs are so well written. This turned out to be their record release show.
Up next came up…Capillary Action…I had never heard of these guys before and I found out why when they say they’re from Pennsylvania. Their style is in the vain of Frank Zappa and they do it well. Very odd time signature styles; change ups the way that Mr. Bungle does so well. These guys didn’t change my life but they were fun to watch and hear…One highlight was a great cover of The Stooges, “Fun House” with Mike Watt.
So next is Joe Lally. All that is on stage is a bass amp, keyboards and a very basic drum set. The first song starts with just him on bass and vocals; slowly a keyboardist and drummer join the foray. He plays a solid set with songs taken from his two solo records. Overall the set is around 40 minutes. As his performance progresses I notice that Kira was into it more than I was, really jazzed on watching him play. She is a bassist after all so I understand! For his last few songs the guitarist of Capillary Action joined, the first song was straight forward guitar whereas the rest were mostly noise and feed back, all consistent with the sound of his albums.
As the night progressed I had seen multiple styles of music and each band got mellower as it went along. Dos were the best choice to close out the show. They are very mellow being only two bass players and a majority of the set were instrumentals with some vocals thrown in by Kira.
You can really tell when friends are playing together, no matter what kind of music they play, hard, fast or mellow, they are having fun together. This was no different and I am glad I got to witness it.