Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Nice Boys have a Silver Lake adventure.

Gah. This week brought a couple of concert-related disappointments; Tuesday saw Midnite Snake's tour van break down, trapping them in Blythe, California, wherever that is, so they were forced to cancel their performance at the Smell. Meanwhile, Wednesday's dream pairing of the Nice Boys and the Saints became a 50% letdown after visa issues with the latter forced the Australians to cancel their American appearance(s). Honestly, does Chris Bailey look like a terrorist? There've been visa issues up the wazoo with foreign bands lately. But, to one-up the great Meatloaf, one out of three ain't bad, and after all my previous hype over these engagements, the least I can do at this point is offer kudos to the Nice Boys, who continue to deliver a flawlessly tight set.

I can't mention the Nice Boys without noting what preceded them, though. Opener the Amazements were a bit of a shocker; literally looking like 17-year olds who directly rolled from bed to stage (not in a Strokes haircut sort of way – they really looked puzzled under all that hair), the boys went onstage with confused facial expressions, then suddenly redeemed themselves by pulling these wicked surf/grunge/R&B bass lines and guitar solos from their asses. Their singer's a bit rough and put the cap on what sounded to be an early Nirvana influence, but the group as a whole sounded more technically proficient and heavy-hitting than their collectively young and frightened appearance initially let on. Toward set's end, their bass-playing frontboy started tossing his bass in the air in a badass rockunroll effort, but he couldn't catch it every time. Meanwhile, the drummer accidentally got his cymbal knocked over after not opening its tripod legs all the way. But there's hope for the lil' pups yet! Look out for the Amazements, they'll be great once they gain a bit of confidence and learn to catch.

Now, here's where things get frustrating. Where the Saints should have been, nine-piece Jail Weddings took over instead. I was already a little down about the Saints missing the show – it didn't help that the Spaceland DJ played a cover of “Do the Robot” by Sisely and the Safety Pin-Ups between sets, though she was massively nice and gave me a copy of the CD when I asked about the band. But Jail Weddings...a nine-piece including a suited saxophonist, two female singers spilling out of their respective dress and corset, and an awkward male singer who reminded me of an awkward temp I'd once known at an old job. Overall, the group seemed to be going for an early Hollywood, glamorous trash/trashy glamour vibe, and though initially amusing, they gave me my first “I just threw up in my mouth” moment when said awkward male singer thanked the Saints for canceling their performance. Things went downhill quite quickly, and the glamorous trash thing started making Spaceland look like a sad epitome of the L.A. dive bar.

Eventually, though, the clouds cleared and there were the Nice Boys, tight as ever and prompting only the happiest of violent dance on the floor. If you've never seen the Nice Boys, their intimidating appearance should be noted: save for drummer Alan Mansfield, the group is collectively tall, always donning the band uniform of long hair and stylish blazer, possessing HUGE HANDS and lining up all in a row at the front of the stage. They're like a wall, if walls were made of velvet, hair and guitars. Though I'd be wrong to try and interpret the feelings of other concert goers, I certainly felt a lot of love for the band on Wednesday night, and I realized that a lot of it had to do with vocalist/guitarist Terry Six; I sort of saw him as a minor legend for the first time – he really is a wonderful guitarist, and on a side note it's astonishing that a human being can fit into such skinny pants – but a great deal of the view stems from him being a former Exploding Heart. While the Exploding Hearts certainly weren't original or wildly famous, they found a niche and perfected it to the point of sounding like an authentic band out of the '70s, and to see Terry Six in person and know that he was once a part of something so perfect was kind of unfathomable. The Nice Boys aren't as...magical? the Exploding Hearts in this same respect, but as with the Hearts, they settled on a retro aesthetic and have become really professional, really tight, and I think they're close to being the power pop equivalent of what the Exploding Hearts were to punk pop.

Anyway, Jail Weddings didn't dance during the Nice Boys' set, but the drunk folks at the front of the floor did, and it's because of those good souls that the Nice Boys know their audience showed up for them and not accidentally for the Saints. Bless those kids, the drunks.

Sisely and the Safety Pin-Ups - Do the Robot!

P.S. Bass player Colin Jarrell shook my hand twice with his HUGE HAND and informed me that the Nice Boys will have a new single out on Birdman and/or Dirtnap in a few weeks, though no second album has yet been recorded. He seems quite nice and has a slight lisp. Also, have a listen to that cover of the Saints' “Do the Robot” by Sisely and the Safety Pin-Ups. They give special thanks to Phil Spector – if the girly cover doesn't make you weep a little, surely the band's poor timing of thanks will.


Anonymous said...

fuck all who disses on Amazements, pieces of fuckin' sheit, go fuck your selves, put it up the asshole sheit heads

Anonymous said...

who ever wrote that article is a piece of fuckin' shit who doesn't get his dick sucked anymore. The Amazements rock my pussy to high heaven. I'd never suck the guy's cock who wrote the article, but I'd suck an Amazement's cock anytime boys! And don't you worry about some has been journalist who lost his virginity getting his cock nibbled at an Aerosmith show and who was introduced to the art of appreciating taking it up the ass at an early Motley Crue show just so he could hit up some cocaine. MMMM mm m. doncha' worry. this man calls Amazements pups, they're fuckin' bull dogs, when left off the chain, they gonna bit cha, give you rabies or whatever the fuck else dogs give. Let off the chain Matha' fuckies, let of the chain.

Anonymous said...

The Nice boys stink more than vaginal farts.

China said...

Well, to whoever in the band wrote all three comments, I liked the Amazements but they're clearly somewhat new. Also, I don't have a dick to suck, thank you.

Anonymous said...

i must appologize for those offensive comments I wrote. My name is Sonny and I've been a fan of The Amazements for years, and I've met them a few times personally. If I was smart I would have realized that what i wrote could have sounded like it was written from a bitter band member, but truth be told,it was written by a gigantic fan of the group who doesn't take lightly to a journalist referring to them condescendingly. I take credit for this now, because I love and respect so much what The Amazements do, that to leave them taking responsibility for my opinions would be an insult to them. I'm still plenty pissed, and would have written no such apology, but when it comes to protecting the livelyhood of this group I'll walk the line.
Remember I'm the fan whose been collecting their early c.d.'s and flyers for years. The occasion I have gotten to meet them have meant so much to me. They gave me encouragement to start my band and I have been running with it like a bolt of lightning, so maybe this is a fan who gets hurt when people talk trash about them, maybe this is a fan who will talk extra nasty trash to any who diss on The Amazements, maybe this is a fan whose been playing there c.d. so much that it wore down the copy and had to struggle to find another one soon, maybe this is a fan who was taught to love myself by this group, mayber this is a fan whose been touched, enlightened, rocked and blown away by there wicked guitar licks, drums grooves that make me reach for the heavens and a bass that bleeds into my life experience. Maybe a song like Steel Mill changed my life and the way I've percieved reality forever. Maybe you should start digging on these guys to.

China said...

Hi Sonny,

I appreciate your clarification, so thanks for that, whether you're still pissed or not. I understand your perspective, and I am pretty harsh at times, but only because there is so much damn music out there that there's no other way to distinguish the worthwhile bands from those who aren't (but criticism is all subjective, so my comments, like anyone else's, are only for those who trust my opinions - not necessarily every disagreeing fan or non-fan. It's impossible to call a band worthwhile or not unless you're describing your personal opinion, and I think reviews should be completely honest so that other music fans know whether your taste is aligned with theirs and in turn whether they know to take your recommendations).

Anyway, in response, if you read my post on the Amazements again, I actually wasn't dissing them at all, but had written that they were quite musically proficient and wound up being a pleasant surprise, given their unpolished appearance. Their performance style seems somewhat amateur, whether they're new or not, and I think if they pay attention to what they look like when they're moving on stage, they could actually be quite great. It's not an image thing, either, it's a matter of being able to catch a guitar when you're showing off and tossing it, not knocking over equipment by accident, etc. You might have seen that as a diss, but I don't think it is at all - just that they're good musicians who are better at music than presenting themselves. Ultimately, though, that presentation is secondary and I think with some practice performing they could definitely have the bigger audience that they seem to deserve.