Monday, August 24, 2009

Here came the Sonics!!! (The Sonics at the Echoplex. 8.21.09. Los Angeles, CA)

It's been a very hit or miss time with all these reunions over the last few years (heavens, I feel a theme stirring 'round these parts), but let it be said that of all the bands recently reveling in their decades-old catalogues, the Sonics are, thus far, the most successful of the bunch. There's nothing sad about watching them return to a set of 1960s hits, because, truly, those songs were perfect pieces of punk rock then, and the men driving them have still got the oomph to pull them off as perfect pieces of punk rock today.

At the Echoplex last Friday, prior to their Sunset Junction appearance (on Sunday), they threw around an expected array of hits – “Dirty Robber,” “Psycho,” “Strychnine,” that goddamned “Louie, Louie.” The Wailers' Ricky Lynn Johnson, moving his mouth in an unfortunate gumming motion while taking in air, is their drummer at present, a fine one at that, and Gerry Roslie, though using what appeared to be an inhaler between songs, still showed himself to be a hell of a screamer, even in his 60s. Saxophone player Rob Lind appeared the happiest of the bunch, sort of had that ah hell, it's all in good fun look about him, and did a decent job of balancing out the seriousness that was painted on Roslie's face for the entire set.

It wouldn't be surprising if the band managed to make it as a group in their 70s; they're certainly able to keep up with their 45-year old songs, still played loud, hard, and somewhat as fuzzy. And they are, by far, the best thing to come from Tacoma, Washington.

The best live footage I've seen of the Sonics' recent performances, shot by Avery Strok, can be found here.

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