Show review: Lilys @ Spaceland

It has certainly been a while since Kurt Heasley brought his band out for a live run. But, the pleasant surprise of seeing an ad mid-week that said Lilys were playing that Sunday changed that.

Lilys hit the road for a small cluster of West Coast tour dates and a couple Sundays ago, saw them bring their show to the small and David Lynch-esque Spaceland venue in Silverlake. While the place was virtually empty through the opening bands, there couldn't have been more than 100 people there by the time their set ended.

Kicking things off with 'Squares' and providing peppy and jangly renditions of tracks including (my favorite song) 'Ginger' and 'Nanny in Manhattan', the band looked happy and Kurt was talkative throughout - though sometimes a bit incoherent.

While there were no lush, shoe-gazey offerings of anything from 'In the Presence of Nothing', there was no love lost among the committed - surely, anyone at Spaceland on a Sunday night doesn't just 'happen to be there'.

All in all, the bartender mixed some strong drinks which kicked in at the right time and LA was treated to a rare Lilys appearance, well, since their last time at Spaceland.

VIDEO: Kurt Heasley - 'Ginger' (acoustic)


Johnny Marr: Guitar Mercenary

After catching The Cribs on Letterman and watching the guitar master of Manchester do his thing with his newest band, I realized that Johnny Marr is now officially a mercenary guitarist-for-hire and well, that's awesome.

We have all too often seen great ax men eventually part ways with their main band only to roll out a solo project with a title that is somehow a play on their name, full of rehashed riffs, 'special guests' and knob-polishing, ego-gluttonous soloing.

Not Johnny Marr.

While he did have his stint with The Healers, he easily shrugged off that iteration of his ability and moved on to being a hired gun (of sorts) for Modest Mouse and helping write the phenomenal 'We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank' while putting enough of his own swoon-worthy riffs to let you know he's there but, not envelop the sound. Isaac Brock, frontman for Modest Mouse, has openly stated that Johnny Marr has an open door policy with the band to come and go as he wishes.

The latter provided him with the ability to join The Cribs, a favorite band of his from the UK. An already talented group, Marr fit in seamlessly and has since put his Jaguar to work.

We may never see a Smiths reunion. Morrissey will probably continue to put out the same solo album again and again. But, before long, we may just see another Johnny Marr infused band and I couldn't' be happier.

VIDEO: The Cribs on Letterman


Halloween show review: 400 Blows @ Nomad Gallery

It was a beautiful All Hallows Eve in Echo Park – a crisp and cool night, several Jack Skellingtons walking about and yes, there was even street parking! Nomad Gallery and art compound opened their doors to host a Halloween event which showcased several great costumes (I think zombie Jesus was my favorite), old horror flicks projected on the walls and a great set from LA's own 400 Blows.

The band's following is a hearty mix of off-the-path scene kids, devout metal/punk fans and hardcore tone chasers. Mostly unheard of outside Los Angeles, the band has managed to cruise below the radar even after releasing two stellar albums - 'The Black Rainbow' (2003) and 'Angel's Trumpets and Devil's Trombones' (2005).

Playing their first show in sometime and with a slightly re-tooled lineup (though no ferocity lost), they erupted into 'The Beauty of Internal Darkness'. Lead vocalist, Skot, let it be known that 'this wasn't a reunion' and that 'they never left'. After proceeding to tear through a few new songs, Blows capped their night with the explosive 'Electric Wilderness' which sent the crowd into a beautiful chaos.

It would be a shame if this band didn't gain a larger following but, from what I can see, they don't mind one bit as long as their friends and fans are the same thing.

VIDEO: 400 Blows - 'Electric Wilderness' (live)

MySpace: www.myspace.com/400blows