Invoking the gay-burrito excuse.
Did you miss the best festival of the year?: In School of Rock, Jack Black informs his wide-eyed students, “One great rock concert can change the world!” Ask the bands at last weekend’s Wanderlust Festival and they’ll tell you they may have just played it.
“Very healthy-looking crowd out there,” admired lead singer Britt Daniel of Spoon, who closed the event Sunday night. “I’m considering changing my lifestyle.”
“I haven’t seen a single douche bag in the past 48 hours, and that has got to be a record,” noted a member of performance-art musical troupe the Mutaytor.
“What a cool festival,” agreed Jenny Lewis. “We were on the gondola with people doing downward-facing dog.”
The typically reserved Andrew Bird even commented on the vibe after taking some yoga classes, calling Wanderlust one of the best festivals he’d ever played. (Matt Perry)
Burrito hate: I was late to the Donnas show at Marilyn’s on K last Friday. I blame homophobia.
Since the dawn of time, whenever Midtown denizens got hungry before a rock show, Jimboy’s drive-through was the answer. But Jimboy’s banned SN&R from its corporate-owned stores following a recent story on gay marriage, so I sought nourishment from the always-hospitable Amarin Thai Cuisine. Their panang curry was amazing, but after stashing the leftovers, I was truly tardy.
The sweaty crowd pressed three-deep against the empty stage. Fists pumped the air when the Donnas (energetic substitute drummer Amy Cesari filling in for injured Torry Castellano) opened the show with “Wasted.”
The Donnas’ magic is built on greasy bangs, visible bra straps and get-it-up-or-shut-up lyrics. The formula has barely changed since their high-school days, but three-chord classics like “Hey, I’m Gonna Be Your Girl” still charm from their pouting, shouting mouths.
The Marilyn’s set was quick, muddy and low-fi—just the way the girls like it. They closed the deal with the aggressively sexy “You Make Me Hot” and “Take It Off.” If only our local burrito purveyors could be so uninhibited. (Becca Costello)
Pony it up: The East Portal Express, named after a small park in East Sacramento, is a four-piece band that plays everything from country and bluegrass to rock, funk, jazz and blues.
The band’s new album’s best tracks are simple, sweet even. “Love and Only Love” celebrates the love-will-conquer-all notion. “Full Fathom Five,” with its plaintive saxophone, sounds like an endless, balmy summer night.
Many of the tracks here, however, are toothless soundscapes stretched thin beyond the band’s range. “Alexandria” transitions awkwardly between world groove and bluegrass; “Lonesome Highway,” a would-be classic country ballad, lacks the kind of grit and substance such a song demands.
Those songs aren’t awful, mind you, they just feel largely unfinished, like respectable demos still waiting for both the inspiration and guts. (Rachel Leibrock)
Back to the hotel: The best thing about being a child of the attention deficit generation is that people now cater to those who can’t sit still for more than five seconds. And these people began to filter through the well-mapped organized chaos of Vhcle magazine Launch concert, an all-night music and design spectacle at Greens Hotel, around 6 o’clock on Saturday.
Craft and fashion-design vendors were scattered throughout the venue, a converted club/motel or hotel thing. Sister Crayon, Dusty Brown and various deejays blasted sets. People moseyed through the area downing free Go Girl energy drinks. The fashion show was typical of Sac: models running down the stage like they were being timed. LoveLikeFire and Wallpaper provided much-needed oomph to keep the party flowing into the ill-advised afterparty, which supposedly went until 4 a.m. I didn’t stick around to find out. (John Phillips)
Self-doubt: I’m not sure which felt longer, the five years since No Doubt last toured or the two hours it took to drive to Sleep Train Amphitheatre to see them last Friday. I got to my seat just in time to catch Gwen Stefani and Co. bust out my cell phone’s ringtone, “Spiderwebs” in all-white outfits on an all-white stage. It reminded me of the music video for Christina Aguilera’s Y2K hit “Come On Over Baby,” but this time the males in the background played instruments instead of break-dancing. Their 90-ish-minute set was nothing new, basically a run-through of their greatest-hits album, The Singles. Many now-grown-up fans in attendance seemed unsure how to act: like indifferent adults or squealing overgrown teenagers that could afford a $90 ticket to see a band they loved while growing up. (Katie McMillin)
Fever virus unleashed on Davis: Dengue Fever played a free show at UC Davis last Friday and sufficiently rocked it. Their music’s hot eastern spice is palatable, so good vibes infiltrated the campus and riled the surprisingly older crowd. Even the most geriatric audience member attempted moves that they probably weren’t capable of, and the young were pulling traditional Cambodian dance moves out of nowhere. Fresh-off-of-work dental assistants severely “brought it,” LensCrafters and all, to the funky beats. With everyone in such a state, I had to consider: Is it just a band name, or had they unleashed a terrible plague on the audience? In any case, I don’t want the cure. (Lindsey Walker)