Sail away, another world, ah-ah
Sacramento, CA 95814
Slamming the ham at The Distillery:
It’s said the Authorities’ 1982 four-song EP Soundtrack for Trouble goes for several hundred bucks on eBay these days. What’s left of the Stockton punk band, which once played such Sacramento venues as Club Minimal and China Wagon, reunited this year, with singer Curt Hall and guitarist Brian Thalken now joined by a drummer, bassist and guitarist from Vancouver, British Columbia, where Thalken now lives.
After gigs at Stockton’s Plea for Peace Center on Wednesday and an opening slot at Pavement’s homecoming at Stockton’s Fox California Theatre (or the Bob Hope-something, as it’s now called), the Authorities topped a four-band bill at Midtown’s Distillery on Friday.
I missed openers Flip-Offs and Machete; we were telling stories on the sidewalk outside under the full moon. Ground Chuck turned up, raving about the Authorities’ greatness, then disappeared.
But Vomit looked promising, and was. Guitarist Dave O’Conner marshaled appropriate sludge from his pointy headstock Jackson; Mario Maynor and Jeremy Roberts kicked hard on bass and drums, respectively; and vocalist Bill Lorenz uttered amplified incantations to Nyarlathotep or Yog-Sothoth or whatever. Enough to summon a few wisps of outer darkness.
Then, the Authorities. Hall and Thalken lurched into the set, accompanied by guitarist Iain Ross and bassist Graham Johnston, both Canucks, and Liverpudlian drummer Stuart Quayle. Half the audience was Thalken’s family and friends from Stockton; the rest were random nuts. And one dreadlocked guy who instigated slam dancing.
Now, slamming is good fun as a testosterone-addled teen or 20-something mook, but it loses its luster once one turns 40 or 50 and dreams of Barcaloungers. As I did, moving to the periphery.
The songs came in a blur: “Achtung!” “Shot in the Head,” “Park Song,” “Bone Your Own,” “Radiation Masturbation,” with corpses piling into the band’s space. One d-bag did pull-ups off the ceiling, then tumbled at Hall’s feet. A rode-hard Bettie Page clone grimaced.
“I hate cops!” barked Hall, singing the late original Authorities guitarist Nick “Slurb” Kappos’ lyrics. “They’re all fuckin’ piggers! / They all got mustaches! / They squeak when they walk!” Brilliant, really. (Full disclosure: Yours truly wrote the lyrics to the band’s “Slam the Ham” and “Jarhead” in a drunken stupor circa 1982.) (Jackson Griffith)
Trick or treat for 20 bucks?:
Last Friday night wasn’t Halloween, but I saw two musicians donning pimp suits, a deejay wearing a dinosaur costume and a male hardcore vocalist dressed like a hooker.
It started just after 10:30 p.m. at Blue Lamp, when Kill the Precedent’s Twig hobbled on stage with a cane, sporting plaid, Technicolor, full-on pimp-suit regalia. He screamed into the mic like a crazy white dude howling at the moon. Or at Safeway’s glowing sign. Pick your poison.
KTP screamer-in-crime Sean Smith sauntered next to Twig in a leather fuck-me skirt, blond wig and heavy makeup, grabbing the mic with both hands and letting out gut-busting screams. The rest of the band, sporting black button-ups, thrashed away on bass, guitars and drums, providing the hardcore rock soundtrack for Twig and Smith’s very irreverent duet. Think a pimps-and-hos rendition of “Islands in the Stream,” but at 120 beats per minute with jet-engine guitars and thumping techno bass—Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton on something way worse than acid. This is why KTP is Sacramento’s don’t-miss hardcore band.
After Blue Lamp, it’s a cab ride over to TownHouse Lounge, where tongue-in-cheek, hands-on-ass funk-dance duo Wallpaper packed the club’s second floor. Led by San Franciscan Eric Frederic’s alter ego Ricky Reed—donning yet another pimp suit (light blue with gray highlights)—Wallpaper proceeded to persuade every reasonably attractive woman in the front row to wave their hands wildly, unleash shrill screams and bend over, to the pleasure of any folks in the second row with a penchant for tush eavesdropping.
I’ve always thought Wallpaper’s intensity wore off as their set progressed—there’s only so many jokey dance tunes this wallflower can handle—but tonight I dig Frederic and drummer Arjun Singh’s set, which features Ricky Reed strapping on an ax for a couple of songs—a first time live, I’m told.
Downstairs, DJ Shaun Slaughter bounced around in a dinosaur costume while DJ Roger Carpio kept some 50 clubgoers happy with a retro-heavy, your cool cousin’s iPod dance rotation. This club night is called Fuck Fridays; you can fuck Tuesdays with Slaughter and Carpio, too, but that club night’s called Lipstick—which commemorates 10 years of indie dance and Midtown debauchery on July 6.
All in all, a great night. Sacramento musicians love to complain about the local scene, and a rerun grumble is that there isn’t a central music district in Midtown. “Clubs are too spread apart.” “If Sacto had a block like in Austin—maybe the R Street Corridor?—Sacto would be so much cooler.”
Hey, dreamer, stuff it.
Plus, I don’t buy the argument. Friday night, I hoofed it from 20th Street and Capitol Avenue to Alhambra Boulevard and N Street, then cabbed it back to 21st and P streets for $5. Cover charges were under $7 at both venues. Beers were under $3. Is 20-some-odd bucks too much to ask for a Friday night you can hang your weekend on? (Nick Miller)