June 20th - 23rd, 2019. I am visiting Los Angeles, CA for the first time ever.
I am here to perform at the INFINITE NOISE OUTRAGEOUS LOUD festival, curated by my dearest friends Verge Bliss (Dendera Bloodbath, Clandestine Ritual Records) and Brandon Gould. I perform on the second day of the festival: Saturday, June 22nd.
I fly in a day early, on June 20th. I am completely unfamiliar with the area and only know a handful of people, not realizing Los Angeles is split up into so many different sub-communities...I joke that it might as well be it’s own state, while another says it’s enough to be it’s own country, completely independent of the not-so-United States of American’t.
I hit up somebody I’ve known online for years: Katz Seki, who is one half of the noisecore legends GORGONIZED DORKS, as well as a longtime veteran of the SoCal punk and goth scenes, going as far back as the 1970s. He knows literally everybody and has lived through it all. Got any questions about your favorite old school punk or deathrocker? I guarantee you, he’s got stories.
Anyways...I hit up Katz, asking if he knows of any events going on that evening. He lists three: the first one is at an “ask a punk” location; the second one is a free show in MacArthur Park; and the third one is a Gothic DJ dance night.
I chose the second option, because, well...free concert in an outdoor setting...that MIKE FUCKING WATT is playing (with his band the Missingmen), along with local psychedelic punks Bastidas!....and erstwhile Germs drummer Don Bolles, DJing vinyl obscurities in between bands. Yup, that’s right.
I arrive at the park, and, following the music in the distance, make my way to the Levitt pavilion. After meeting up with Katz, The first thing I see upon arrival is this bearded chap on stage, spinning records and making hilarious anecdotes every few seconds or so. My initial thoughts: “This guy looks like a fisherman who roadies for Hawkwind. Wait, is that actually Don Bolles?!”
Turns out it was! Katz was even saying: “I’ve known Don since the early days, and the first time I’ve seen him with a beard was over about a month ago...”
Anyways, I’m not that big on DJ sets, but watching Don have so much fun on stage with his record collection was a highlight of this trip. Even if it was just Don DJing and no other performers that night it still would have been totally worth it.
After Don’s DJ set, local trio Bastidas! hit the stage. I don’t know much about them, but they put on one hell of a show, complete with psychedelic guitar effects, harmonized vocals, punchy bass lines, and the drummer wearing a luchadore mask all throughout. The bassist and the guitarist swapped instruments for the last two songs. After their set, I went to their merch table, talked to the drummer for a bit, got a cd, and asked if there were any plans for touring in the near future...and forgetting they had announced that their guitarist/frontman recently became a father.
Following another Bolles DJ set, Mike Watt and his band the Missingmen hit the stage. In addition to Watt (who clearly needs no introduction), the Missingmen also includes guitarist Tom Watson, and drummer Raul Morales.
They kicked off their set with a cover of “Fun House” by the Stooges, followed by endless barrage of classics such as “Sweet Honey Pie” by the recently departed Roky Erickson, “E.T.I.” By Blue Oyster Cult, “Surfin’ With the Shah” by the Urinals, “Little Johnny Jewel” by Television, and of course a bunch of Minutemen staples such as “Beacon Sighted Through Fog,” “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing,” “Anxious Mo-Fo,” among many, many others...and capping it all off with a scorching rendition of “We Are Time” by the Pop Group.
All in all, it was one of the best concert experiences I’ve had this year. And it was FREE...well, there was a donation bucket going around, which goes towards helping keep the free concerts in the park going. Of course I donated, and so should you!
After the concert, Katz and I hung around the park for a bit before going back to his place, where he showed me his endless supply of original concert flyers that he had collected throughout the 80s, 90s and beyond.
And right above his bed is a frame containing flyers related to Rozz Williams and Christian Death...including a gig with Pompeii 99, which had some guy named “Valor” in it....
Day 1 of my 2019 L.A. trip was a blast. Now I get ready for day 2: attending the first day of INFINITE NOISE OUTRAGEOUS LOUD festival at Coaxial Arts....!
(Katz Seki’s noise project with Ben Aggromosh)
The Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts
(Picture of Katz used with his permission; all other photos taken by Dylan Houser)
I started recording "noise music" in early 2004, completely unaware of any "scenes" or other individuals doing this sort of thing. A lot of lo-fi recordings on a portable tape player, oftentimes guitar or bass feedback drone and delay.