Starfuckers and Hell-lay show and club review

Starfuckers and Hell-lay
a story by Brandon Payne

“I want to take you home and sit on your smile.”
These are the opening lines that a middle aged woman delivered to me at the bar of the Cat Club on Thursday night. She of course was the highlight of the evening.
An outsider must bum a cigarette. Knowing nobody in LA and being from the east coast, puts me in the quaint predicament of approaching British hair band enthusiasts that stand outside in the smoking patio of the Cat Club on “Starfuckers” night. And that is where my abysmal experience begins.
Please note, if you don’t look like you are going to streetwalk Santa Monica Boulevard near West Hollywood, then don’t try to bum a cigarette from a snobby spork with a white face and shimmering lipstick. Also, don’t make the comment that he looks like he died from a heroin overdose when he turns you down. And never stand there in a puddle of rejection and start an argument about the true origins of punk rock. And when he doesn’t know who the MC5 are, don’t take it as an insult, just realize that you are standing on the smoking patio of a club strategically placed off of the Sunset Strip. Realize that the club next this little dive is called A Whiskey A Go Go, and comprehend that the club is so commercial that the bands at ‘A Go Go’ actually pay the club to perform. Realize that the grunge age slipped LA the morning after pill and nothing revolutionary has came through since.
However, the Starfuckers are a great cover band. They after all performed with Billy Idle a couple of weeks ago, and during that performance, Billy impressed me with a strong version of ‘LA Woman’. The concern I have is that the old crowd claims that the Starfuckers are the best band in LA. Then what we have is a state of arrival, which means that the scene is completely dried up and somebody needs to revolt against the old LA generation for the sake of music.
I am not talking ‘screamo’, ‘emo’, ‘pseudo-punk’, I am talking new. I am also not suggesting an isolated act such as Rage or Tool. I want substance, a collection of artists dedicated to the full removal of LA’s toxic hair history. I want something that makes them leave their houses in hazmat suits. I can feel it too, stirring in the wind like a pollen spore anticipating fertilization. I can feel it in the wake, and it is written all over their old feminine faces. Pound spoke of faces on a metro station after World War 1; I speak of faces in an LA rock club after a bombshell of music blistered the rooftops of ‘Hair Nation’.
But the grunge movement was just a spec. Jerry Cantrell’s overdose and Pearl Jam’s commercial output were just cherries on top of the grunge apocalypse. The Indy movement that followed made a humble approach that only pacified any true act of revolution. The hardcore crowd at ‘A Go Go’ is a cross section of trend. And any punk group that starts up eventually recedes into emo, and if not seemingly becomes unnoticed. While, the isolated groups from LA that have a new clean sound, seem to get the fuck out of town as quickly as possible. So, the old LA underground brandishes the hair band groups at the younger much less musically inclined generation of performers. I can not argue with their efforts. If you watch a guitarist at the cat club and compare that guitarist say to a hardcore musician, an Indy musician, an emo/screamo musician, or any other that the new generation produces in LA; what will be observed is the complete overkill that the Cat Club guitarist puts on the fret board. That is where the hair band succeeds in drastic fashion, the bands can actually play instruments. I assume they perform so well because the members of the bands are reaching their 50’s and have been playing since the dusk of the Neolithic period. And if you ask one of these bands if they are interested in a something different, they respond with their noses up and say no.
The scene has dried up. Simply stated. The ass of LA has almost been completely wiped, but the old generation of musicians hangs on by the ass hair due to the fact that the younger generation’s knowledge of music comes from vanity. If MTV2 or VH1 has not played the song, then the youths don’t know the song. I however know that I am not the only one, I know that there are more that desire a change. This is the point where I break into a plead to my bastardly cohort: LA is open game, we just need the alpha wolf to parade in the pack.
The first week I came to LA, I went on a date with a club DJ to a beanery outside of West Hollywood (she is a DJ, I have no job, don’t judge). She of course had to be fashionably late, so I stood outside this beanery in West Hollywood listening to a street musician play his guitar. The understanding of epistemologies suddenly sunk in when I realized that this man performing was quite possibly one of the most profound acoustic cover musicians I had ever heard. I instantly struck up a conversation with the gentleman and we fortuitously began a comparison of John Lennon and Bob Dylan. Suddenly he proved me completely wrong about my admiration for Dylan over Lennon by showing me the progression of Lennon’s guitar ability from Rubber Soul to his solo career. He inebriated me with his demonstration of Lennon’s complex archeological dig into sounds and vocals that set the standard. He then performed a beautiful version of ‘God’ at which point I noticed that the people walking by had lost interest in this amazing performer. Why? Why were these people so excited about hearing the guy play ‘Champagne Super Nova’ before I started speaking to him? Why were they unsupportive when one of the greatest rock songs ever written was ringing in the atmosphere? Oh, that’s right, I was in LA. BP

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