Plunge yer hand into the plastic pumpkin and grab a handful of goodies! Find enclosed two wild weeks of pent up rock n’ roll mayhem. Side effects may include: cramping, ringing of the ears, depression and enlightenment.
Once upon a time, a young blogger bitched about the serious shortage of tribute bands in the area. In the past 14 days, there were tributes to The Beach Boys (Chuckleberries), Troggs (Trawggs), VU (Factrix), Devo (Mongoloid), Bo Diddley (Nobunny), Weezer (Yogurt Brain), The Go-Gos and Blondie (Monster Women), The Gories, The Germs, The Blues Brothers, Queen, Siouxee & the Banshees, Eno, Replacements, Ween, Nirvana and Los Saicos (Shannon & the Clams)!
October 24th, 2013: Russell Quan celebrated his birth the night before at the Stork Club and now he was taking the stage with The Chuckleberries for a Beach Boys tribute at the fabulous White Horse. Dave Seabury was sporting an official Beach Boys jacket and they played a killer set of classics.
Next up were The Troggs, as played by The Trawggs, yet another awesome side project from Oakland’s unstoppable Max Nordile (Uzi Rash, Trashies, Wet Drag). Covered in Scotch Tape face-gear, he belted out all the tunes that time forgot with his own Uzi style. He moved the mic up front and threatened the audience with screaming, slamming power. The set ended with Max playing sax on a particularly ferocious “Wild Thing” that left even King Lollipop plugging his ears. Priceless.
It was sad to leave before Factrix played the Velvet Underground, but we hopped into a butter-colored Volvo wagon and high tailed it to Thee Parkside to see his holiness Tav Falco & The Panther Burns. This was Tav’s first show of his West Coast tour. Having flown in from Miami the night before, he seemed a little tired, but still danced the tango better than ever. They played a bunch off his 2010 CONJURATIONS: Seance for Deranged Lovers, but also a delicious version of “Bangkok,” a tribute to fallen partner, rock god Alex Chilton.
October 27th, 2013: Lou Reed dies on this “Sunday Morning” from complications of a liver transplant. Neil Young, Elvis Costello and My Morning Jacket pay tribute before Tom Waits steals the show at the Bridge School benefit. “Cemetery Polka” is a very high light with the line ‘Uncle Vernon Uncle Vernon independent as a hog on ice’ stuck in my head three weeks later, keeping me up at night.
October 30th, 2013: Devil’s night, and things were getting scary at the Elbo Room. Shannon & the Clams brought the most obscure covers from Los Saicos, a mid ’60s garage band from Peru. Wise move! No one knows this band, and the songs are phenomenal. The style incidentally is not that far from the Clams.
After 15 years together, Mongoloid played their last show ever. These boys are true devotees. I wouldn’t be completely surprised to see them regroup under a new name. It is easy to forget how great DEVO were. From the costumes to the synthesizers, they paved the way for so many. Case in point: the band didn’t even need to play “Whip It.” Nobunny closed out the evening with a best-of set. If you wanted to see Nobunny play covers you would have to be at the Stork in 22 hours…
October 31st, 2013: Total Trash 5 kicked off at the Stork Club with another round of Los Saicos, but also a Bo Diddley cover set from Nobunny. Weezer covers from Yogurt Brain also received highest praise.
November 1st, 2013: Legendary ’60s garage rockers The Sonics play their first show ever in Oakland at the tiny New Parish. Despite some mediocre covers of “Money” and “Louie Louie,” the band delivered on the classics including set closer “The Witch”.
Before The Sonics, Russell Quan returned to the stage with his 1988 line up, The Phantom Surfers. In matching Dia de los Muertos getups, the band tore through a very satisfying surf set, getting the rowdy crowd all fired up with blazing guitars and a topless go-go dancer.
The night also included a stellar set from Larry & the Angriest Generation, a band featuring Oakland’s very own Total Trash Amy on the Farfisa! Larry wore a flaming football helmet, chucked fireworks into the audience and sang with passion. The band plays rarely these days and the loose, sloppy pop was just right. Larry was followed by Harold Ray Live in Concert, a cheap rip-off of Larry with more high kicks than a Mexican brothel.
And then, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy took the stage. With killer guitar provided by Chuckleberry Jay, and bass from Dead Kennedy Klaus Flouride, the Ledge tore through “Paralyzed” and the rest of his spacey catalog. As usual, he had women in the front row removing his chaps after the first few songs and soon he stood nekid except for his signature tighty whiteys and knee pads.
November 3rd, 2013: Total Trash 5 hosted its filthy finale back at the Stork Club. Total Trash Marcos opened up the evening with his Rock n’ Roll Adventure Kids. Formed in 2001 in Berkeley, the band expanded from the usual duo to include Chuckleberry Dave!
RARAK was followed by YXY, a RARAK side project with some similarities. YXY might be a little more cohesive, but that’s not saying much… Both bands put out.
Dead Panzies came next, a female duo. I may have to rethink my no-duo policy.
Pleasure Gallows took the stage and immediately the singer yelled for the drugs. The drummer passed around a vial of inhalants I assume to be Amyl Nitrate or some glue. Whatever it was, they grabbed for it between each song, rendering the band mole-faced and a bit sloppy. Yet in the spirit of Total Trash, it became the quintessential moment of the festival. I can’t remember anything that happened afterwords…