Happy New Year everybody! Hope you had a good one. Now that you've all recovered from your holiday merriment, it's time to get out there and start partying like it's 2012. I mean, if you believe the Mayan calendar, this could be our last year on earth, so we better make it a good one.
What better way to start out the new year than with killer music? Great shows are happening all over the country this week and I'm giving you my little preview of shows that I think are worth your time. Whether your thing is hip-hop, metal or "absurdist folk" we got you covered. Check it out:
Wednesday, January 4
Camper Van Beethoven - Madison, Wisconsin California's Camper Van Beethoven were somewhat of an anomaly in the the mid-80s alternative music scene. They weren't punks and they weren't hippies, but they appealed to both with their blend of punk, folk, ska, country, psychedelia and a smattering of various other world music. Self-described as "surrealist absurdist folk," the band formed in Santa Cruz after singer/songwriter David Lowery and boyhood friends Chris Molla and Chris Pedersen disbanded their previous band Box O' Laffs, adding Victor Krummenacher on bass, Greg Lisher on guitar and Jonathan Segel on violin, keys and mandolin. It was Segel's violin that would prove to be the band's hallmark at a time when indie rock was still shy of roots music or traditional elements. Their aggressive musical pluralism created a multi-disciplinary sound that rapidly evolved from record to record. The band's first three, independent records enjoyed critical success, each placing in The Village Voice's 1986 Pazz and Jop Top 100 Albums list; their debut single, "Take the Skinheads Bowling," remains a college rock radio staple. The group signed to Virgin Records in 1987, released two lauded albums and enjoyed chart success with their 1989 cover of Status Quo's "Pictures of Matchstick Men", a number one hit on Billboard Magazine's Modern Rock Tracks. They disbanded in 1988 but starting in 1999, began to hit the road again and have subsequently released new material. If you've never seen Camper Van live, I can't recommend them enough. If you're in Madison this weekend, DO NOT miss this show. Here they are performing their classic "Take the Skinheads Bowling" in Santa Cruz back in 2007.
Big Business and Neil Hambuger - Long Beach, California Also on Wednesday, a killer bill at Alex's Bar in Long Beach featuring Seattle stoner/sludge metal band Big Business and comedian Neil Hamburger. Big Business started as a two piece composed of Jared Warren of Karp and The Tight Bros From Way Back When, and Coady Willis of Murder City Devils. They released their first album, "Head for the Shallow" in 2005 and subsequently relocated to Los Angeles in 2006. Jared and Coady then both became members of fellow Northwest expatriates The Melvins. Their joint tour, entitled "the Double-Drumming Rock for Peace tour", featured Warren and Willis playing a set as Big Business before being joined by Dale Crover and Buzz Osborne for a set as The Melvins. In October, 2010 they added another guitarist Scott Martin, making them a "Power Quartet". For their show at Alex's they'll be joined by comedian Neil Hamburger. Hamburger is the alter-ego of comedian Gregg Turkington. Hamburger's live act features a barrage of question/answer jokes aimed often at celebrity targets including: Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and Steven Tyler, as well as depressing barbs aimed at his ex-wife. His pacing is off, he clears his throat nonstop through his entire routine and he sweats profusely. Hamburger's comedic styling truly must be seen to be understood. Just hope you're not on the receiving end of one of his tirades. This is another killer billing from the good folks over at Alex's and definitely a do-not-miss for those of you in the Los Angeles area. Check out this video for "The Drift" from Big Business' 2010 release "Mind the Drift."
Friday, January 6
The REJ3CTZ - Anchorage, Alaska The chilly climate of Alaska is a far cry from the sunny streets of Los Angeles where the street-dance "Jerkin'" originated but it shows how the dance and its surrounding culture are rapidly spreading across the country. The REJ3CTZ - Mowii, Bounc3, and Pee W33 hail from Los Angeles and are known as a leading force behind this new generation of music, style and dance. They first hit the music scene in 2008 with their club single, "Rej3ct Stomp". The song describes the "function" scene as well as the original "Jerk" dance known as the "REJECT" which they created and which spread like wildfire worldwide, spawning numerous YouTube videos and many other talented artists. Their lyrical ability was showcased in the Pepsi & Yahoo Music's "Mic Pass" freestyle, and the group was honored at the 2010 E-World Music Awards for emerging digital artists. They'll be showcasing the "Cat Daddy" at this show; another song and dance craze sweeping the nation. Celebrities such as Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Willow Smith and Ellen Degeneres are doing the dance! Recent press on the REJ3CTZ and the "Cat Daddy" craze include features on TMZ, Los Angeles Times, HipHollywood, Skinnie Magazine and more. Things are going to get HOT in Anchorage and this is a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a dance craze that's spreading like wildfire. Here's the video for "Cat Daddy." Crank it up and get pumped for this one, Anchorage.
** WARNING! This video contains explicit language! **