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El Vez, Human Hands
(Le) Poisson Rouge
New York, NY
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El Vez, Human Hands
Because Elvis has become an international institution that can communicate across national and cultural boundaries, it comes as no surprise that El Vez -- the self proclaimed "Mexican Elvis" -- has come along. El Vez, aka Robert Lopez, has been kicking around the L.A. underground music scene for nearly twenty years. He first appeared in the early L.A. punk band the Zeros and then played in Catholic Discipline (which also spawned lesbian folk singer Phranc). While his records are excellent documents of the El Vez phenomenon, the only way to get the full El Vez experience is to see his live shows, which feature his band the Spiders from Memphis and the lovely El Vettes, cleverly named Priscilita, Gladysita, Lisa Maria, and Que Linda Thompson. The best cultural reference points to help describe an El Vez show are the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, a Tom Jones Las Vegas gig, the LSD episode of Dragnet, and Elvis Presley's '68 comeback special. Listening to El Vez is akin to hearing the live-band equivalent of sampling. An audience on any given night can be treated to half a dozen costume changes and might hear bits and pieces of at least 200 songs, not all of them Elvis recordings. For instance, one of his medleys featured "You Ain't Nothing But a Chihuahua" and an instrumental version of the Beastie Boys' "Gratitude," mixed in with the lead guitar riff from Santana's "Black Magic Woman" laid underneath Rod Stewart's "Maggie May," which melded into "En el Barrio" (aka "In the Ghetto") and finished up with the mandolin line that concludes R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion."

Human Hands formed in 1978 from the nascent L.A. punk scene, but were more closely associated with what is loosely known as the Pasadena scene, bands with more of an art influence than the average L.A. punk band of the time. The original members were Dennis Duck, Juan Gomez, Bill Noland, Rick Potts and David Wiley. After making a few recordings, some notable opening slots and headlining clubs like Perkins Palace, the band broke up at the end of 1981. Asked to open for the reformed Savage Republic at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood in November of 2002, Juan, Rick and Dennis recruited Pierre Smith (formerly of New Marines and a continuing regular player in El Vez's band) as a second guitarist and Jeff White (formerly of... well, formerly a fan of the band and of the various members' other projects) to sing. Rick left the band in 2003 and was replaced by Marc Salata. This latest incarnation of Human Hands has played regularly at some of L.A.'s best clubs and as part of such special evenings as Club Kiss or Kill. They released a four-song EP in 2004 and will be releasing their first full-length CD any day now. The band has been favorably compared to early XTC, Talking Heads, Television, They Might Be Giants, and early R.E.M. and their shows are consistently included in the "This Week's Recommendations" list in the L.A. Weekly.

Location

(Le) Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012
United States


Categories

Music

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No

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