The Crocodile hosted a wildly-fun Saturday night of garage rock on June 18th, featuring two local practitioners of the art, The Intelligence and TacocaT, along with Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds, best-known as a former member of psychobillly punk legends The Cramps and co-founder of The Gun Club.
TacocaT opened the show with an energizing set of nicely aggressive ‘60s-style pop-punk. A happy, familiar banter went on between the band and the hometown crowd, and TacocaT’s tight, melodic songs easily held the audience. They are fun, funny, good-looking, and definitely a good time – a wonderful antidote to a scene that sometimes takes itself a little too seriously at times. They’d fit in perfectly playing at a blowout backyard BBQ, but have an “it” factor there that could and should take them to bigger prominence.
Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds
Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds were up next with a more sinewy, instrumental-heavy, funky take on the garage. The Kid (or Brian Tristan, if you prefer his birth name) has a quiet and sweetly silly presence onstage, charming and weird in the best ways. His roller-coaster experiences as an important participant in L.A.’s earliest days of punk (include Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in his band roster, too) seem not to have dampened his enthusiasm in a 30-year-career in any way. (His new album, Gorilla Rose, is dedicated to a now-deceased unknown-to-most early punk scenester from Seattle, FYI.) The biggest cheer went up for “I’m Cramped,” from The Cramps’ debut album, Songs The Lord Taught Us, and Powers’ wide smile beamed as the crowd sang along with the lyrics. . . which are the words, “I’m cramped.”
The Intelligence is multi-instrumentalist Lars Finberg’s baby – it’s his lo-fi sound and vision all the way, with a bit of a revolving door in the touring version of the band. The general good-naturedness of the whole night was also evident in Finberg’s stage commentary, self-effacing and at times pointedly funny when making references to a few other bands. The songs clipped along with a rapid-fire clang with mini-intros to each one, like “Like Like Like Like Like Like Like,” from last year’s Males album. Keyboardist Susanna Welbourne’s bass notes were so stunningly loud that they were observed to cause a secondary effect in nature: a liquid contained in a plastic cup set on the edge of the stage began to leap, dance, and sparkle, and then began to concurrently turn in slow, clockwise circles. Their set ended with a frenzy of feedback and noise, keyboards tottering on their medical walker stands, and a satisfied Crocodile crowd.
Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkeys
Review & all photos by Marianne Spellman