I didn’t attend the first version last year of the Part Time Punks festival, growing out of the regular club night that’s been running for some time up in LA. However, the prospect of seeing a slew of bands and performers I’ve at least enjoyed and at most completely loved all in one place was pretty amazing, especially given a headlining slot by the Raincoats (whose Ana da Silva is in the shot above — I’m extremely pleased with that!) — and the only disappointment of the night was the fact that For Against didn’t make it out, alas.
So as with my On Land post, what follows are links and images from my photo set for the festival combined with edited versions of my comments from Twitter that I made throughout the evening. But it can’t cover the entirety of what was a really enjoyable day out — saw many, many friends there, plus finally met any number of people for the first time after talking to them for years online, and if I starting naming them all I might never stop. Lots of catching up, comparing notes and kind words — and as I said on Twitter at one point, “I can’t believe how many times I’ve been asked “Hey are you Ned Raggett?” tonight.” Fame, fame, fatal fame…
Meantime, I should take this moment to note another absence — he was supposed to be one of the DJs on the day, but sadly earlier in the weekend Brendan Mullen suffered a massive stroke and passed on at the age of 60. His role in punk-era LA, as the obituary notes, was monumental, and his own self-assessment — “I never claimed to have ‘started punk in L.A.,’….I’d prefer [his legendary club] the Masque epitaph to be ‘Where the SoCal scene originally came together’” — strikes me as sound. Part Time Punks as a conscious upholder of a certain spirit of the time Mullen was central to — reflected in things like the many younger bands who were playing, in Kid Congo Powers’ ripping through the Gun Club’s “Sex Beat,” in Savage Republic’s volcanic power — makes his passing all the more saddening. RIP and rest well.
The Intelligence — “…Kinda like Brainaic meets the Urinals a touch, poppy herkyjerk stuff that’s both loud and kinda tuneful. Another nice touch by these folks — a song with drums that makes me think of RFTC’s “On a Rope.”"
Weave — “… I don’t know WHAT to think. Very…stylized. Minimal Bow Wow Wow/Au Pairs/Raincoats with Frankie/Hayzi/Age of Chance design? Huh. I’m not objecting per se but the effect is a little odd….Weave would I think make a perfect new wave art band in any random movie from 1982 to 1986. It may well be the goal.”
Savage Republic — “…It’s a bit strange to say they have a polished aggression now but that’s sometimes the feel, angry, sharp. Yet that said the ragged, sprawling edges never disappear, that desert/surf/industrial bite….And fully into oil drum/growling bass mayhem. Kind of a cover all bases show here from them!….JEEZ all of a sudden it’s utter epic surge and sprawl. I kinda came in with understated expectations just because I thought they wouldn’t surprise me but set of the festival so far….And finishing out with their cover of Alternative TV’s “Viva La Rock and Roll.” Sharp.”
Medium Medium — “…A few skronks and noises and the wah wah kicks in and we’re off….VERY impressive so far, a Bryan Ferry elegantly wasted fronting a pretty fierce, percussion heavy bunch. Surprise of the night for me, having really only known the name all this time. Now covering Pylon in tribute to Randy of said band, now sadly deceased. Great take, these guys are just plain on….Lead feller’s occasional sax work adds a scrawling but at times serene edge….Now a good bit of glam rumble with some crazy sax — nice! Need to cut out here but a fine spot to end on.”
Kid Congo Powers — “…his band takes the stage in capes. Of course. And the man himself stealthily emerges and grabs his guitar….Amazing stuff, gonzo sleaze preening in outfits that Urge Overkill could never have pulled off….So if Weave were the new wave movie band, Kid Congo and company are the psych/biker movie band. Loud, trashy, loving it, arch and dressed to the nines….Also, dude is a perfect raconteur with his song intros so far. Thee consummate showman. On his theremin problems: “It’s flaccid, not acid!” With the appropriate leer of course….And holy shit from that into a barnburning version of “Sex Beat.”"
Section 25 — “…And everyone but Larry onstage now….And now he’s on and looking suitably glowering. This should be interesting….You get a feeling watching these guys that they think Mark E Smith is far too polite and kind to people. It’s not that Larry and Vin and all are trashing the audience, just that this is a very focused, intense performance, feeling like Gang of Four fronted by someone who will take zilch shit — ever….But that in turn makes a more yearning moment like now that much more fragile, Larry singing with a heart he keeps VERY closely guarded over an intense throbbing crunch led by Vin. Fierce, intense, enthralling….Been some excellent drummers this fest but Vin might take it here — almost tactile in all the detail….Okay so I didn’t expect a cover of Joy Division’s “Warsaw!” But they’re making it theirs.”
The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy — “…Ah this is such a joy. I always underrate the Jazz Butcher but Mr Fish and company are playing the kind of witty, immediate pop rock understatement that just IS. “Southern Mark Smith” now being played….Max Eider is looking suitably not there behind his shades, Kevin Haskins is as ever consummately himself, suit and tie and apparently ageless and playing with all skill to the fore….Okay Pat’s realization that Betty Boop cartoons were playing behind him was priceless….Meanwhile the contrast between Pat being all having fun and Max just standing there playing away without cracking a smile or changing his expression is kinda amazing. Especially with upbeat music!….And we’re off into “Partytime!” So one of the greatest songs ever….Okay David J has just announced: “Old geezers rocking out!” Okay Max has been smiling a lot more as the set goes on. Of course!….Currently doing a full on romp through “Caroline Wheeler’s Birthday Present.” Giving thank yous and into the last song — have missed the start of the Raincoats but no regrets!”
The Raincoats — “….I walk in on the Raincoats tearing it up. Could one ask for more? I feel talked out at this point. Suffice to say that the Raincoats are ruling and you wish you were here….Band banter, individual introductions, lots of cheers and good humor! And ear wax!….”…why the hell would I NOT BE! *crunch* I’M A CITY GIRL!”….The fracturing and incorporation of different forms feels all the much more immediate live. “No One’s Little Girl” hitting with the impact of a hurricane….Viv Albertine now joins the Raincoats! Couple of false starts — as Gina says, “Fire the bass player!” IE herself. And into “Lola!”….And wrapping up with a romp through “Fairytale in the Supermarket”"