Symbol Six, Rikk Agnew, Barrio Tiger, A Pretty Mess
5 Star Bar, Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, June 7, 2013
I was lucky enough to be invited to the Symbol Six record release show last night and had the privilege to share a table with Edward Colver. Sold a bunch of books and met some great people, but as I do this I’m still observing the room, making mental notes and taking pictures because by the end of the week the show will be reviewed for Strange Reaction.
Over the years I’ve weirded out more than a few bands, I’ll be sitting in the corner, backstage watching band members fight over drink tickets. When they ask why I’m sitting there, I tell them, “This is where the action is.”
Well, last night as I’m manning the table I had two funny incidents worth mentioning, first, I had a guitarist come up to the table and pick up one of the Last One To Die postcards that I had left over from 2011 and says “Oh my god, you know Mike Essington?”
I said, “Yeah.”
He said, “A couple of years ago on a tour, Rikk Agnew said this was the greatest book.”
I said, “Yeah, he’s probably right.”
He said, “I want to buy one, is he around to sign this.”
I said, “Yeah, I’m here.” He shook his head and tried not to be so enthused.
The second incident was with a young twenty-something-year-old, who was three sheets to the wind. He wanted to buy something, either he was short on funds or didn’t want to attempt to count, so he decided to buy a copy of a magazine one of my books was reviewed in. I brought three different magazines. Instead of just picking one up, he did this “Eenie Meenie Mine Moe” thing that lasted about five minutes. I watched the whole time as he pointed to one magazine, then the next and then the next. It was entertaining. For all his effort I gave him two magazines for the price of one.
The show itself was an insane line-up put on by Symbol Six to celebrate their new release, Dirtyland on Jailhouse Records. The show was a combination of record release party and book signing party.
Based what I saw on Saturday night and previous experiences, Christian Death fans are a group unto themselves.
About four years ago I was doing flyers and event pages for Rikk Agnew and one of his fans from his Christian Death work texts me and asks if he could bring Rozz. I didn’t immediately get what he was talking about, so I said, “Yeah, bring whoever you want,” because I didn’t really care who he brought.
Then he texts back, “I bring Rozz everywhere with me in spirit, but only special events do I bring his physical being.”
Now I’m getting weirded out, “What the hell are we talking about?”
“I own Rozz’ ashes.”
“Doesn’t everyone want to own them?”
“Um, yeah, sure. Bring the ashes.”
“Want to know how I got them?”
Then on Saturday, June 7, 2014, (the day of the show) as I was sharing a signing table with Edward Colver (previously mentioned) he was approached by three Christian Death fans that were eager to have him sign a few copies of their Record Store Day copies of the Christian Death single. They place their clear plastic purse on top of my books, then spilled beer on my flyers and spent about a half an hour interrupting as he was signing for other people. Once he signed their singles they sat at the bar and batted their eyes at me for the next forty-five minutes.
Being the “Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky” that I am, I smiled and said to myself, “Please leave.”
The first band of the night was A Pretty Mess. There are so many bands nowadays that want to bring back the early 80’s punk vibe, and in all honesty, almost none of them deliver. A Pretty Mess is one of the few that has that raw danger to them. They aren’t a retro 80’s punk band, but they have that edge to them that the early L.A. punk bands did. Dee Skusting is the ultimate front person, whether she’s belting out vocals that could make paint peel and coffee nervous, she controls the stage. At one point the brought Mr. Rikk Agnew onstage to play with them. Awesome set.
The second band of the night was Barrio Tiger. Somehow over the years I’ve always missed these guys. Well, they were worth the wait. Really good band. I look forward to seeing them again
The third band of the night was the always great Rikk Agnew Band. Rikk has always had this amazing ability to drop in on a band, and sprinkle his magic guitar dust on them and allow them to make the one great album of their career, and then he’s off to the next project that grabs his interest. Adolescents, Christian Death, and D.I., did any of them put out anything great after Rikk? I didn’t think so.
Rikk does his regular set with songs like No Way and Your 2 Late, and then they pause and bring out singer Gitane Demone. (Former singer of Christian Death) and perform I Can’t Change The World.
Watching Rikk play is awesome in itself, he has this style of fingering the fret board that’s really cool. He’ll be holding the strings, then he will flip his hand over the top, as if to finger-tap, but he doesn’t. He’s merely holding the strings, and playing the chords a different way. It’s so fast, and effortless, good stuff.
Now, the last band of the night, the band that has stripped James Brown of the title of “Hardest Working Man (Men) in Show Business,” Symbol Six. They are one of the very few bands that played back in the eighties that seem to have more young fans than the older throwback crowd.
Symbol Six with some kind of eerie musical introduction that made Edward Colver turn to me and say, “This doesn’t sound like Symbol Six.”
And then faster that you can turn from the Spice channel to Desperate Housewives when your wife walks in the room, Symbol Six steamrolls into their modern off of Dirtyland. And again everybody is singing along, and pumping their fists, but this time, it’s everybody who is about ten years younger than me (that is if I was 35, it’s my story . . . I could be 35).
Much like all Symbol Six shows, as soon as they hit the stage the front row fills up with photographers, and people with video cameras.
If you have a chance to see any of these bands, go. You won’t have a chance to sit down, nor will you want to. All in all, a great show. The PA was good, clear view of the bands, and I had fun. My overall assessment, this one is for the record books!
Misconceptions of Hell is available now: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb