by Brad Roberts
Last week included shows of great historical interest with Swervedriver and Gateway Drugs satiating a sold out crowd at The Roxy on Thursday night. It was fun to go back to The Roxy, where I haven't been in quite a while. But I will say, as much as I enjoyed the evening, there was a bit of overkill in the arena-like sound that moshed all the low end into a distorted drone that all but obliterated the vocals on most of the songs and allowed little opportunity for subtlety. Still the energy and precision that went into the Gateway Drugs set was inspiring as this young band already have considerable stage presence, led by Liv Niles cool reserve, that is matched by the confident songwriting skills they display. I'm glad their album has already burned its way into my brain so I could mentally fill in what was missing in the vocals. And both Magick Spells and the Swervedriver album, I Wasn't Born To Lose You, rely on stunning vocal harmonies, only some of which I got to hear that night. Swervedriver fed a hungry audience with a superb mix of old and new material which fits together, matching the maturity of their new material with the raw ferocity of their early work. In spite of my bitching about the sound, I did enjoy myself and the energy level from both bands and the audience was intoxicating.
Folk legend Judy Collins on Friday at The Saban Theatre was a trip down a time tunnel as she sang and spoke her way through a sort of musical biography which provided a lot of back story to her history from the mid-sixties folk movement in New York City to the Laurel Canyon hippies in the late sixties thru the seventies. Her voice is in fine form and she proved engaging and well worth her reputation performing a beautifully programmed selection of songs.
There are a few buried gems in this week's line up including an EP Release Show with Light FM (above) pushing their latest recordings at EL Cid on Saturday night. Seasons continuing a successful run at Harvard & Stone every Tuesday, L.A. River Bend at Silver Lake Lounge on Wednesday.