HOW THE WEST IS FUN: Studies have shown that the West Coast is the best coast. What other state in our union has been so emblematized in style, so immortalized in song? Until the San Andreas faults us for loving too much, we’ll keep it rocking. In the next few days, many acts arrive in town to remind us why California love has so endured.
First on the roster is the Thursday, July 9, Velvet Jones show by punk super group The Adolescents, founded way back in 1980 in Fullerton with members from Social Distortion and Agent Orange before breaking up and reuniting countless times since. Before pop punk came along and squeaky-cleaned the name of punk, The Adolescents were breathing musical hellfire with growling vocals and ripping guitar, influencing acts for decades to come. It’s raw, raucous stuff. In the words of one YouTube commenter on their debut: “This album makes me want to beat up my neighbor.”
They will be joined by The Weirdos, who have also reunited multiple times since their founding in the first-wave days of the Ramones and the New York Dolls. They put their own L.A. spin on punk and were certainly weirdos within their realm, dressing up in outlandish costumes and making jokes of the whole thing. In their kooky eccentricities and fun-loving flippancy, they were purely punk. Thursday’s gig will see these two bands of adolescents punking it up like olden times, decades be damned. What’s my age again? Well, what’s age but a number, anyways?
Also at Velvet Jones, Cali Agents, the duo of Rasco and Planet Asia, will play Friday, July 10, with Durag Dynasty, The Replacement Killers, Lyric Jones, and DJ True Justice. Cali Agents welcomed the millennium with their unexpected hit “The Good Life,” from their debut album How the West Was One, which still stands as one of underground hip-hop’s better-selling independent albums. Now they’re back to celebrate their album’s 15-year anniversary, with its beautifully restrained beats of twinkling piano and violin samples.
Traveling even further back in our musical time machine, we land in Woodstock ’69 to the Americana sounds of Los Angeles blues-rock band Canned Heat, who play at SOhO on Friday, July 10. With classic members Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra, Harvey “The Snake” Mandel, and Larry “The Mole” Taylor still onboard, this band is one of the very few to survive alongside our nation’s undying nostalgia for their era, though the group had some tragic casualties along the way. As enduring as the stars and stripes themselves, Canned Heat is back on the road again to continue burning the fire it helped set half a century ago.
Closing out the weekend comes some music from our very own 805, among the most lovable of California counties. Noisy young bloods The Trashberries and psychedelic post-punk group The Internet will fire up the Funzone with Media Jewelers, out of Irvine. Considering that July 12 is apparently National Simplicity Day, can you think of a simpler route to fun on a Sunday night than some rocking in the batting cages?
On Monday we land in the 808 State, when SOhO will welcome ambassadors from that most tropical of places: The Rough Riders featuring Hawaiian music icons John Cruz, Brother Noland, and Henry Kapono. All award-winning legends in their own right, with multiple Grammys and Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards between them, the three have teamed up to spread the good word of Hawai’i. Fans of Jack Johnson, take note: Cruz is a constant stage partner and friend to the surf-folk god, and Johnson fans will likely love The Rough Riders’ music. Charitable young stalwart and Santa Barbara native Jason Paras will open.