Just returned from a long weekend abroad in balmy Los Angeles. Here are some photos from the Bastard Noise “Grandpa’s 84th Birthday” show at the Boulevard in East LA, in celebration of an octogenarian who’s been supporting the punk scene probably longer than most of us have been on the planet. It was a true fest, complete with cupcakes made by Aimee Artz, singer and soundwave goddess of Bastard Noise, though I missed the vast majority of the bands (Lack of Interest, Retox, Maggot Colony, Fetus Eaters, Terrorism) due to plotting world domination with a fellow music writer. Though it can be hard for me to wrap my metal mind around powerviolence — its abridged songs and wacky jazz-inspired jagged edges tend to throw me and my groovy stoner rock proclivities off — I wholly appreciate the rawness, lack of production, abundance of “progressive” politics, fearless creativity, and volume. Bastard Noise came out of hardcore punk’s Man is the Bastard in 1991, a side project that’s become just as insanely prolific as its mother band. Predictably, I miss the guitar, though Eric Wood’s frenetic and crafty bass playing is masterful and heavy, prompting me to forget there is no guitar about 95 percent of the time, which is no small feat, so many props to him. I have never seen those four, thick strings handled quite that way before. (Plus, I was sated by a beauteous share of the six-string sleepy slaying during Sleep’s two-hour-long set, see further below.)
And thanks to videography from tombrider666 (no, not Tom Brider…), using his expert skills to document the powerviolence underbelly since the early 90s:
As for the botanical realm, I couldn’t find much of special interest growing in the urban sprawl (understatement) that is the great beast of Los Angeles. There were tons of Agapanthus (aka “freeway lily”) being periwinkle and medusa-like, and the typical crimson-and-gold lilies shoved in concrete planter boxes, passed by quickly by the tan and boobalicious. There were muy gorgeosa Yucca whipplei (aka “our lord’s candle”) illuminating the dry chaparral hillsides between Thousand Oaks and Malibu, in all stages between flower and the dried out stalks bearing fruits with the seeds of next year’s creamy showing. This is a damn charismatic flower, the rock star-that-knows-it of this plant community. Of course, I was too shy to find a roadside pullout and get a close up photo, so this will have to do: an educational opportunity tucked in the sad, indoor melange of houseplants underneath the skylights at LAX. Check out the leaf scars on this Philodendron selloum, a common houseplant originally from southern Brazil:
Leaf scars are a part of plant anatomy that needs to be shown off more. Simply, they are the marks left where the leaves used to be, but have died and growth has moved further up the stem. You can often see “bundle scars” — as you can in this photo — which indicate the location of the water-conducting (“xylem”) and food-conducting (“phloem”) tissues. See the dot? According to my botany textbook, the size and shape of the leaf scars and the arrangement of the bundle scars are characteristic for each species and often used to ID a woody plant when it’s dormant in the winter. Huh.
Oh yeah, and the Sleep show! More sonic, stoney inundation like back in September. Always a treat, and I’m curious how long we’ll be blessed with these reunion shows (probably till the money runs out). I was excessively bummed to have missed the secret show at Eli’s in Oakland a week before, but 120-minute set at the Wiltern assuaged that seven-day tantrum.
And finally, upon returning home, it was breezy and blousy, causing me to chase my Phyte Club hat into the middle of Haight Street and snap successive photos of my easy favorites, some breezy and blousy poppies: