Wednesday, May 09, 2012

OFF! The Hook

The Whiskey A-Go-Go, Hollywood, California
May 8, 2012

For the 3rd time in 3 weeks I found myself getting off a plane is La-La Land.

8:05pm: I was in a taxi on the way to my hotel when I found out that OFF! were playing at The Whiskey. My hotel was only 2 blocks from The Whiskey! I went online as soon as I got to my room but the show was SOLD OUT and one of the hottest tickets in L.A. this week. Bummer... So I ordered room service and prepared to lay low for the night since I had to get up early for work the next morning.

9:41pm: I found out my friend was at the show. I also found out this friend had an extra ticket.

10:17pm: I was out in front of The Whiskey meeting my friend.

11:00pm: OFF! started their set.

11:35pm: OFF! were done.

12:15am: I was brushing my teeth back in my hotel room.


The Rock Godz work in awesome, mysterious ways sometimes, right?! This was the record release show for the 1st full length album by OFF!... and it was a ridiculously perfect show to be my first show ever at the legendary Whiskey. For the newbies: The Whiskey was one of the key venues for the original L.A. Punk scene... before Hair Metal took over the Sunset Strip in the 80's.

OFF! has been one of my favorite new bands since they emerged in 2010 because they include members of some of my all-time favorite bands. Keith Morris needs no introduction of course (Black Flag, the Circle Jerks). I loved Burning Brides, which featured Dimitri on guitar. Mario played drums with Umlaut faves Black Heart Procession, Hot Snakes, and Rocket From The Crypt. Finally, Steve plays bass in one of my absolute all-time, fanboy fanatical bands, like, ever: Redd Kross. So, when the term "super group" is used about OFF! I have absolutely no problem with it.

The celebration began with 'Panic Attack' into 'I Don't Belong' and Keith seemed downright emotional about OFF! having their record release show at The Whiskey. In between songs he told entertaining stories from the old L.A. Punk days that put the evening, the event, and the band into profound context. I felt so fortunate to be at this special show! Keith's story before the song 'J.L. Pierce' about hanging out with his late great friend Jeffrey Lee Pierce around The Whiskey back in The Day was especially poignant.

Twenty songs (I think 7 from the new album)... 35 minutes... The set closed with a raucous version of the OFF! anthem 'Upside Down'.. Thankyougoodnight! Perfect. The only downside was anyone who stagedived was immediately grabbed by club security and ejected; I counted 3 offenders who were escorted out. L-A-M-E.

Quote of the night: "You’re going to love Iron Maiden when you see them!” – Random guy behind me to his friend.

THANKS to Mr. Kurt Soto for hooking me up! SK8 or Die, dude.

If you bought one of every OFF! merch item you would have paid around $140, but they gave out a free event poster after the show. PUNK! On the way back to the hotel, some pimply-faced Punks called me a fag. The next morning I was walking down Sunset Boulevard after getting coffee. There was a guy walking his dog in front of me and I noticed he was wearing an Iron Maiden - Maiden Japan t-shirt. I caught up with him as we waited for a light to change and I said "Cool shirt.." which led to us chatting for the next block of my walk, which led to us talking about our respective jobs, which led to me finding out he works for a certain band management company, which led to a possible business opportunity. I'm a Bay Area snob, but L.A. is not without its charms.