¬A Fanboy Paying Respects: An Ode to Dangers


Dangers

Everyone has a favorite band, or at least they should. My favorite is Dangers out of Los Angeles. Ever heard of them? Shamefully few people have. Having spent the summer in DC I spent countless nights at DIY venues listening to great DC bands that have a lot recognition in scene today, but when people back east asked me who my favorite group was and I said, “Dangers,” I was often left with a blank stare. This to me is tragic. Although LA has all its celebrity idolatry, spray tanned legs, endless rows of bumpers fuming smog, Dangers is a real Los Angeles angel.

Led by Al Brown on vocals the band has had a lot members come and go over the years but the current line up features Justin on guitar, Tim on bass, and Anthony on drums. The band is signed with Vitriol Records, run by Justin, and Secret Voice Records run by Jeremy Bolm  of Touché Amore. The group has released one demo, two EP’s, and two LP’s. Their catalog has evolved over time, at no surprise, the group is definitely not one for complacency. Blah blah, most of this stuff you can discover for yourself on their new website, they seemed to have abandoned their WordPress but I still recommend checking that out too. Check it at: http://www.wearedangers.com

We’ve covered the basics so now is time to go full fanboy. Simply put Al Brown is one of my heroes, falling in third behind my mother and Aldous Huxley. Al grew up in LA, and was discovered the punk scene after hearing Nirvana as a youngster. He then got a hold of Green Day, Bad Religion, Black Flag, Descendants, and Minor Threat. Minor Threat is undoubtedly a huge influence in Al’s early lyrics, as they have been to so many bands. Al was a presence to be remembered in the LA punk scene, as Jeremy Bolm recalled on his Secret Voice Podcast, Al was an intimidator with a tough guy attitude, however this tough guy was no meat head. After high school Al went on to attend Princeton where he finished his undergrad with a bachelor’s in English. From there he went on to attend Columbia University where he completed at masters in Creative Writing and acted as editor for the Columbia Journal. After finishing his masters Al returned to Los Angeles to attend USC, where he completed his PhD in Creative Writing and Literature. Al is currently a professor at USC which has, to my dissatisfaction, put Dangers on the slow track.

Al is an academic, a thinking animal. His provocation for his fans to be thoughtful is reason enough to listen to their music. We don’t need more people who act according to a book, for the possibilities of the human brain abound, and it is up to all of us to push this world into a brighter future. Cliché as that statement is one cannot deny the truth. Dangers’ entire catalog features calls to arms, since we are all armed with minds, but their song “We Have More Sense Than Lies” should be the national anthem for punk if there ever was one. Contrary to what I said about a call to arms the song goes, “… And this is not a call to arms. Just a hope that we might try. To use our heads and open eyes. We have more sense than lies. We have more sense than lies. And nothing changes if we don’t change ourselves.” Such a simple message but still something I am always having to remind myself of.

I don’t know if it is appropriate to review your own article but this piece is not my best work even though I wish it was. It is hard to make people see things the way you do. I cherish Dangers the way a mother would her newborn child, maybe an extreme metaphor, but what do I know? I don’t have children. Similarly to a mother I think my child is better than the rest, and I just want others to see that too. So go forth and check out Dangers, they might change your life and they more than likely won’t… I guess I’m finding solace in something Al once said, “We’d rather change the lives of six kids than be background music to the lives of six thousand.” I am thankful to be one of those six.

Whoops, I almost forgot, Dangers third LP will be coming out at some time in 2016 so be on the lookout.

by DJ Ricky Sueños (Anthony Parenzin)

Ace of Spades: Venue For Great Live Experiences


So seeing the Dirty Heads live marked my eighth time going to Ace of Spades in Sacramento, Ca. Quite honestly… I am not sick of that place at all! Each experience was great and left me with no problem coming back for more. I’ve been to a wide variety of shows over at Ace of Spades, from a small crowd to sold out, hip-hop to rock, heavy to chill, indie to punk; you get the picture. Now, three and a half years and eight shows later, I want to share why Ace of Spades will always hold a special place in my heart.

5. The Layout

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Ace of Spades is essentially set up like a large disfigured diamond. With the main stage up against the corner, they utilize the rest of the floor space for good use. Facing the stage, on the left side is a 21+ section, for people that want to sit down. I haven’t been to that section due to my 21st birthday being in November, but from what I heard, it still provides a great view for those that want to be on that side. The second 21+ section is in the back, elevated on a second story. From back there, you have a bar and an overview of the whole venue. Facing the stage, on the right hand side, there’s a bar open to all. This is for the regular drinks and even the food items. A little overpriced on the food and drink items, but then again, what venue isn’t? The floor space is very open, great for crowds to go crazy and mosh or vibe to the music and chill. In the sold out shows that I went to and didn’t partake in a mosh pit, I had enough personal  space to myself. The stage itself is big enough to accommodate large bands and groups. There’s lights up top facing the stage and lights on the stage, which make for some great light shows. This might not seem like a big deal, but the bathrooms are big, and they’re always clean (at least for the times I needed to use it). The design itself is just great, with chandeliers hanging from the ceilings and red walls, the venue is appealing to the eye.

4. The Sound

aceI’m not sure if there is an in house sound person, or if every artist had their own, but Ace of Spades has been able to provide great sound either way. With some venues i’ve been to, the voice cannot be heard over the music. That or there was too much bass (I know there are some bass enthusiasts out there, but really, too much is too much). Over at Ace of Spades, the sound has always been crisp and well balanced, no matter where I was standing. Maybe I was just lucky enough to go to all the shows with great sound, but I never had a bad experience.

3. The Artists / Acts / Names

What’s great about Ace of Spades are the artists and bands that they bring to Sacramento. Without Ace of Spades, the only big artists that would come through Sacramento while on tour would be the big stadium performers, but since there’s Ace of Spades, some pretty big names have come to hit Ace. Bands such as Two Door Cinema Club, AWOL Nation, Motion city Soundtrack, Rebelution and  many more have come through. Rappers such as Snoop Dogg, Tech N9ne, Childish Gambino, Schoolboy Q, and many more has performed at Ace also. Even big random acts came to Ace of Spades such as Backstreet Boys and The Fray. It doesn’t stop either, more bands and artists will be hitting the stage soon. Just keep up with their calendar on their website!

2. Intimacy

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I hope you guys understand the context I’m using this word for. The venue is smaller than most, with high quality and big artists. Which means, no matter where you stand in the venue, you will always be close to your favorite artist! Even if you’re farther away from the stage, you’re still closer to them if you were to see the same artist at a music festival or stadium. Even then, you get to shove your way through to the front (even though that is frowned upon) if you’re a huge fan. No paid seating, no overpriced close area, every time, it’s general admission. Think about your favorite artist up close and performing your favorite song. It’s a great feeling. And the pictures/video can turn out great!

1. The… Crowd?

This might seem like a stretch and super subjective, but the crowds have always been great, and probably will keep being great. For each show that I went to, almost the whole crowd was into the show and artist, vibing out and singing along. You still have the stragglers that just stand there and do nothing, but that’s unavoidable. If you were to go to a stadium concert, you would have a good %40 of attendees not be real fans of the artists. Some would go, just to go. They would attend since it’s such a big event and they can put it all over social media.  Which means that some people have the nerve to be on their phone most of the time because they don’t really care of the live music going on in front of them. That or you’re a parent of a fan girl and/or boy. This may also be the case of attending a large music festival. You may be seeing your favorite artist live while you’re far away near people who don’t even know who is on stage. Why have all of that, when you can be close to the artist and be surrounded by fans who love them just as much as you do. It’s a great feeling, and Ace of Spades provides just that. Due to it being a smaller venue, the crowd who usually buys the tickets and sell out the show, are huge fans. At least, that’s how it was for me all the times I’ve gone..

So bottom line, if you’re near Sacramento, go to a show at Ace of Spades! If you live in Sacramento and haven’t gone yet, then well, shame on you. If Ace of Spades ever announces a new show you really would want to go to, do not hesitate and buy the tickets right away!

 

Jerel is a DJ with KSSU he plays the music and stuff.

X is not just a bandwidth. . .It’s a band! by


1-x-los-angeles-1981

In 2004, when I was feeling a little down and confined mostly to my studio apartment due to a broken foot, a friend of mine and a fellow lover of live shows (in small venues) made me a CD mix to keep me entertained. On this cd were songs by some of my favorite artists, Rufus Wainwright, Rocket from the Crypt, and The Waterboys to name a few, but there was one song by a band I had never heard before, X, called “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts.”

I came to learn that in San Diego where I lived at the time, that this indie rock band, formed in 1977 (and still touring today), had quite a cult following and played live around town from time to time even in the late 90s and early 2000s. I also loved their sound! With John Doe on vocals and bass and Exene Cervenka harmonizing with him at the helm; their music is a power play which often begins with subtle vocal interchanges which crescendo into a fever pitch that really rocks you (and makes you think). I’m a big fan of poetic lyrics and always want to decipher meaning in songs. . .and X delivers. In the song “White Girl” we are told a story that makes a bold dystopian statement about the nature of modern relationships supported by some really innovative and ripping chord changes by guitarist Billy Zoom. The fact that the drummer’s name is DJ bonebreak sums it up! The song “We’re Desperate” from the album Wild Gift, will take you on a rollicking rockabilly ride! If you listen to their song “Johnny Hit and Run Pauline,” I recommend a live version which will take you on a similar journey with some heavy base that seems to rock you from the inside. These songs are still just scratching the surface of their anthology and to be honest I haven’t even heard half of it yet, although I did get a chance to see them live at the Casbah in San Diego. (I think this was in either 2005 or 2006, so far back I’m not sure which!)

The night we saw them at the Casbah I left right after the show, and as it turned out I missed out on a chance to hang out with John Doe himself. A couple of my friends, chatting him up after the show, invited him to hang out in Little Italy, and he accepted! Turns out he is a really personable and down to earth guy. I have learned that he is also a character actor in L.A., and as a matter of fact plays the bartender in the Patrick Swayze film Roadhouse, a cult classic about a righteous team of bouncers in a rock-and-roll bar. It’s a pretty funny character, and a good movie; if you get a chance check it out.

When you love a great band it should take you on a path of discovery, and X has done this for me. I’m still discovering them and finding new tracks that I like whenever I give them a listen. One thing I have learned over the years is that some bands are timeless and relevant decade after decade, and X pulls this off beautifully. They came through Northern California this past July and I missed my chance to see them in Grass Valley. . .I’m not sure if they will be coming back any time soon, but they are on an extensive national tour as we speak. They will be headlining with The Buzzcocks and Los Lobos at the BANG! Festival in Orange County this September 20th, which features gourmet food, a record swap and something called “Exene’s Vintage Clothing Swap.” I hope some of my lucky Southern California friends will be able to attend!

x credit Frank Gargani (2)

Hello, i’m Maria Medina (vitamindeejay) a dj with Sacramento States only student run radio KSSU

The Acacia Strain: New Album and Upcoming Tour


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My current favorite death metal band, formed in 2001 and hailing from Chicopee, Massachusetts is The Acacia Strain. They have a real primal feel, great for when you want to listen to something very loud and very angry, their music is somewhat similar to Six Feet Under. If this is your first time hearing of them I’d suggest starting off with their album Wormwood, and the song Beast in particular was what got me hooked on them. It’s rare that I’m disappointed in how loud my stereo get’s, honestly it really never happens except when I play this band. Maybe I should get a new one that goes to “11.”

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Second Time around


For the second time in a 5 month span I was able to go see Zappa Plays Zappa at the Crest Theater in Sacramento. For those unfamiliar with the Band, it is a tribute band of sorts that plays the music of famed guitarist and rock hero Frank Zappa, who died of cancer in 1993 of cancer. The leader of the band is Zappa’s son Dweezil. Dweezil spent over three years to learn the catalog of his father’s vast collection and has done a great job to master it. Dweezil Zappa opened the catalog of his father and put on a great show. The venue itself was very unique and gave a great sound to the show. The Crest theater has stadium like seating and is older and gave a great surround sound feel. This show was vastly different from the show I had seen in San Francisco when the band was an opening act. The first act of the show was a short half hour set of mostly lesser known songs from the 1960’s. The second set was much longer and was absolutely rocking. The second set featured a more diverse sound. Some blues songs, mixed in with some jazz and then a quick turn into a solo on a kazoo. [Read more…]