Local H (w/ Left Brain Heart) 06/18/10

BriXton South Bay – Redondo Beach, CA

Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com

When it comes to Local H, I suppose I am only allowed to see them perform live in the South Bay.  In the mid-1990’s, I saw the band perform at both Kamp KOME radio festivals just north of San Jose, CA.  Some 13 years later, I found myself this past Friday night making my first trip to the SoCal South Bay community of Redondo Beach, where Local H were stopping on their 6 Angry Records tour.  Inspired by a Jay Porks review a few weeks back, I figured it was time to catch up with a band I basically lost touch with around the turn of the century.  Armed with a yahoo map, I headed solo down PCH to an unknown venue called BriXton South Bay hoping the small club experience would obliterate the memories of the band playing on a sunny afternoon inside a giant amphitheatre.

Once the shock of discovering that the club was located inside the Redondo Beach Pier wore off, I headed inside and plopped down onto a bar stool.  I quickly discovered a few things. Sure, I may have no signal or service for my AT&T phone, but at least the club provided free WiFi.  With a drink in hand, I surely didn’t stay on my bar stool very long.  Taking the stage as main support was a Chicago Illinois band called Left Brain Heart.  I am of the age where I have seen enough dull opening acts that it takes a lot to get me off my tush and into your set.  By the time Left Brain Heart were wrapping their second song, I was not only vertical but one of the few standing on the very open floor.  The five piece group manages to do it all while always sounding consistent.  One moment your thinking they are a post-hardcore Queens of the Stone Age, only to have them pegged as My Bloody Moody Blues Valentine a few minutes later. The group had one original song that truly stood out because it was so familiar.  It was reminiscent of Green Day’s “Hitchin’ A Ride” that crept into a slowed down version of Social Distortion’s “Sick Boy” only to speed back into the Green Day chord structure.  Despite the similar vibes, the song was uniquely Left Brain Heart.

(Note, I once had video of Left Brain Heart. As I went to re-upload all files lost when YouTube had my account deleted in June of 2011, for whatever reason it is missing. Fingers crossed it turns up somewhere as I continue uploading my videos from 2010)

When not joking about recent championship victories of the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Lakers; the band was tearing up songs like “Going” and “Wonderland.”  The band closed their set with “Mississippi Nights” – a song about vocalists Justin Slazinik’s St. Louis roots.  Fearful of the clubs two large bouncers busting me for video-taping, I only managed to record the last minute of the song.  Not to worry, though; I intend to see these guys on a future trip to Southern California.

The concept is simple.  Six records written down on scraps of paper are thrown into a hat.  One fan reaches into the hat and the album picked is played front to back.  The crowd went nuts when Local H main mastermind – Guitarist/Vocalist Scott Lucas graced us with his presence, cowboy hat in hand.  After joking that the beach town was more foul than Detroit, he allowed a female audience member to reach deep into his hat and choose our fate.  The pick was 1998’s “Pack Up The Cats”,  a record I suddenly regret passing along to a friend 10+ years ago.

Only being familiar with half of the albums found in the hat, I was stoked to get a record I was familiar with.  Wasting no time, Lucas grabbed his guitar and kicked the set off with the albums scream-a-licious opening track “All-Right (Oh, Yeah).”  While  song two, “‘Cha!‘ Said the Kitty”, was a rip-rocking good time,  my first personal highlight was “Lucky.”  It may only be forty-eight seconds on the album, but I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for those kinds of numbers.  While this adaptation was a bit longer than the album version, it was fun and flowed nicely into “Hit the Skids or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rock.” The crowd reacted favorably to the entire record, but really seemed to go crazy for the cow bell introduction of “Cool Magnet.”  A few moments later, “She Hates My Job” became a chaotic crowd sing along.

I am still trying to figure out what the hell happened during the albums most recognizable number — “The Kids Are Right.”  Feeling shoving from behind, I looked back assuming a mosh pit had broken out.  Unfortunately, the pit consisted of one fatty in a Toadies shirt, and he seemed to only be moshing with me.  Apparently my request to stop in his mind was an invite to not only shove me, but finger my brown eye.  Now anally violated, my next warning was not so kind and I grabbed him by the shirt and told him to cut the crap.  Watching his abundant chest ripple and flop as he charged at me, I was preparing to defend myself.  Before I had a chance to exterminate this drunk pest, he was being dragged out of the venue by one of the brute bouncers.  With various audience members cheering, the guard removed the turd from the punch bowl as I turned around and enjoyed the final few songs.

Once the album came to a close, the band (who had been joined all night by various members of Left Brain Heart) spent the next hour playing non Pack Up The Cats material.  A real angry version of “24 Hour Break-Up Session” kicked things off right.  Two songs from the bands biggest album As Good As Dead quickly followed.  “Fritz’s Corner” took me back to cruising around the Bay Area’s South Bay, rocking out to KOME on Friday nights.  With a huge wall of feedback, “High Fiving MF” got the crowd jumping around to the thunderous guitar riffs.  I found myself missing my buxomed drunk in the Toadies shirt during this number.  After all, it is a song about assholes in the pit.

We all knew what was next once Lucas announced into his mic that this would be the last time on this tour the ban would play a certain song in our great state.  Sure it may bash the transplants who ruin my home state, but the crowds loudest sing along was during “California Songs.”  Local H — I am with you guys on this one; we don’t need anymore songs about the city of Los Angeles, especially by the once-great Weezer.  Speaking of California bands, Local H found time for a choice cover of the Agent Orange classic “Bloodstains.” Lucas dedicated the cover to Agent Orange who frequent BriXton South Bay.

Once the anti-California-dreamin’ song wrapped, two more tracks from As Good As Dead ended the night.  The highlight of the night was the bands’ biggest hit, “Bound For The Floor”, although not for obvious reasons.  Having flirted with the gentleman to my right all night, Lucas brought the audience member on stage because he wanted to display his Chicago T-shirt.  With drummer Brian St. Clair not missing a beat, the band launched right into the Chicago classic “25 or 6 to 4.”  Gone were the signature horns; in their place, twisted feedback laced distorted chords and a huge smile on one lucky fan’s face.  The cover eventually found it’s way back to the original number, only proving how tight these two musicians are together.

The show ended with one of my all time favorite Local H songs, “Manifest Destiny Pt. 2.”  We all know Scott Lucas uses a bass pickup with his guitar, but what makes this song work is the slow, deep bass line with random guitar squeals thrown over for good measure.  With more help from their friends in Left Brain Heart, the band rocked Redondo Beach one final time. Throughout the number, Lucas jumped from the stage and played the solo surrounded by the crowd.  His return to the stage was short as the heart and soul of the band left his guitar on top of his amp, looping feedback as he walked to the merch booth.  The crowd that didn’t follow Scott went nuts. I, on the other hand, made a promise to myself.  South Bay, North Bay or no bay at all, I won’t wait 13 years for my fourth Local H show.

A direct descendant of the outlaw Jesse James and star of a 1983 Kilpatricks Bread radio commercial, Reverend Justito has taken his gift of ADHD and put it to good use by creating one of a kind concert reviews. A bootlegger at heart, the man lives off Whiskey, Taco Bell and the love of San Francisco sports teams.
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