Hammer Museum Live Band Series Kicks Off

While our SNARK-O-TRON 2000 is out for repairs, our friend Shannon submits this dispatch on the first of the Hammer Museum’s free live music Thursday nights. Sadly, she keeps it clean and makes no plays on local band VAGENIUS’ name. We regret the error and promise to make due mockery of it asap.Degas’ ’Three Dancers In Yellow’ take a break from dancing to Vagenius at the Hammer.


Thursday night “Also I Like to Rock” at the Hammer Museum, 14 July 2005

Beneath a blanket of stars (though threadbare in the middle of well-lit Los Angeles) and tall buildings, the Hammer Museum offered its courtyard to music fans throughout the city last Thursday night. The museum’s “Also I Like to Rock” series of free live music shows by bands from Los Angeles and San Francisco began with a trio of female-fronted bands and a visual flip through Amoeba Music’s used rock vinyl bins. Ryan Junell’s quick flashes of album covers ran roughly alphabetically, accompanied by sounds from hair bands past. They kept the substantial crowd company between sets, but stayed with the night’s focus on liking to, well, rock.

Monsters Are Waiting, clad almost entirely in white, began the live portion of the night’s entertainment. Monsters may be waiting for their next show, and if you’re into gimmicky “indie rock” cool and occasional Interpol imitations, you might want to be too. Space Mtn (yeah, abbreviated and with no punctuation because they’re cool like that) came on next and, despite some promising tunesmithery, proved that inane lyrics really don’t help the cause. Not even in space. They did, however, chide the audience into standing before the stage rather than sitting in chairs and mulling around the bar area. Many seemed to stay near the stage and commenced dancing when the final band of the evening, synth rockers Vagenius, began their set. At one point, Juliette Commagere, the band’s frontwoman, noted, “This is crazy. Can you believe we’re in Westwood?,” an apt comment from a trio looking a lot like escapees from a Toluca Lake film set or an American Apparel ad but who probably rarely veer too far from Silverlake. While not entirely sonically compelling, the night was a nice way for Angelinos on the westside to experience live music under the stars, free of charge. Kudos to the Hammer for the opportunity. The museum gives us two more chances to be surprised by local acts: July 21st and 28th. In addition to the performances, the galleries stay open until 9:00 p.m. (check out Fiona Tan’s “Correction”) and the cash bar offers beer, wine, and spirits. See http://www.hammer.ucla.edu/programs/42/ for details.