Notes: Beach Slang @ Troubadour, May 5, 2016
By rights, I should not be into Beach Slang, and not be here for their packed Troubadour show tonight. I’m too old, not a hardcore scene elder, don’t skate, not all that angst ridden (more into existential despair these days) and not a particularly huge Replacements fan. And yet, suckered in by their excellent 26-minute debut record, its energy, its cover art, and admittedly superficially, the cool style of James Alex, I came out for the gig, and here I am, feeling it. Maybe not quite fist pumping and shouting along as some dudes are – yeah, it’s predominantly dudes, pockets of dudettes sprinkled in – but the quick launches into songs, the thick guitars and hard hitting drums, the emphatic start/stops in the songs, basically outright pleas to be heard and loved are working for me, hitting me in primal places. There’s a soupçon of The Smiths in James’s alternately funny and pained lyrics and stylish band art. I halfway thought his Mozness himself might pop in, to check out some acolytes, as he has been wont to do, and known to be in the area recently hitting gigs by Rancid and The Damned. (Alas, Morrissey was a no show but was spotted in Pavilions up the block earlier in the day.) Their main set is fine – fun, loud, alternating tight and a bit loose in places, energy peaking here and there. It’s announced the show is being recorded for a live album, which perks up all the L.A. smartasses to start shouting out stuff to make it onto the record. There’s a Jawbreaker cover with the Jawbreaker dude playing drums (I learn this later, again not being a hardcore fan) and this has some meaning to many in the room. There are requisite covers of the ‘Mats. Then the show of course goes off the rails, as it must, in the encore. It’s dragged out and grows a little annoying, but then I’m not the target market. It’s exactly this sort of DIY do-as-we-please thing that helps endear them to their core audience, so I’ll give them some leash as they dick around. Honestly, they just seem like they want to hang out with us before cramming back into the van, 3,000 miles from home as James points out. There is a perfectly tight 45-minute set in them. It’s not about maturity or professionalism or any of those overrated things. It’s just about trimming the fat, going lean and mean, like, say, their 26-minute record. I suspect they will find this next gear eventually and their core audience will stick with them, maybe even more new fans will hop on board for the ride.
Beach Slang | beachslang.com