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The masked marauder of the six-string once again demonstrated why he is the most amazing metal guitarist in the world. Saddled with the mediocre sound mix that The Palace affords everyone except headliners, Buckethead still astounded fans of rip-snortin’ rhythmic mayhem and generated a performance that had some audience members shouting “Buckethead is God.” It was a magnificent and too short set. Sure, other guitarists have converted power chords into melodies, and some have created beauty from dissonance, but no one does it with as much style and musical substance as Buckethead. When he rids himself of his staggeringly bad vocalist and teams up with Axl Rose next year, feathers should really fly.

AT THE GIG / H’wood

Delivering pop that rocks with a wink and a smile, The Tories can send your heartbeat into triple digits. Steve Bertrand on lead vocals offers tons of bounce to the ounce, and his rhythm guitar work is superb. With J.J. Farris providing lead guitar work that is simply excellent, and a killer rhythm section that works hard while making it look easy, the quartet offers you a guaranteed great time. And besides, who else could do a song about the nosy neighbor on “Bewitched” and still make it groove?

Excitement, energy, anger and beautiful cascades of explosive tunes - System of a Down is all that and more. Rocking a packed Palace, SOAD zoomed and crunched convincingly in a benefit concert for a cause that is dear to their hearts. The show, a KROQ presentation, was entitled “Souls: A Benefit for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide to Stop Crimes Against Humanity” (for info: or Such is the dynamic nature of the band that the audience was in a perpetual frenzy. Rabid fans tumbled over the barricades and into the photographer’s alley with a mixture of stupidity and elation. SOAD is an amalgamation of beauty, heat, danger and beat.


The Los Angeles Music Awards is now into the home stretch leading to the gala November 21st show at the Beverly Hilton. Celebrities already confirmed for the show include Ozzy Osbourne, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Henry Rollins, Ice Cube, Kari Wuhrer, and Steve Lukather (the man Eddie Van Halen calls the world’s greatest guitarist). Sponsors and press involved with the event include Sam Ash, Yamaha, Rolling Stone, Spin magazine, NoHo/LA magazine, Immedia Wire Service, Rock City News and Music Connection.

You may feel you know what to expect when you see a teenage blues guitarist, but with James Bullard, you would be mistaken. Sure, he can play with flash and grit, but always in such a way as to propel the song. And what great songs! Each number takes a classic blues structure and builds upon it for a consistently exciting hour. In his debut at The Gig in Hollywood, Bullard revealed himself to be a possible star in the making.

One of the most acclaimed producers (U2, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson, Emmylou Harris), Daniel Lanois joined two members of Beck’s band in a set at The Cat Club. It was a trip to other places and other times as Lanois played a rainbow of sounds on his Les Paul and presented tunes that seemed to blend alt-rock with French folk songs and cajun rhythms. The effect was often astonishing and always a groove.

As you know if you read this column, we have an approach to music coverage that is different from other writer-photojournalist teams. We go to each show looking for what’s good and exciting; we let the music take precedence over personality; and we don’t run items that tear down performers. This has resulted in unprecedented acceptance from artists, as can be seen by the number of Immedia reviews and photos that are now posted on artist sites.

A few examples follow.

Chris Pierce:
Tom Chaffee:
Christine Thorne:
Circle of Songs:
Exploiting Eve:
Zak Daniels:
Cecilia Noel:
Larisa Stow:
Shannon Beaty:
Velvet Chain:
Darling Violetta:
Idol Worship:

A person who wishes to remain nameless sent us this spelling for Napster. We just had to put the spelling into art. We think it speaks for itself.


Her music is a lovely blend of spirituality and sensuality, and her group performs at a level of perfection that is unusual even by classical standards. Speer’s voice is pretty and rich, and her group’s harmony vocals make the hairs on your arms stand straight up. If you want a visual equivalent for the music of Jillian Speer, find yourself a body of water at night, shine a light on it, look at the reflections through binoculars and then splash the surface of the water. The resulting explosion of light might come close to the effect of Speer’s sounds

Dark. Mysterious. Pounding. Tortured. Fun! To call Rakit’s music edgy is to take understatement to new depths of dysfunctional language. Their message is as ugly as a nuclear generation plant, yet as perfect as an explosion. In the world of industrial-techno music, where organized noise is the rule, this trio is the musical equivalent of spontaneous combustion. In a too brief set at The Key Club, Rakit established new parameters for doom-smash music. With a rich sonic brew that is as attractive as it is assaultive, they make the typical keyboard-and-sequencer bands seem like bad disco. “What do they sound like?” a friend asked. Like a sledgehammer smashing a computer. Like an avalanche in the moonlight. Like lovers locked in a dance of death. Like Rakit.
Passionate and pumped full of musical steroids, the quartet known as Soul Friction is also loud to the point of disturbing the peace. If someone from another planet dropped in and asked “What is rock music?” THIS is what you’d show them. Fronted by wildman GHouse, and funked by guitarist Tommy V, the group is turbocharged by the maniacal drumming of Kron and the God of Thunder bass work of TJ Racer.

Two-part harmony is one thing, but three- and four-part harmony is something else again. Something that Dakota Moon pulls off with ease in their propulsive tunes. Drenched with gospel fervor and fueled by a love of rock ‘n’ roll, Dakota Moon can gather you up, bounce you around and scoot you to the dance floor with one three-minute symphony. Then they do it again on the next number. This happens all night long with the DM crew. It’s tempting to say this is “feel good” music, which is certainly true, but that doesn’t go nearly far enough to explain its power. Dakota Moon’s songs are so beautifully crafted and so heartfelt that this band is in another realm entirely.

Some singers shout the blues, some caress the notes and others make their voice an extension of the melody. Debra Ash can do each in turn or in combination, giving an exhilarating sense of flexibility to a classic form of music. Backed by the extraordinary quartet, The Average Johnsons (Michael Campagna, Meaux Love, Chet West and Brian Head), the one-hour set at the Westminster Sports Grill just flew by. Applause was strong after every number; also noteworthy was the audience’s enthusiastic shouting of praise for this amazing singer.



Chris Pierce doesn't just sing, he mesmerizes. With a huge, expressive voice and a fearless attitude that enables him to repeat phrases in different patterns to hypnotic effect, Pierce is thoroughly compelling. You have no choice but to let the songs come up and dance with you. The beat is evil, the words poetic, and the music richly fascinating. Nalle Colt plays elegantly screaming guitar, while Orlando Sims, bass, and Rob Perkins, drums, combine for one of the most musical rhythm sections you'll ever hear. This band is a delicious conglomeration of funk & roll, rock & dance, bop & soul.

The music made by the brand new Shannon Moore Band at the Temple Bar was by turns inspiring, regal, groovy and hot. Moore's songs all have emotional resonance and heart-stopping turns of phrase that kept the one-hour set lively. She also has a set of pipes that can deliver the whap of a ball-peen hammer as well as the caress of a butterfly. The SMB gives you interesting lyrics, impeccable performances and rock-steady beats. Now back from a near-fatal auto crash, Shannon Moore is one hell of a performer. Some artists give you less than you expect; Moore gives you more.

Tricia La Belle, mistress of Bar Sinister, invites you to Flirt, her new Thursday night club at 1652 No. Cherokee Avenue in Hollywood (at Boardner's). 21+. Bands, dancers, DJs spinning everything from X to Rosemary Clooney. Hotline & VIP: 323-769-7004.

Zak Daniels & the One-Eyed Snakes have three songs in the top 10 on the MP3 Glam-Rock charts, including a #1. Now, Zak may be competing with himself as he debuts a new group, a side project called The Abrahams. With a folk-rock sound that's very Americana and roots-oriented, their debut song is “Lost In America.” You can find it and 10 more at

Catharsis and Hypnogaja swept into the Viper Room for an L.A. Music Awards Showcase and the room has not yet stopped spinning. Catharsis plays alt-rock with sing-along melodies. You'd be tempted to call them a punk band but they play too well and have too much variety. As testament to their popularity, they brought a lot of fans all the way from the next county. Hypnogaja is creating a new genre that might be called smooth rap. Don't be put off by the dreaded “rap” word, these guys have actual songs. The Viper Room was a hot spot that evening, as Elysa Grey of Sinboy (and an exciting new project), designer Tina-Marie Joy Stoker of Fireflies, and Vincent Ramos of Exploiting Eve were in the crowd. It was a good evening for the LAMA as they enter the home stretch leading to the big awards show November 21 at the Beverly Hilton.

Bite On Hollywood - Fade To Black - For Immediate Release - L.A. Scoop - Welcome to the Jungle - Inside the Industry - Metal Ledge - In My World - Blues News - Igneous Rock - Industrial Strength - Supersonics - Special

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