Brainticket, Huw Lloyd-Langton and the Lumerians Live @ the Key Club, Hollywood, CA 9/3/11
From Aural Innovations #43 (October 2011)
I was gonna skip this, but after seeing You Tube footage of Brainticket's perfomance from earlier in the tour, and then Key Club's ad stating that Helios Creed was on the bill, I promptly booked myself. And as I hadn't been to a real live show since moving up to the "Central Coast", I figured it was time to bust out of my comfort zone. And after checking out the Lumerians, I became even more excited. It was to be the finale of the brief tour. There were rumors of Shatner showing up for the CD-Release Party of his upcoming album: didn't happen, but no major disappointment there.
Approaching the outside line, there was a rather tall and unkempt man in beige pants and a black hat fumbling around with a big wad of papers sticking out of his pants pocket, muttering "Fuck, where's my record contract..."; I knew I was finally witnessing the legendary Mr. Creed up close and in person. I saw the "Cleopatra Records" letter-head on one of the papers that he was juggling, and said something like "another contract, eh?", to which he smiled sheepishly and replied "Yeah, you know me, I'm a label whore...". Unfortunately that was all I was to experience of ol' HC that evening. Hhe did a special set with a hot space-chick on stilts, but I missed this as I was upstairs watching Brainticket (I had been assured by someone earlier that HC would be doing his own regular set later, though apparently this never took place. Nor had people been informed of the fact that there would be two stages and some overlapping of sets...oh well...)
Anyway, I made it into the venue and immediately recognized a man I'd but shaken hands with eleven years ago - Jim Lasko (Strange Daze Festival, Solar Fire Light Show), who was running the laser/lights. So we had the occasional chat between sets. And on to those sets: The warm-up outfit was a duo of a guitarist and a synth/programming/vocal guy (never got their name). The vocals weren't great, but the music was pretty okay. And they covered some Hawkwind tunes: Needle Gun, Kings Of Speed and Sonic Attack.
The next upstairs set was HUW LLOYD-LANGTON, singing and vigorously strumming his acoustic, great rendition of Hurry On Sundown, a couple solo tunes I didn't know, a reworked Solitary Mind Games with Brainticket's Joel Van Droogenbroek guesting on flute, much better than the Hawkwind version. Hughey was quite charming, British, comedic and veteran. It was very special to see him and a powerful performance, especially for his looking so emaciated, having recently undergone a serious illness. For the encore he was joined by Farflung and Len Del Rio for a full-band rendition of Rocky Paths which was just thrilling! It was especially neat being on the right and watching Tommy and Len play keys and synth atop each other and doing a fine job of mimicking that early '80s Hawkwind keyboard sound. They looked so cute together! It is at this point I must confess that what really got my juices flowin' about this whole deal was that footage of BRAINTICKET being fronted by Abbey Travis, a full-figured and mesmerizingly stunning woman in exotic costume. Del Rio informed me later that she'd been involved with some pretty big L.A. bands going back aways. Van Droogen on organ and flute, Farflung boys Andrew Scott on guitar, Tommy Grenas on bass, Rodney Rodriguez on drums, Del Rio on synth... great renditions of Brainticket classics Like a Place In the Sun, Watchin' You, One Morning, Egyptian Kings. Lasko's laser-lights were a perfect compliment. I was hoping they'd try something with the Brainticket piece, but it was not to be. Abbey did great with the spoken/narrative parts, at times working herself into a mad screech! She was costumed as a Medusa for most of the set, and came out with a headdress for the encore. A great tune which I'd love to hear again - I learned that it was an old pre-Brainticket Van Droogen tune which they'd reworked, the original of which is on the new Cleopatra Brainticket box-set. Abbey played some snazzy bass and Tommy took the mic for a passionate vocal... phenomenal closer.
Down to the basement for THE LUMERIANS: Wow, these kids from Oakland were fucking ON. I'm glad I was able to familiarize myself with their excellent self-titled and Transmalinnia albums prior to the gig. They opened with Corkscrew Trepanation. They had the main drummer and a second drummer: a short standing hopping youngster who was just slamming along on his snare and toms. This was a small basement gig... amps all on high... the organ and guitars were an ear-bleeding SCREECH. Burning Mirrors, Xulux, Atlanta Brook. Hashshashin was especially intense. For about 45 minutes they were locked into these super-scorching heavy grooves (compared to this, the albums are easy listening). Top-notch dark '60s-style psyche with tight motorik Silver Apples rhythms.
Worn out, I trudged back upstairs where the main floor was packed with Nektar people. I thought they'd be nice to "chill out" to, but couldn't get comfortable anywhere, so decided to cut and run... definitely worth the trip!
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg