Death on the Radio

Death on the Radio
Redwood Bar and Grill
Los Angeles
By Lucky (SugarBuzz Hollywood)
Photography by Alex Kinnan

Beaming down an artery in the city of light, I happed upon iconic landmarks that a true native perhaps pays no mind, no heed. A testimonial of time that repetitive exposure seems to have dulled in ones senses leaving only slight imprints and distant blurs. But unlike any other, this night shines, past occurrences call, beseeching an awakening, occurrences that include surprise, sex, death, and promise. Into the heart of Los Angeles we go, seeking answers, seeking prose, seeking rock and roll.

The Redwood Bar and Grill is one such testimonial that cries out “remember me”? Gangsters, congressmen and a President occasioned the establishment, secret whispers and directives long lost. But if you listen close, timely echoes radiant forth. Can you hear them?

A happy hour arrival allowed for solitude, with the exception of a spiky punk rock brethren and an elderly gent, whose face was a roadmap of ole. We all sat silent, each to his own.

Moments past, perhaps an hour, when I saw familiar, Dee from the LA punk rock band A Pretty Mess. Faith restored as Dee foretold of upcoming European shows, merchandise and a new full length release for 2013. Sometimes, looking forward is the best part of acquisition. Also arriving to make the scene was Laura Feline from Feline Productions there to partake and promote. We had a chat about her upcoming benefit to raise money for a fallen comrade, to bury a brother-in-arms.

New bonds were forged with the likes I’d expect, such as Johns Ax and imagery artist Alex Kinnan, whose captures from earlier Death on the Radio shows grace this page. Bloody Mary Powers Agnew (Death on the Radio) approached, I divulged , we laughed. I was instantly smitten by this wide eyed talent with open roads. A stark contrast to my many back. I spoke of bygones as Mary amazed with admiration for punk rock past and present.  Delightful encounter indeed.

Death on the Radio assembled on the Redwoods tiny stage, I knew it was all about to happen. A false start, although suspect says intentional, ushered in “Say When”. Band breaks as Bloody Mary mandates, “Say When” only when she says so. Evol Power’s driving thud commandeered the foray as utter bedlam was bestowed.

“I’m the One” intros a heavy riff laden expose by Danny “Death Dorman” (spawned by the seminal hardcore Circle One), then opens wide as Bloody Mary’s testimonial compiles power, passion and heavy-handed persuasion.

In the words of Bloody Mary, “Wake the Dead” is scary brand new, but you’d never fucking know as it was delivered with killer precision. One thousand volts of chaotic current surged as the band built upon a run reminiscent of early Black Sabbath adding dark gothic overtones, which will no doubt diversify.

Bloody Mary bantered optimism for the upcoming year as Death on the Radio broke it out big with “Love Shock”, a song that blended early 77 UK punk traditions with a channeled reggae upbeat, and then caught us off guard with another newly crafted creation called “Stab”. “Stab” is a straight ahead punker that illuminates the bands song writing abilities.

Exploring yet another facet of Death on the Radio was “Never Look Back”, a slow dirge of grinding machinery that whispered beautiful dark heartache and a sense of foreboding. Straight up, I love this song and perhaps rang as my evening favorite.

The dangerous dealings of “Life on the Line” featured Evol’s way cool bass vibe while Mary emulated anguish and pain through solid lyrical intonations. Her projected presence reflects images of reigning punk queens of past and present and carries the torch beyond.

The grit and grime of the “Dirty City” processional matted a maniacal monstrous march. Power plunged by Mr. Roger Delong’s snare quake, we were transported to a futuristic cityscape that upon reexamination was our own present day.  Today’s war cry for an apocalyptic Los Angeles.

Death on the Radio’s mainstay, “Psycho Killer”, was tonight’s closer, a treasured Talking Heads classic that Death on the Radio has stylized and made it’s own.  An awesome end, to an awesome show, or so I thought, as the crowd was unappeased and demanded more which resulted with the encore “California”, yet another jewel in the group’s catalogue that upon hearing I was shocked that it was originally not included in tonight’s set. Yea, it was that good.