Photos by Mila Reynaud
Why is it that every time I head over the hill to Hollywood it fucking rains? At least it seems that way lately. Torrential downpour bombarded the vehicle all the way to the perimeter of the Hollywood Bowl, and then nothing but a thermal chill and sidewalks cleansed of scum. Perhaps the Gods of Rock wanted to give the town a bath before I transcended.
Despite the fact that I love to live in the moment, Hollywood requisites a slight pilgrimage to the past, my past mostly, and tonight I stopped by the old digs of a friend I will just call Paul. It’s a small unassuming complex that hundreds, perhaps thousands pass by each day without a second glance. I parked and walked on down the hall. Knocking on the faded front door a man in his mid-40’s opened and looked a bit bewildered. “Hi I am here to see Paul” I convincingly conveyed. “There’s no Paul here, you have the wrong place” responded the tenant as he slowly closed the door in my face. Oh, I had the right place alright, just the wrong decade. I wonder if the current occupant really knew what I was up to.
I hit The Strip and headed west, where for eight American dollars I parked in a secure structure and proceeded to pound the pavement. Stopped in The Bow and flew by The Key Club en route to Gil Turners, then roundabout to The Cat Club for the majority of tonight’s festivities. Bar hopping at its best. I did stop to pay homage to the store front that once housed The London Fog. No marker or plaque of any kind to remind us of the historic significance of this structure. Today women sit and gossip while they pick color and have their nails done in comfort. If they listen closely, can they hear the whispers? Do they even have a fucking clue?
Shot a text to photographer extraordinaire Mila Reynaud to inquire her ETA. A super quick response informed she was already present and accounted for. Super. Let’s roll. The Hangmen were the draw for this evening, but as fate would have it, support act Barrio Tiger kicked some serious ass and warranted a write up of their very own. So here we go Shugsters.
Brash and brazen, Barrio Tiger played believable, real rock and roll. I bought it, no flash in the pan, no gimmicky shtick, no smoke and mirrors. Hailing from Echo Park, the band has creed, and sported a legend in certain circles in the persona of guitarist Jimmy James. If fact he was the first thing I noticed when they assembled on the stage. You would find it hard not to spot Jimmy in a crowd. Mr. James has been the subject of interest here at The Shug, so for you regular readers, he is no stranger.
Barrio Tiger let it rip with opening jolt “Special Purpose”, a belly up to the bar barrel buster that had the sinners and saints delighted in the congregational combustion forthwith. Instant impression favored as the sheer intensity of the three guitar onslaught imbued. Calixto Hernandez’s vocal sliced through mayhem, a feat not to easy with the hit and miss small cavern like design of the venue.
Seventies power punch sensibilities with daggers edge hit us up with “Boom Boom”. Synchronization sensational sound off sizzled. Hard hitting rhythm section showed no sign of new introduction as experience proved supreme.
Everybody loves Dead Boys and Barrio Tiger is no exception as they paid tribute to the Cleveland Gods of Punk’s Garage. A perfect night for exposure to rock hungry recruits as the role call responded enthusiastic.
“Let’s Play Dumb” rollicked a ripple effect throughout. Super scrumptious string sensations coupled with addictive sing along pulsates this ruckus rouser. Jimmy James orchestrated wisdom, and Calixto savvy, blending in unique musical navigation.
A killer called “Love Kills” and another buster whose identity that hath eluded, propelled us further into the night and pretty much cinched it for the band. They could do no wrong. They played the kind of rock that endears, and all in attendance were already betrothed to the genre. I always said the best gig an up and coming band can get, are not headline slots, but direct support to similar acts where you can partake in what I call “fan robbing”. Mission accomplished.
When the next song started, the opening chord progression triggered a glimmer of recognition. “What does this song remind me of, why does it sound so familiar, have I heard this song before?” It was on the tip of my tongue, then hit like a ton of bricks. “Gates of Steele” from the spud kings “Devo” was actually permeating the sound waves once again, albeit a most welcome hankering heavy in the delivery department. Time transcended, crisscrossing through the memory banks of my mind. Sounded like home, Hollywood style. Almost like a warm blanket against the nights wind, amazing how a lost classic rediscovered feels so good.
Letting us have it with both barrels was closer "Bullet". An all out rock extravaganza, with scorching dual guitar sorcery and straight ahead churn to bring them back for sure. And bring them back they will, over and over, as Barrio Tiger plays on a regular basis through the land. Check out one of their sites for gig info, music, videos and more!