The Love Me Nots at The Juke Joint

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Last night's Tiger Mask "Trash Au Go-Go" show at Anaheim's The Juke Joint was a blast, the perfect example of a great bar show with blazing bands, distracting girls insisting on conversing even though they were standing 10 feet from a guitar amp, and a, oh let's just call them "not attractive", drunk couple grinding each other, that like a car crash, you can't help but stare at.

Kicking things off were Long Beach's own The Vooduo, a 2-piece drum and guitar duo that pound out some raw floor stompin' horror-tinged garage rock. Neidi Night in her Wednesday Adams outift and using nothing more than a floor tom and snare was lost in the tribal beat of her own pummeling, while Eerie Powers fingers bled on the guitar and sang until the lining of his throat could take no more. I couldn't help but think while watching them that they would make the perfect soundtrack to a Tarantino movie.

After what looked like some confusion as to who was supposed to play next, Woolly Bandits took the stage for a high energy tension filled set. Boasting the inclusion of a couple of members who played in and recorded with the "new" Sly Saxon and The Seeds a couple years back, and forming Woolly Bandits during the The Seeds 2004 Red Planet sessions, these guys and gal rock like no one's business. Highlights of their set for me were the songs I recognized from their debut album, Say Hello To My Little Friend, including the hip shakers "Don’t Want You Around" and "Bomp Shu Bomp".

The night's main event were The Love Me Nots, the Phoenix, AZ band who caught my attention almost a year ago when I stumbled upon them while perusing a Tucson club's website, which led me to first seeing them at the now extinct Lava Lounge in Los Angeles. Nicole Laurenne (vocals, farfisa), Michael Johnny Walker (vocals, guitar), Christina Nunez (vocals, bass), Jay Lien (drums) have only been a band for less than two years, originally intending it to just be a side project as each were already in other prominent Phoenix area garage rock acts (The White Demons, The Sonic Thrills, and The Madcaps), but things thankfully clicked so well (songs, recording, touring, press), that each have made The Love Me Nots their full time gig.

The Love Me Nots are led by Laurenne who completely manhandles the farfisa and belts it out in a range that can go from the croon of a sultry lounge singer to the urgent wail of Janis Joplin in only the matter of the change from verse to chorus. She is backed by the penetrating force that is Walker's buzzsaw guitar work, Nunez's thumping bass and Lein's ferocious drumming (the dude hits hard). With a set that consisted of half songs from their debut release, In Black & White, and half songs from next year's forthcoming sophomore release (again to be recorded by Jim Diamond), every song came off better than anything on that other Black & White album that people are sure to be wasting their time talking about next week.

The Love Me Nots play again tonight in Hollywood at Safari Sams with Throw Rag, The Joneses, Lords of Altamont, Deadbeat Sinatra, and Sons & Lovers.


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