SHOW #1 — JAN 31 — ALLIGATOR LOUNGE
night" of this year's Poptopia festival featured mammoth
lines outside the venue for the duration of the show and endless
hours of non-stop fun inside. The Julies were given the esteemed
honor of kicking things off, and the new-look, slimmed-down
trio served up a platter of songs about everything from mystery
dates and kitty killers to road kill. Particularly enjoyable
was "Surfer Duane," a wonderful slab of surf/pop echoing
1982 era KROQ. Within minutes, the Alligator Lounge was overstuffed
with enthusiastic patrons, living up to its reputation as "the
armpit of L.A. rock clubs" with its lack of ventilation.
Next, but not
least, was The Last. Their electrifying mix of '60s garage/punk
made them the evening's best. Brothers Mike and Joe Nolte have
carried The Last through 20 years and various incarnations;
their status among L.A. bands is legendary. They covered all
the bases, from 1979's "Bombing of London" to the
anthemic "Time Is Gone" from their latest LP Gin
& Innuendos. And for those of you keeping score: the
omnipresent Robbie Rist made Poptopia appearance #1 as The Last's
hyperactive drummer an indication that this year's Festival,
like 1996, would secretly be referred to as "Robtopia."
. . .
and Martin Luther Lennon leader Tony Perkins was giddy with
glee over the evening's success, which manifested itself in
his band's rip-roaring, '70's power pop set with punk overtones
or should that be Undertones? Adam Marsland of Cockeyed
Ghost chipped in, with Rist making his third cameo of the evening.
An unusual amount of on-stage horseplay (probably heat-induced)
resulted in Perkins' bass malfunctioning, and in a heroic scene
reminiscent of a Mentos ad, Missy from the Last offered hers
Enthusiastic fans, near perfect performances, showstopping shenanigans
and a final act of caring generosity made night #1 of Poptopia
'97 an undeniable success.