REVIEWS 1997
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Daily Breeze | Entertainment Today
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from: The Daily Breeze/News-Pilot (Torrance, CA) RAVE! section

TOP 10

3. "Gin & Innuendoes," The Last (SST)

The longtime South Bay band released its best-ever album this year, filled with hypnotic melodies delivered with fieriness and passion.

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from: Entertainment Today
February 7

POPTOPIA: SHOW #1 — JAN 31 — ALLIGATOR LOUNGE

The "opening 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."
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Poptopia organizer 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 selflessly.
Enthusiastic fans, near perfect performances, showstopping shenanigans and a final act of caring generosity made night #1 of Poptopia '97 an undeniable success.

Jim Freek