REVIEWS 2002
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Last Web Site | Fan review (Ted)
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from: The Last Web Site (Dan Nolte)
February

The Last @ Brennan's Irish Pub

 

It's been a long time, but The Last finally played a show — at Brennan's Irish Pub in Marina Del Rey, CA, supporting Cockeyed Ghost. The turnout was very good. I was so happy floating around the bar, running into so many faces from the past. Among them were Gary Stewart of Rhino Records (former Last manager), Dale Turkle (Earwigs), Tom Underhill (former Last guitarist), Don Williams (webmaster for Wednesday Week's site, and videographer for numerous Last concerts in the '80s), Kelly Callan (Wednesday Week — I'm sure Heidi was there, too, but I didn't see her), Deanne Nolte (Joe's ex-wife, who drove Joe's current girlfriend (and Last bassist) Missy to tonight's show), Kevin Samera (Common Thread Project), and so many others (but most especially my old friend from grade school, Adam Gonzales, who I haven't seen in 18 years)!

The Last played a great set, especially considering they had only 2 rehearsals, and the fact that the vocals could barely be heard (perhaps I was sitting in a bad part of the bar, though). The lineup tonight was Joe Nolte (of course), Mike Nolte (keyboards, vocals), David Nolte (bass), Luke Lohnes (guitar), and Robbie Rist (drums). They opened up with a strong version of "Bombing of London," then paid homage to George Harrison with the Beatles' "Don't Bother Me." A highlight of the set was a very melodic version of the normally hardcore "Go Away Girl." We'll have to get that version recorded. A strong set was ended with a powerful version of "She Don't Know Why I'm Here," much to the enthusiastic audience's delight.

There was a nice blurb in the LA Weekly announcing the show, thanks to Leaving Trains' Falling James:

While L.A.'s late-'70s rivalry between pogoing punks and skinny-tied new-wavers never matched the intensity of Britain's mods-vs.-rockers violence in the mid-'60s — punks here were more threatened by the very real prospect of LAPD beatings than by power-pop geeks — the mutual contempt and bitter separation of the two scenes was real, pointless as it seems now. The Last were one of a few groups at the time — think Flaming Groovies, the Zippers or the Real Kids — that could convincingly travel in both worlds, aggressive enough to appear with punks like the Gears, the Avengers and the Alley Cats, and melodic enough to fit in with 20/20 and the Plimsouls. Even singer-guitarist Joe Nolte's angriest songs, like the epic "Difference," which decries those police riots, are infused with a diehard romantic's melodicism and layered with ruefully pretty harmonies and 12-string-guitar jangle. Need convincing? Ask Mike Watt, who recently covered the Last's proto-pop-punk classic "She Don't Know Why I'm Here."

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from: Ted (fan review)
February

The Last Return

At first, it was strange to walk into a stagnant sports/Irish themed bar to see the first show in years by the legendary L.A. band the Last. I was glad to see Joe Nolte, as Greg Shaw commented, "In good spirits." The anticipation built as the opening act the Mockers tuned-up, played some straightforward power-pop, and tore down their set.

In front of a clump of audio and video tapers and soon-to-be dancing females, the frontline of the Last set up with Mike Nolte on keyboards/background vocals, Joe on guitar and lead vocals and David Nolte (also of the Dave Davies band) manning the bass. The band started the set with the made-to-be-heard-live "Bombing of London" and then paid tribute to George Harrison with the Beatles' "Don't Bother Me." Despite the factors of a sludgy bottom-end sound due to the bar's muffled sound system and Joe's trademark 12-string Rickenbacker being under the weather, the band charged through a valiant set. "Difference," "Looking at You" and "Take Care of Her" all encompassed the band's distinctive ability to swerve between the riveting raw and the engagingly elegant. Joe was quite the animated frontman who could launch into a '77 styled sneer and then step back and gorgeously harmonize with his brother Mike. For some sustained moments on Friday night, the background dropped out, time became timeless and the Last was the only thing that mattered.

More pix from the February show at Brennan's here