This triple-header featured the creme de la creme of L.A.’s current club-level rock crop, and the gig was made especially interesting by the fact that all the bands are at very different — but equally volatile — points in their careers.
Headliners Liquid Jesus released one record on MCA to critical acclaim but smallish sales; the latest rumor found singer Buck Murphy in consideration for Anthrax’s vacant singer slot. He didn’t take it, and Liquid Jesus is now working on an EP and LP.
East of Gideon, last year’s hot contender for the Next Big Thing, inked a deal, made a record and exited its label without the disc seeing the light of day.
And finally, Rage Against the Machine is probably in the best spot, despite its opening status on this show: Newly signed to Epic Records, group had one of the loudest buzzes in the A&R community, and already has begun work on its much-anticipated debut.
All three bands, compatible yet distinct, fared well at this gig, packed equally with stage-diving, nose-pierced fans and eagle-eyed A&R/industry folks.
The club was surprisingly and tellingly full for Rage Against the Machine’s early show.
Group’s approach is an intellectual-urban, multi-ethnic funk-metal hybrid, heavy on the bouncy energy — both the crowd and singer Zack de la Rocha spent more time in the air than on the floor, and in fact, near the end of the too-short set, the vocalist executed a perfect stage dive into the adoring crowd.
Harvard-educated axeman Tom Morello is primed to become a guitar hero; his whammy-bar tapping is highly technical but very expressive and warm. If this show was any indication, RAM will make an even bigger noise when its freshman effort hits the streets.
Taking the middle slot between two stage-diving, mosh-inciting bands, East of Gideon had a tough task, and though the audience was polite, EOG’s more earthy, multi-textured, Pearl Jam-ish mien was mellower, less demanding.
The band’s former ruffles ‘n’ velvet image has been replaced by a jeans ‘n’ T-shirt look, yet they still use a mix of keyboards and percussion that lends a lush feel.
Group sounded best on the fun, pared-down country-ish romp “Could Me,” and the more textural “Freedom” and “Rosemary’s Child.” For now, East of Gideon’s future is uncertain, but promising.
On the other hand, an almost-certain bright future is in store for Liquid Jesus, if this show was any indication.
Vocalist Murphy may be short on stature, but he’s long on talent and charisma. Liquid Jesus’ manic, psychedelic, funk-tinged rock is on-the-edge and full of tempo changes. Quirky, yet catchy, the new material definitely sounded like there might be a few potential hits.
The MCA debut, “Pour in the Sky,” fared well on college radio, and indeed, this eve’s young crowd went wild (a Billy Idol impersonator even jumped on stage , skanking wildly until he was pushed into the milling masses).
The band’s next record should fare well; thanks to Nirvana, it appears the industry may have caught up to Liquid Jesus’ gamut of influences, raw energy and left-of-center appeal. Overall, it proved a thought-provoking show and evening — it will be very interesting to see where this graduation class of ’92 ends up.