mid ’00s live videos of The Locust and Some Girls unearthed (watch)
Since there are no new shows happening, live footage of past shows feels more crucial than ever and, luckily, there's no shortage of that. Not only is there already tons of footage of music history throughout the depths of YouTube, but lately there's been even more than usual thanks to artists and filmmakers emptying their vaults during these quarantined times.
One of those filmmakers is Aaron Thornhill (Fairly Loud Noises), and we're aiding him in debuting two previously unseen videos from his vault: one of spazzgrind freaks The Locust at San Diego's Epicentre in 2005 and one of related band Some Girls at San Diego's Che Cafe in 2006. Both videos offer up great windows into these two pulverizing bands in their prime, but don't take our word for it. Here's some insight from the people who were there...
Justin Pearson, who plays in both bands, tells us:
For me, the city of San Diego has always had something special that a lot of places don't necessarily have. Growing up in the city, I was subconsciously taught ways to navigate living in a place where and not only consuming art, but creating art had to be done in a different way than most places. The city is set up for tourism, and a glossy image of something that is incorrect. Needless to say, I have been lucky to find a home in among the land, along with other like minded humans who have been, and are inspiring and helped push boundaries and buttons. This world needs that, so here is a bit of nostalgia and a glimpse at the past in hopes that we have a future.
On a side note, I am bummed that the Some Girls footage stops early. At the point of this show, during the band's existence, we were always closing with "Deathface", which is not in the video for some reason. That specific night was the first time I attempted to switch from bass to second drums, and my first time ever playing drums live. Nathan Joyner had a splitter so just before we started the last song, he would run his guitar through his amp and the bass amp as I switched over to drums for about ten or so minutes. As for The Locust set, I'm usually grateful when Gabe Serbian doesn't vomit. It's not that I don't appreciate a band puking on stage, but I fear that it's taxing on his body and I need that guy healthy and functional to extreme levels in this world.
And Aaron, who shot the shows, had to say about the Some Girls show:
For decades, the Che Café has been a magnet for outsider pop and earth-scorching punk, playing host to diverse shows as awesomely weird as they are high voltage. This particularly sweaty evening in July that I headed up to see Some Girls deliver their furious take on noise-fueled hardcore proved to be no exception.
I arrived early to see the stage completely covered in synthesizers, and not just the kind with piano keys. To my excitement there was a wall of old school modular gear as well, patched together with cables like a phone operator switchboard. Eventually, Joey Karam and David Scott Stone emerged wordlessly from somewhere offstage and approached the synth fortress. At a volume level that did not permit any sort of counter-arguments from the growing audience, they set about manipulating the controls of their city of circuitry. Drones soared, rhythms pulsed, robots spoke in tongues, and there was no choice but to be sucked into the new world that was being born before my very ears! Following a crescendo of chaos invoked by Stone attacking a piece of sheet metal that was wired into the machinery, they concluded as quickly and methodically as they had begun, leaving the stunned audience to wonder what had just happened and what more was in store.
Of course, there was no way from seeing Karam and Stone’s performance to have predicted the next act- Harry Merry. The wall of gear was replaced by a single keyboard and a guy with a Dutch accent wearing a sailor suit. Whereas the preceding synth assault had seemed to arrive like an alien invasion, a number of attendees seemed to already know who this man was and what we were in for and they were not hiding their giddiness in the slightest. He queued up a drum machine and began to play these kind of goofy, carnival-esque songs that seemed to be aimed at children, one after the other. It was a delight, but kinda in that wtf is going on here, this dude is trollin’, way. That being said, Mr. Merry definitely had his act together, his herky-jerky songs were perfectly executed, and he owned what he did. Well over a decade later “Sharki Supermachine” still pops into my head at hilariously inopportune moments like anytime I’m trying to do anything remotely adult. Imagine trying to have a serious talk with your significant other but you start smirking a bit in the middle because “Shaaaaaar-keeeeeeeee” is playing in your mental jukebox at the same volume it was at this show. Game over, Harry Merry wins. Flawless victory. Fatality.
In keeping with the theme of joyous tonal whiplash, following Harry Merry were the never not off the rails Some Girls. Their set of music from their recently released “Heavens Pregnant Teens” album was preceded by an eerie near-silence, where you could only hear the hiss of the cranked amps yet to be played through as they non-verbally made sure everything was good to go. There was a lone snare crack, followed by about 20 minutes of what sounded like Godzilla coming through the roof of the Che. The drummer conducted the mayhem from behind the kit with all the mercy of a runaway jackhammer as the some members of the crowd were compelled to abandon the typical moshing, resorting instead to swinging around from the rafters. This was a fantastic show to see Some Girls, possibly at their peak, as they disbanded only a few months later to pursue other projects: Wes Eisold with the synth-laden Cold Cave, Chuck Rowell with the more pop-infused Crocodiles, JP and Nathan with the abrasive, dance-noise All Leather, and Sal with his long-lived duo Secret Fun Club.
Concluding the evening and providing some very cool cool-down from Some Girls’ aural brimstone were Quintron and Miss Pussycat, who began their set of grooving organ, drum machine and maracas sing-alongs with… a puppet show. Soon enough they started in with the musical part of their set and the whole club fell under the spell of their rhythmic, somewhat campy, B-52s via David Lynch spell. This was especially fun for me as my roommate at the time had been wearing the grooves out of her copy of their “Are You Ready for an Organ Solo?” LP for months. I was thrilled to finally hear them live and they , and all the other acts that night, delivered the goods.
Watch both videos below.
Some recent related news: Justin Pearson recently spoke to us about his new project Satanic Planet (with ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, Luke Henshaw, and Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves). He also appears in the Parallel Planes documentary (alongside Ian Mackaye, Michael Gira, and others), which is streaming now for free, and there's a Justin Pearson doc in the works. The Locust returned for their first show in four years last fall, and they would've toured with Napalm Death this month if not for you-know-what. Let's hope they keep going when this all ends, and let's hope for that new music too.
Some Girls' Wes Eisold recently told us about the music getting him through quarantine.