Saturday July 21st, 2012:
UHF.TV was proud to present A Tribute to Al's Bar at the Bloom's Stage at the Bloomfest street fair. Above is a video of all the bands that played the stage on that day as well as the bloomfest preview video. Below are pictures and videos from each band. The days proceedings are best summed up in this review by Brick Wahl
Spent the whole say at the Bloom Stage with all the geezers. We knew all of them. Beautiful time. Perfect. Saw some ex-Betty Blowtorch thing that shredded, Carnage Asada were loud and pounding and better than ever and ya gotta love frontman George. Saccharine Trust are one of the great bands of our time. I remember seeing them at Al’s three decades ago opening for the Misfits. (I remember seeing them for the very first time at the Cathay in 1981, but that’s another story). Mike Watt and the Missingmen doing double nickles on Hyphenated-Man. The Gears had a slam pit going for chrissakes with big huge inner tubes that people went crazy with and they bounced and bounded and knocked shit all over the place and watching some of the dads out there skanking was a trip…I hadn’t seen that in decades. Just no one gets hurt now. No bloody lips or black eyes or broken bones. Just good clean fun. Al’s Bar was a time warp. Surreal. It looked just like our Al’s Bar–it was our Al’s Bar, but it’s so clean now. So clean it was almost eerie. They sweep the floor now. They painted over the graffiti. The hole in the wall is covered up. The pool table is gone. The photo booth is gone. (Did that photo booth actually work? I just remember people fucking in it.) The wife and I had our 20th anniversary at Al’s Bar, I remember. That was forever ago. I had my 40th birthday party in there. That was forever-er ago. I smoked dope with Kurt Cobain there out on the back patio, and he’s been dead forever and ever.
On the way home the wife and I drove down Alameda to 1st St. That Senor Fish there on the corner used to be the Atomic Cafe. Had dinner in there once with Darby Crash. He had the wiener gotcha, a dude in a blue mohawk eating wiener gotcha. My wife ordered the fried chicken. Banquet. I watched the cook open the box. The service was awful, the food worse, it was wonderful. It wouldn’t last a week now. Hipsters want only the best food. Jonathan Gold made it impossible for any more Atomic Cafes. No more wiener gotcha. Now it’s overpriced ethno-hipster-world slop from food trucks with fey names. Oh well.
The Brave Dog was two doors down from the Atomic, right there where the Senor Fish parking lot is now. It was hipper than fuck for a while, The Brave Dog. I wandered through that parking lot one night a couple years ago and figured out where it was that Mike Watt and George Hurley and me smoked a joint while they told me about their brand new band called the Minutemen. Another night some of us walked from the Brave Dog to Al’s Bar. That must have been 1980. All those parking lots now were abandoned factories then, all brick and empty and spooky. Pere Ubu I said. (Old factories always reminded me of Pere Ubu album covers.) We walked and walked and finally turned a corner and there was light and smoke and music and it was my first trip to Al’s Bar. A thousand more followed. And there I was yesterday watching Watt on that stage absolutely cooking and the whole vibe was like three decades ago but we’re all old and beat up now, things hurt, and the ranks are thinned by heroin and growing up. Some people do heroin. Some grow up. The rest hang out in the street where Al’s Bar was and remember.
The line up on the Bloom Stage was perfect. That was the geezer stage, the nostalgia stage, the Dad’s trying to skank again stage...
Brick Wahl - BrickWahl.com
Swords of Fatima Probably the band that played the most at Al's Bar was Popdefect. Popdefect is no more so representing will be drummer NICK SCOTT's Swords of Fatima. Nick teams up with BUKO PAN GUERRA who sings and plays guitar. What makes the music really interesting is that Buko plays an electric guitar tuned like a banjo who plays really interesting rhythms. The only two melodic instruments are guitar and voice and they both come out of the same person in the same rhythms connected through the heart.
Lightnin' Woodcock is a blues rock that does music in the tradition of Snatch and the Poontangs He used to be in the wrestling band Foreign Object where he was known as Spike Liberty.
Lightnin' Woodcock - Guitar & Vocals
Clayton Kemble - Guitar
Will Lefevre - Bass
John Lord - Drums
Size Queen (with Sharon, Blare and Mia from Betty Blowtorch, and Chase Manhatten on drums) - Betty Blowtorch was an all girl punk band from the 90's that often played at Al's. You can learn about them in the movie Betty Blowtorch and her amazing true life adventures.
Blare Bitch - Bass, Vocals
Sharon Needles - Guitar
Mia X - Guitar
Chase Manhattan - Drums
Carnage Asada has a unique sound with a Cholo, a Cello, a triple rhythm section with two bass players and drums, and a guitar player named Fate. They formed in 1993 putting out the EP Familia Carnage Asada in 1997 and the CD Permanent Trails in 1999. They went on a hiatus in the early 2000's and Re-emerged in 2008. Their music is very experimental ranging from atonal dissonance to hardcore chromaticism to heavy blues, sometimes in one song.
Besides playing at Al's Bar dozens of time the members of Carnage Asada also played there often in their other bands. Here is the lineup.
George Murillo - Vocals
Steve Reed - Drums
Tony Fate - Guitar
Chris Stein - Bass
Dave Jones - Bass
Dave Travis - Cello
Jack Brewer - Vocals
Joe Baiza - Guitar
Chris Stein - Bass
Brian Christopherson - Drums
Mike Watt and the Missingmen will perform MIKE WATT's third rock opera the Hyphenated-Man. He has toured this piece throughout North America, Europe, and Japan and now he brings it to Bloomfest, during a week off from his other band, Iggy and the Stooges, who are touring Europe. Watt toured this spring with fIREHOSE performing at the Coachella Festival and around America. The Missingmen are TOM WATSON (Slovenly) and RAUL MORALES (Killer Dreamer). Before the Missingmen and fIREHOSE. Mike Watt played bass for the Minutemen who did several records for SST and are featured in the documentaries A History Lesson, and We Jam Econo.
The Gears are one of the last surviving band from the Masque they have been doing shows around L.A. since 1978. Wondercap Records is currently working on a documentary film on the Gears which will probably come out in 2013. They feature AXXEL G REESE on vocals, KIDD SPIKE on guitar, SEAN SHIFT on drums, and MIKE MANIFOLD on bass.
Downtown Devil Dogs is the brainchild of ALBERTO MIYARES, the man behind the flaming expresso mobile; and guitarist JESSE EASTER The Devil Dogs are a blues rock band that were a fixture at Al's.
Sukia was a 1990's band that featured 1970's child actor Ross Harris. They Blend traditional instruments, electronic instruments, video installation art, and comedy into a dadaistic experience fitting for the former site of the downtown art fair.
Ross Harris- Vocals, Keyboards
Sasha - Bass
Craig Borrel - Rhythm Machines
Joel Fox as the Space Yeti
Bloomfest is a street fair that is free and all ages from 2-10 PM. It is a festival named in honor of neighborhood legend Joel Bloom. It is a multiblock festival centered around Third Street and Traction Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles 90013 just east of the Little Tokyo GoldLine Station on Alameda. Directions are here. There will be two stages, food, art, kids zone, dogs zone, y mas.
Al's Bar was the headquarters of Punk Rock and Strangeness of Downtown Los Angeles from 1979-2001. The Bloom / Al's Bar Stage is curated by the metal artist and mechanical sculpter Alberto Miyares, famous for creations such as the Flaming Expresso Wagon. He is the man who welds the skeleton of the robot dinosaur.
For general Festival info see www.bloomfestla.com