Juvee Skate Shop

How many times have you flipped through a zine and seen a great line up, but it's at a venue like Chain Reaction or the ShowCase Theatre, and you've rolled your eyes and decided not to go? As a 20-something music fan, long gone are the days when all ages venues (especially ones without bars) are worth the effort, but some shows, you just can't pass up.

I came home early last Saturday, expecting to spend the rest of the evening in bed with a good porn, only to find a message on the answering machine about an un-announced show at the Juvee Skate shop featuring the Briefs and the Stitches (thanks Dr. Bob!).

I have totally underestimated a number of venues in Los Angeles, the most recent one being this Skate shop. If you've been to the Garage, then you've probably seen it. It's that building across the street sharing the parking lot with the best damn burger joint in east Hollywood (Jay Burgers).

I have plenty to say about the bands, and I'll get to that, but first let me rave about this venue a little bit (we should have a venue review section, haha). I've seen many a band listed there before, including 400 Blows and The Art of Safecracking, but I never took a skate shop seriously as a place to see a band. I WAS WRONG (And trust me, it hurts to say that). There is one particular element about this club/shop that I am almost afraid to mention in print, so email me if you want details. For now, I'll tell you this: the shop has no bar (unless you're interested in cranberry juice) but there is a 7-11 across the street. Just don't ignore a good show there simply because you don't want to be amongst teeny boppers who can't hold their liquor! That's all I'm going to say, you draw the conclusions.

Also in the shops favour is the skate ramp that takes up about 50% of the room, but provides for great seating, and entertainment between bands. Watching people skate, among them Mike from The Stitches, really made that tear down/set up time up just fly by between acts. And if you think the Troub is loud and sounds awesome, then you will love the acquostics in this joint. It was amazing (that no one showed up to shut the show down, it was so loud)!

Now, on to the actual band reviews:

I have yet to see the Stitches put on a "bad show." I'm beginning to think it's not even in their vocabulary. No matter how out of tune they go, or how often Mike tackles Pete (bass player) the music always prevails in that fast, poppy, throw your hands in the air kind of way. I made the mistake of standing in the very front (the stage is not raised, there are just two floor amps between you and the band) and I spent most of the set trying not to fall over the speakers and into the act.

Mike spasm-styled dance moves at times, defy gravity as he bounces and contorts himself across the stage. Mike is only ever upstaged by Johnny's hypnotic guitar solos. They ran through great sing-a-longs including "Pick Me Up" and "Better Off Dead." The crowd was ecstatic and a great buzz filled the entire room and filtered out into the parking lot.

When the Stitches set was relatively calm, which hasn't been true of past shows, I figured I could hang in the front row for one more band. Enduring the constant pressure from swaying fans behind me is part of being in the front row, but when the Briefs started, the last thing I expected was for guitar player, Daniel J. Travanti, to come slamming into the crowd on the opening chords.

If you want to turn your friendly back yard bbq into a pogo-pit from hell, I recommend you ask the Briefs over. When I finally gave up my spot (actually, I ran out of film) and tried retreating to a calmer space, I realized that there was no such place in the entire shop! With my hair only half up now, and limping on a flat tire, I made my way to the door to enjoy the rest of the set from the only safe spot; the entrance.

The Briefs, in their new wave fashion with flashy equipment and personalities, can whip through all the songs in their repetuoir in under an hour. All of the first album favourites from "Rotten Love" to "Kill Bob Seger" were matched with soon to be crowd faves from Off The Chars, including "(Looking Through) Gary Glitters Eyes" and "Outer Space Doesn't Care About You." Singer/guitar player Steve E. Nix suggested we rap about current events and politics before kicking in to, "We Americans."

Two great bands, one great venue, and a lot of excited, energetic fans really made my night at the Juvee a memorable first experience.

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