Radon, Toys That Kill, Tiltwheel, Vena Cava, Chuck Ragan, and Cabrillo Beach Boy: Live at 1269 E. 6th St., 1/18/07 By Daryl Gussin

Feb 04, 2007

The first show of the year and, boy, was it a good one. One of my favorite bands of all time, Radon, was to play in my fair city for the first time in their fifteen-plus years of existence. And not only did Radon play that night but some of my other favorites did as well.

            I like when people get creative with show spaces. Large venues and bars have a way of killing a good time: high ticket prices, pushy bouncers, and expensive drinks are no friend of mine. When I heard that the show was going to be held in an art gallery/warehouse space, I was both excited and relieved. And when I saw that the bands would be performing in the center of a half-pipe I knew it was a good place to see a good show.

            The first band to play was the Cabrillo Beach Boys (formerly known as Can of Beans). The contain members of Underground Railroad to Candyland and Toys That Kill. I’m not sure if it was because I listened to a lot of the Dils earlier that day, but I kept on hearing a lot of similarities. It may have been the fuzzed-out guitar and the multiple vocals, but I kept on expecting for them to break into “The Sound of the Rain.” I like the Cabrillo Beach Boys. Hearing a band that you’ve never heard and actually enjoying them is always the best way to start a show.

            Next up was Toys That Kill. If you’ve never seen them, they’re one of those bands that you can always trust to put on good show. Out of the last couple times I’ve seen this band play (Fest V and their Bay Area Release Show), this was the best. It may be because I am finally warming up to their new album (Shanked! out on Recess Records) or that I don’t completely remember their set at the Fest.

            When I saw on the flier that there was going to be a burrito eating contest, I thought it was a joke. You know like, “Of course we’re having a burrito eating contest. Every day’s a burrito eating contest.” But what ended up happening was the promoter distributed a burrito to five contestants with the fastest gourmandizer (thank you CBGBs for improving my vocabulary, kinda) being the victor. I’m not big on competition, but it was pretty funny to watch five people violently stuff burritos in their faces.

            Not everyone can get on a punk bill with an acoustic guitar. It takes a certain kind of person and a certain kind of playing. I guess Chuck Ragan happens to be one of those people. Formerly of Hot Water Music and Rumbleseat, Chuck currently entertains crowds with his acoustic guitar and harmonica. Not only did he break out a Leatherface cover, but he closed up his set with the Rumbleseat classic “California Burritos.” I was definitely impressed considering I went into his set expecting to be completely disappointed.

            Vena Cava was the pleasant surprise of the night. I saw all the members of the band milling around, but there were a lot of members of bands milling around. I was only able to catch a couple of their songs, which is really disappointing considering they’re one of my new favorite bands to see live: two siblings in a trio makes for great dynamics in the band (Holy shit! Back to the Dils!). I eagerly await the next time I’m able to see them play. Hopefully it will be a full set.

             I really don’t know what to say about seeing Radon live. They played all the songs I was dying to hear and I almost died when I heard them. They’ve released a new record (Metric Buttloads of Rock out on No Idea Records) since the last time I saw them, and they played a couple of songs off that, which was great to see. Everybody there who knew what they were seeing proceeded to go nuts. I mean, what else are you going to do for Radon?

            What really surprised me about this show was the amount of people that left before Radon and Tiltwheel played. Sure, it was weeknight and by that time it was well past midnight, but what was happening in that dirty, smoke-filled warehouse in downtown L.A. was so much more important than sleep.

            By the time Tiltwheel picked up their instruments the party had been going on for quite a while. It’s a good thing they’re a band that’s pretty skilled with those kind of situations. In fact, every time I see them it’s one of those situations. Eh, whatever, they took it home as usual. People were falling all over the place and spilling their drinks and nothing less would have been accepted. Tiltwheel is the ultimate band to close out a long night. They’ve got the driving rock to keep people going, but when the songs are over, those rough but tender melodies will have you ready for a deep sleep. And that’s exactly what I did. Good thing my friend was the one behind the wheel.