It was a mess, but a good mess when Nylon magazine presented its Nylon Summer Music Tour at the (Fillmore no more) Theater of the Living Arts on Saturday.
Like the sassy mag itself, between videos of an Olsen Twin photo shoot (I think it's Mary Kate, but can we really tell?) and splashy ads for designer flip-flops came marketing-approved alterna-music acts and their distinct crowds.
For instance, Los Angeles' gloomy decadents, She Wants Revenge, held Hot Topic-wearing Goths in thrall, while Nashville's sprightly punks, Be Your Own Pet, drew a scruffier, brightly colored Urban Outfitter crew. As each band played, you could hear sniping from fans of the other band. Can't we all get along in our Diesel denim?
She Wants Revenge and its flinty singer, Justin Warfield, were the longest of tooth (30-plus) where bands were concerned. This crowd respected its elders - ate it up - as Warfield came across sounding like Peter Murphy fronting a Joy Division cover band. That's a compliment. As SWR toyed with plucked bass lines and layered keyboards, its shadowy melodies were wearily romantic; an icy space where baritone Warfield spread his doomy sensual lyrics on tunes such as "Red Flags and Long Nights." It's a shame SWR's new songs, such as "What I Want," sounded like a parody of its best, with yappy vocals and four-on-the-floor rhythms replacing musk for duskiness. Even Dracula screwed up on occasion.
There was nothing lacking in Be Your Own Pet's performance. Snotty, silly singer Jemina Pearl - spiked, pixieish hair, ankle-high athletic socks, shorts - and her crew had a formula. Play hard, fast, spry art-noise that combined the influence of aged punks the Damned and Buzzcocks and some 1960s girl-group melodies into one breakneck mishmash. Have boys in the band shout song titles such as "The Kelly Affair" and "Bummer Time" as their chorus, and you've got your own Pet. That may be an oversimplification, but that's the point. Brilliant.