Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, February 25, 2003
THE DAY THAT LOS ANGELES MET ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS....I received a great re-cap a couple days ago of Sunday's Rocket From The Tombs show in Los Angeles from our LA correspondent. I decided to post it in full, since it's unlikely we'll be able to see this reunion ourselves. Here goes:

"Last night I saw the first performance since 1975 of Rocket From the Tombs at UCLA, featuring David Thomas, Gene O'Connor, Craig Bell and Richard Lloyd of Television in place of Peter Laughner. I think we all know the background vital stats via Chris. I have to hope that it was not a one-off (that they tour and play some club gigs) as it was one of the more HEAVY transcendent rock (punk/proto-metal????) events in recent memory. Super powerful and over the top. The avant-rock/noise breakdown during "30 Seconds" was mesmerizing with Gene and Richard's dueling guitars, as was Gene singing "Ain't It Fun," Craig Bell rocking the mic on a great version of "Muckraker" getting just right the Jean Genie vibe and Roxy Music/Hogan's Heroes "germanicisms," Gene's constant flow of awesome, mega J. Williamson style riffing, and of course Crocus being Crocus now minus the curly mop on his head and long coat but a BIG presence nevertheless. I can't remember which song now, but Thomas gave an off-hand shout out to Hawkwind as an inspiration (was CLE not one of thee biggest bastions of US Hawkwind fans c. 71-75? -- I guess most of the 1,000 copies UA sold were in the midwest).

Lloyd was great placed in a pretty hard to fill (unfillable, really) role. The Television connection was appropriate -- I doubt we will be seeing the "Poor Circulation" (i.e. the awesome R. Hell-era) Television live again and the existent video footage from Terry Ork's loft confirms that the Hell incarnation was one of the most exciting combos of the last several decades. It was weird, Lloyd playing with RFTT, a band that he last shared a bill with for two nights at the Piccadilly in '75.

We were up front and center and it was very weird having one of your favorite bands playing songs that have become DNA code from listening/obsessing to the RFTT tapes for the last decade and a half. Kind of one of those "what if I was transported to 1975 what would I want to see" moments. I dont know if everyone would concur with how good I thought it was -- filthy lucre it wasn't. I am assuming that others agreed as quite a few people took off after RFTT played and did not stick around for the Pere Ubu set - the thought crossed my mind as well. Understandable, but ultimately a mistake nevertheless. Afterwards, the whole thing was strange in that it happened at all - and now."