Where was everybody on Monday night? Because if you weren't at Spaceland, you missed the highest energy live show I've seen since, well, since the last time the Mint Chicks rolled through L.A., when they opened for The Avengers in 2004. The Mint Chicks, from New Zealand, capture the frenzied energy of the early L.A. punk scene bands and take it in their own surprising, jazz-influenced direction. They are now absolutely one of my favorite live bands and I danced and screamed through their entire ferocious set, occasionally looking around in disbelief at the Silver Lake audience which stubbornly refused to fucking MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!
The singer and guitarist are wild men, leaping off the amps and drums, launching themselves off the stage monitors, jumping into the audience, rolling on the floor and generally risking bodily injury (to themselves and the audience) throughout the set, all the while pounding out the kind of herky-jerky, lightning fast punk that I love. When was the last time you worried about being stabbed by a guitar or knocked on the head by a swung microphone? That kind of audience confrontation hasn't been around for sometime now and the Mint Chicks pull it off beautifully. It might sound like chaos, but it's focused and purposeful.
I chatted briefly with some of the Mint Chicks outside the club and they revealed that they were fans of early L.A. punk bands like the Germs and Black Flag and tried to bring that kind of energy to their live shows. I reassured them that they had succeeded, admirably.
Here's a streaming MP3 by the Mint Chicks from the South by S/W website. It's MUCH mellower sounding than they are live, but it was the only MP3 I could find:
The Mint Chicks - Opium Of The People
They have a new CD out and are currently on tour, so please check them out if you have the opportunity. And don't forget to MOVE!
Alice's post script: The Mint Chicks are opening for Guitar Wolf at the L.A. Knitting Factory TONIGHT (Tues, March 15) and will do four separate shows in New York (lucky!!!) starting on March 21. So GO!