Thelonious Monster and Xu Xu Fang, The Echo, 17 August 2009
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saw Bob Forrest and Thelonious Monster numerous times at Club Lingerie, with
Anthony Kiedis sometimes rooting them on in front. Thelonious Monster
has been inactive for five years. But Bob Forrest began working
alongside Dr. Drew as a drug counselor on two of VH-1's hit series, Celebrity
Rehab and Sober House. Interest was piqued, and the band regrouped for
the Vans Warped Tour.
But first, they gave us an intimate warm-up at The Echo. Drummer
Pete Weiss relaxed, stripped down to his undies, and got ready to play.
this Thelonious Monster performance at The Echo was filmed. Called
"Bob And The Monster", the film is a feature documentary directed by
award-winning producer Keirda Bahruth (We Live in Public, 2009 Sundance
Grand Jury Prize). It felt good to see Bob and Thelonious Monster perform
again. This was Lisa's first time seeing them, as she lived in West
Virginia when we went to see The Monster.
set list at Bob's feet as The Monster roars through their songs
and the Monster" chronicles the story of Bob Forrest, from his days fronting
Thelonious Monster, through his life-threatening struggle with addiction, to
his triumph and transformation into an influential drug and alcohol
counselors on television with Dr. Drew.
show was their first in 5 years, a surprise gig featuring a pretty
impressive line-up of LA punk veterans, including: Mike Martt (Tex & The
Horseheads, Steve Earle), Zander Schloss (Circle Jerks, Two Free Stooges)
and Dix Denny (The Weirdos), bassist Dallas Don Burnet (Plain Wrap, 3D
Picnic, Lutefisk), and drummer Pete Weiss.
Monster sounded about the same as they did in the days of Club Lingerie,
although not as discordant or effed up. Bob didn't prowl the stage
like a caged animal, and there were less stories, although still quite
entertaining. And none of this mattered. They sounded good, and
one had the sense that the audience was smiling from the performance.
watching Thelonious Monster for the first time in decades wasn't enough of a
treat, Xu Xu Fang took the stage in low blue light, playing its gauzy
orchestral hypnopsych-gaze sound that we love so much.
If I were to play in an already-existing rock band in Los
Angeles, I'd pick Xu Xu Fang. I love the whole mood and vibe that they
have, and I'd like to think that my sparse psychedelic ambient playing would
fit in well - guitar or keyboards.
deep droning layered music creates a beautiful atmosphere, augmented by the
low blue lights and numerous candles. I wanted to somehow capture this
on "film", no matter how challenging the low lighting was for my camera.
Bobby Tamkin began the band in 1999 (I saw them back around then as well,
although they were different then), but Barbara Cohen has been singing for
several years. I would have, possibly have, taken more photos of the rest of the band,
but alas, the little camera that could, my little Leica compact camera, doesn't have much of a zoom.
Thelonious Monster and Xu Xu Fang at The Echo, August 2009
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