I Scream Social: Roky Erickson's Psychy-Surreal Kiddie Show
Zombies, vampires, howls of insanity, cranked up amps and the Fuck Yeah Fest guys-- not your average romp at Chuck E. Cheese.
But when the Texas psych-soul crooner Roky Erickson brought his bizarre and amazing "after school" Ice Cream Social party to the Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock on Thursday (billed as a free jamboree "for the kids") it brought out a bigger swarm of screaming youngsters than we've ever seen at the popular play place (which happens to be just up the street, on Colorado Blvd.)
Of course, these weren't just any munchkins, but the offspring of some of the rockinest parental units in Los Angeles. Badass bassist Corey Parks and her son (above), Josh Homme and Brody Dalle with their little strawberry-haired shortcake, writer/burlesque babe Hope Urban with her daughter, food designer Claire Crespo and her cupcake cutie, our fellow LA Weekly scribe Jonny Whiteside (who, by the way, has a swingin new soiree called The Messaround at Viva Cantina that any Erickson fan should definitely bop in) and many more touseled/tatted types and their tots, Nightranger included.
Ol' Roky sounded great and seemed to be having a good time playing for a younger (surely less attentive) crowd than the night before. Not sure of his mental state these days or if he was really absorbing just how miniature most of his audience was during the set, but he was pretty bold to allow the young 'uns to ask questions. "Why is that Zombie song so loud?" a 5-year- old was overheard asking. We didn't catch the singer's answer, as we gotta admit, we were pretty busy socializing with old pals, now fellow parents.
Erickson, backed by recent collabs Okkervil River, didn't do anything too out there or inappropriate as some might have expected, but he definitely didn't "play to the kids" as many bands do during group gigs for children (such as Kidrockers). We take our mini-me to pretty much any family friendly music event we can find and they're usually filled with rockin' versions of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" or an acoustic set of the band's material or at every least, some decibel and tempo reduction. Erickson put in a spirited performance busting out gems like "Two Headed Dog, " and "Night of the Vampire" that we're guessing were just as loud and freaky as his grown up gig. They gave out earplugs at the door.
Our lil' scene queen didn't dig the blaring sounds so much (well, except for the Little Richard cover) but she have did fun chasing another little girl in a pink and orange tu-tu around, eating free ice cream and following along with Dallas Clayton's reading of "An Awesome Book." By the way, check this guy out. He does readings around the country and gives (not sells) books away when he does. The art is great (with a very indie rock aesthetic) and the ideas he's spreading are important. Support him. He is awesome.
With a few exceptions Roky's Eagle Rock rager was not really for the kids, but for the grown-ups (with kids). It wasn't all mamas and papas, either... there were lots of aunts and uncles in the house. Rock icon/DJ Howie Pyro pushed that definition a bit; his "kids" were two grown--if rather baby faced--men.
SIDENOTE: Pyro's part of an event this Sunday, that fans of the absurd (Roky Erickson as a jolly ol' St. Nick type is absurd right?), might want to attend. A rare live show from cult icon Goddess Bunny at Erotic City at La Cita. Best known for the appearance in Marilyn Manson's "Dope Show" video and for this mesmerizing YouTube classic, GB will be doing her "80's hits(?)" at the club where Pyro spins. This is a wild club night and she/he aint no Easter Bunny so (obviously) leave the kiddies -and your inhibitions- at home.
More in next week's Nightranger column and slideshow.