Last weekend local punk legends ruled Ventura and Oxnard in celebration of the 1st Annual Nardcore Toilet Bowl, the punk rock bowling tournament, so-named as a play on the 1983 Ill Repute seven-inch record Oxnard — Land of No Toilets. Before claiming all 32 lanes at Wagon Wheel Bowl in Oxnard last Sunday, two generations of local punk fans took over Billy O’s Bar & Grill in Ventura at the official pre-party Saturday night. The all-star show featured full sets by special “surprise” guests Oxnard Nardcore godfathers Ill Repute and fellow 1980s Mystic Records label mates from Woodland Hills, The Grim. Original Ill Repute drummer Carl Valdez stepped in for two songs at the shoulder-packed event that also featured local bands Shattered Badge, Stop Breathing! and Stab Your Back (who will open for the Dead Kennedys on Dec. 4 at the Ventura Theater).
The Oxnard punk odyssey continued after midnight for those quick enough to make the move for The Dirty in Ventura, where another Nardcore legend, Agression, made an appearance, playing as if they had never stopped. With so many representatives of the old scene coming out to support the event, it was a good sign that the new annual community event will be here to stay.
After more than three years playing locally to enthusiastic fans and receiving critical praise, Camarillo’s pop-rock masters The Grandmas are finally releasing a full-length CD this month, appropriately titled Real Fun. Although the timing is awkward, as the band’s bass player, Chris Niles, will be leaving in December for NorCal, the polished studio recordings give due justice to the band’s kinetic live set. It’s something to hold us over just in case we don’t see the band perform for a while after the release show on Nov. 27 at Billy O’s with Ojai’s Marquee.
Lead guitarist Austin Knect says confidently, “We feel Real Fun finally represents what The Grandmas can do.” The record certainly captures the band’s signature sound: a danceable, sunny blend of classic rock and alternative with a comic twist, produced masterfully by respected local engineer Jon DeBaun. Despite an uncertain future for the band, no one is calling it quits. Knect promises simply, “November 27 at Billy O’s marks the end of all haters.” The album is available at shows and is downloadable in its entirety on the band’s Facebook page.
This Saturday, Nov. 26, at The Dirty, those eager for something a little different can catch the much anticipated debut show by local band Black Love, a three-piece featuring David Cotner (vocals and other instrumentation), Tony Cicero (drums and percussion) and Sergio Segovia (bass and electronics). Dealing exclusively in the dark but triumphant themes of annihilated love, the band uses a unique blend of non-traditional rock instrumentation in its keen focus on a prominent rhythm section. Imagine a heartbroken but vengeful Nick Cave in his The Birthday Party years after a six-month, soul-searching voyage through the Amazon. Or as Cotner describes it, “primitive, disorienting hard rock — something that’s between an Appalachian snake handling revival and a lighthouse crumbling and re-building itself in 4/4 time.” But don’t take his word for it; visit www.blackloveglobal.com/ for a taste.
Sounding the 805 is Ventura County’s only biweekly local music column. If you have a tip, a suggestion, a complaint, some dish or just a kind word, shoot Chris Mastrovito an e-mail.