It’s not every night that one is moved so much by a set of performances that they spontaneously decide that the events they are witnessing absolutely must be documented, and such was the evening of March 20th, 2015. A friend and I had just gotten off work and decided we were going to catch a show we had heard about that was happening in the No Man’s Land that lies on Venice Boulevard between the 10 Interstate Freeway and Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles. In recent months another venue – Space 42 – had sprouted up in that area and we had both heard of underground shows being hosted there from friends around town. On a whim, we decided to check it out.
We pull off the main road into a little street separated only by a narrow strip of sidewalk from the rest of Venice Boulevard and park a short walk from where we think the venue is. When we get there we are greeted by a guy seated at a plastic fold out table with a cash box in front of him. He appears to be either slightly tipsy or stoned already, we pay the man the entry fee and walk into a “smoking section” that appears to be more like a former back parking lot that has been converted into a cozy spot to smoke cigarettes and lean up against cinder block walls whose possible structural deficiencies are now masked in multiple coats of graffiti, one on top of another.
It was a five band bill that night and we had arrived shortly before the opening act. The flyer had informed us the music was to start at 9. However, as usual at these sorts of venues, no one really seemed to really care about starting a little later and neither did we. We drank our beers and chitchatted with fellow patrons of the concert and watched as the bands set up the PA and the first act put their equipment together on the stage. They were called Pores. They tore into their set with ferocity and their sound aggressive sound boomed and reflected off the concrete floor to be amplified by the resonating drywall of this former storefront or workshop turned DIY performance space to a deafening roar.
They ended and more people began to file into the smoking lot and someone apparently supplied a couple cases of Rolling Rock and Pabst Blue Ribbon to the party so we decide to get our beers as well. More and more people chatted away as the band broke down their gear and the next artist began to set their equipment up on the stage, which was really more just a vacant space on the concrete floor closest to the power outlets. Sashcloth & Axes was the next act. It was a man, a drum machine and a set of sound synthesis gear that I did not recognize and couldn’t describe how it operates either. Tastefully melodic and dark electronic music began to erupt from the speakers once the equipment was set up. People danced and swayed and drank until finally sometime around 11:30 the set was over and the smokers would file outside and the next group would set up their gear.
At this point in the night and after a couple beers, a bathroom visit was necessary and I was somewhat impressed. In a venue of this sort normally you can expect water on the floor and all sorts of grime smeared in places you can’t imagine it could find its way into and heaven forbid the toilet actually flushes. Here we had the expected graffiti on the walls which goes perfectly with the rest of the décor of the venue, a working toilet and sink, and hand soap! One never knows what to expect in some places you find yourself in LA around midnight. After finding another beer, we noticed the next band was getting ready to go on.
Flesh hails from New York and were one of the best groups that night. They are a power trio that plays dark and gloomy surf rock songs that were perfectly fitting for the moment. They slammed into a couple fast tunes with extremely catchy guitar riffs over smoothly grooving bass lines.
All while the drums held the three together tightly. On some songs they slowed to a smooth 50s Gene Vincent-style rockabilly feel. All in all Flesh is one of the more impressive groups I have seen in a while.
The next act was an English trio called House of Light. They consisted of a woman on Synth and Vocals, a man on guitar, and another man on drums. They broke into their set and had a very 80s Post-Punk sound. It felt like a pretty even blend of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Jesus and the Mary Chain throughout most of the set. They sounded very cool and were fitting for the night. After roughly a thirty to forty minute set they gave their thanks, mentioned something about a video release party, and broke down their equipment to make room for the last band of the night.
Anyone who has never seen Terminal A is missing out. It is just that simple. They are a duo that puts on a show that makes you feel alive and angry and blissful all at the same time. On guitar and managing the drum machine is Lee Busch, a brutal guitarist with penchant for smoking on stage.
On vocals is madman Colin Peterson (above), an electrifying performer that you can’t help get caught up in the whirlwind of his energy. The two of them performing live is worth thousands performing alongside them.
All too soon it was over and all of us realized it was 3:00 in the morning and it was time to go home, feeling wonderfully exhausted.