Rock in Pedro
Carsex/The Planet Moon/Mecannum
Location: The Sardine. San Pedro, CA
Article written and conceived by G. Scott Hughes
I’m always looking for new locations to see live music. I have had several opportunities to go there in the past but just didn’t get around to going to Peedro to check it out. Crazy, right?
Yet, I couldn’t resist the pull of this particular line-up.
Upon entry, I was greeted by a shabby, cool looking bar with subdued lighting and regulars watching Basketball and in various states of inebriation. I walked past them, towards the double doors and walked into the performance space. This is the medulla oblongata of The Sardine. The décor was a bit on the creepy side with clown dolls and crying clown pictures occupying the walls near the stage. I walked out to the back end of the establishment and was rewarded with a cool hang out area with excellent tunes being spun by DJ Joe Radio
Meccanum was a mystery. I had never seen them before. As always, I keep an open mind when I see a band perform for the first time. & yes, they delivered a huge sound. Their sound reminds me when I picked up a hitch hiker who was from Oklahoma and the guy was a bit abrasive about being thrust into an environment that was completely alien to him. The fact that he had not eaten anything in 48 hours gave him a surreal edge that was cool and frightening all at the same time. Yet, as I treated him to lunch, mostly because our collective gastrointestinal tracts were having actual conversations in my truck, As we ate our meals, I came to like the guy. I even began to understand him a bit. I was proud to get this person where he needed to be. And afterwards, it felt great that I had shown kindness to a complete stranger. This gave me a sense of accomplishment for quite some time. And I hoped that we would cross paths again in the near future.
The Planet Moon has a unique hybrid sound. Imagine if Nebula cohabitated with Pink Floyd in a trailer home in Cathedral City. The result would be a joyous sound that sends you on an interstellar trip to the center of your mind. The cacophony prelude that arose from the guitars gave one the feeling of being inside a spacecraft while the engines were warming up. Then..BAM! We are effortlessly flung into the cosmos. The stars seem like blurred squiggles as they streak past our eyes. The audience comes to grips with what has just occurred and we all float calmly in a zero-gravity environment.
Then the tunes kick in, settling us all down for a wild ride. Sinking Ship is one helluva opening song. The frenetic pace of the song pulls you in and never lets up. I would totally call this their “Flag Planter”. Basically, this means that the song in question is most memorable. Think along the lines of “Kick Out The Jams” by The MC5. Or “Undone” by Weezer. Maybe even “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers. But I digress….
As for myself, I was really digging in and feeling their music. We all have experienced this phenomenon on more than one occasion. Where the line between audience and artist blurs and we become one living, breathing entity. Existing merely note to note. Phrase to phrase. Song to song. When the sound guy harshly upends this glorious communion by telling them that their set will be cut short, it feels like Thanos has just snapped his fingers. Despite this, The Planet Moon carried on and concluded the abbreviated set like champions.
I have seen Carsex a lot in the past year. Perhaps more than I should have.That is not a complaint. These guys, when in free flight, are an absolute joy to behold. The levels they crank out from their pragmatic gear simply defy the laws of nature.If you haven’t seen them yet, (Really? What’s wrong with you?) I highly recommend that you bring a good pair of hearing protectors. Trust me, you’re going to need them. You can thank me later.
In the eye of this overdriven, cataclysmic vortex that is Carsex, stands a one Mr. Nigel Burk. He is, indeed, a modern-day street walkin’ cheetah with a heart full of napalm. The stage, no matter how large or small, will not hold this man. He is beyond such notions as he cavorts and confronts the audience. Yet, as he plies his trade, there is a caring, thoughtful individual deep within. He does not smash heads into the pavement when he performs. He loves his audience with passion and also, without judgement.
It is a firm belief of mine that in order for rock n’ roll to work correctly, the music needs to have a bit of menace deep within the cockles of its’ soul. And Carsex has menace, aggression and musicianship by the metric ton. Their set-closing song, Ride or Die, careens towards its' violent conclusion like Romain Grosjean towards a Formula One circuit sidewall. They leave the audience awash in feedback, brutalized and wanting more. Forget the chicken soup, Carsex is nitromethane for the soul.