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  KIDNEY THIEVES w/ Vagenius, Stolen Babies, and Lunachild  
  The Roxy  
  Los Angeles, CA  
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A Thursday night is a good time to make the trip down to the Sunset Strip, and at least it isn't the weekend, right? The Strip is usually laden with all types, including pseudo-hookers, hipsters, old rock-gods has-beens and never-weres, and the typical L.A. scene. Tonight, however, would be a completely different story as far as the entertainment went. The Roxy is obviously one of the most famous spots in L.A. and usually holds large crowds of testosterone filled shirtless and sweat-covered men. But not tonight. Not for the industrial show.

The Roxy is a nice sized club now that the seating has been removed from the back of the space. It fits a good-sized crowd easily. The opening band, Lunachild, was already performing to the fifty or so people that were there when i got in. The sparseness of the crowd was a welcome change on The Strip. Most of the people in attendance at this point did not seem pleased with their music, however. I, on the other hand, thought there was something really exciting about the band. They rock out for one, and they used a lot of different techniques to attain their style. The only reference point that I came to while watching the band was early Sonic Youth with some turntablism ala Fog to balance out the intensity. Their songs were well-crafted, each featuring long sonic outbursts gradually declining to tasteful down-tempo beats, and then rising again to a climax. The sound at the Roxy was borderline during this band's set due to the sonic volume and texture they presented. Unfortunately, I only caught a couple songs; but I did pick up their free CD and hope to see them again soon in town.

The second band of the night was called Stolen Babies and there were actually music industry-types hanging around to watch them. The most impressing thing about the band was their opening film, which featured the scene from Ghostbusters 2 when the baby is stolen off the building's ledge. Otherwise, their music reminded me mostly of all those bad soft metal songs that Fishbone did back in the early 1990's, albiet in this case supercharged with crunching riffs and non-sensical song writing. Of course, Stolen Babies are a little harder than Black Flowers. The band, as individuals, were really talented and sounded great; but the female singer's macho antics and real lack of a rock star stage personality (not that she didn't try) along with the lack of true direction in the music was really a let down.

Vagenius was the next band to take the stage and no one really knew what to think after the first two bands. They had a good-size young local following and I realized why almost instantly when the singer, made up in complete Eighties garb with neon colors and huge white slanted sunglasses, took the stage. She also had a mini-keyboard around her shoulder and had attitude like the early Madonna we all remember and love. The rest of the band consisted of a drummer, guitar, and more synth. The music was extremely different than the previous bands' drawing from the success of such bands as I am the World Trade Center and other such throw-back bands. If you have ever seen I am the WTC play live though, you have to agree they are pretty boring on stage but the music has always made up for it. Vagenius, however, was the complete package, and it showed in sound and presentation. The line at their merchandise booth afterwards was the biggest of the night and even I coughed up the $5 to get a CD. I certainly look forward to seeing them play again soon.

The Kidney Theives opening music began building the tension as smoke billowed out from behind the curtains. The opening drum beats and syncopated guitar set the mood for their lighter-more upbeat brand of rock infused with an industrial backbone. This was clearly what most the hometown crowd had been waiting for the whole night, although several of the youngsters in the audience had since left due to the late set-time. They presented many songs from the Zerospace record as well as Trickster, while showing the growth of the band with new unreleased songs. I thought the sound was fine but the performance seemed a bit flat after a while. The blame can be placed on the set list order and I thought it was moving along well until back to back down-tempo songs took the life out of the crowd and band. Besides losing momentum half way through the set, I thought this performance was a decent one and having seen them play before, can still recommend them to anyone interested in their music.

It was one wild night that really can't be summed up with one despcription. Maybe Stolen Babies and Kidney Theives could play together and Vagenius and Lunachild on another bill (doubt that). The lack of a cohesive sound throughout the night, however, was the downfall of this show on a whole. I do look forward to seeing most of these bands again soon and hope to see some of these newer bands gain well-deserved local followings.

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