Words by: Juan Perez
Photos by: Taylor Wong
As we near closer & closer to the end of 2021 it is clear that Pretty But Wicked doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. Already responsible for so many great shows this year, Wednesday night was no different. Many talented musicians gathered at Zebulon, celebrating the re-release of Fire Of Love. Going back to 40 years ago, it was the debut album from legendary post-punk band The Gun Club. The main act, Sex Beat, are a group with one time drummer, Terry Graham. On this night they performed songs from the aforementioned record in it’s honor. But, more on that later.
A new band being showcased at a PBW show is to be expected. Setting the tone for the night for their first show ever, Rugburn will be a name to know. This is a band that definitely could have played at CBGB’s in the late 70’s, early 80’s. Perfect blend of that early punk sound and modern post-hardcore. From the beginning, the vocalist brought a charismatic presence to the stage. Take bands like Jefferson Airplane, The B-52’s, Cat Scan and Shopping, mix them in a blender, you get Rugburn. Check out their EP “Bitch Goddess” on Bandcamp, now!
I gotta be honest about this next band. Going in, I didn’t know too much about Shark Toys. All I heard was that they have been an established L.A act over the years. There’s just too many these days it’s easy for a few to slip through the cracks. But, that’s the beauty of the music scene we got here. First time playing a live show since 2019 comes with a little bit of pressure. The first song started off at a slow pace, a little off-putting considering the previous band ripped it. It didn’t take long for them to kick it up a few notches and raise the intensity with each song. Just think The Dead Milkmen meets DEVO. If you were like me, who didn’t know anything about this band going in, they definitely won you over like they won me over. Kudos to them. Can’t wait to catch them at more shows in the future.
Now, for the pièce de résistance–Terry Graham took the stage with the rest of Sex Beat, thanking the crowd for attending the show and keeping the love & spirit for the record alive. Other members of Sex Beat included Terri Wahl (Red Aunts), Sharif Dumani (Exploding Flowers) and Lee Busch (Terminal A). This quartet played their parts throughout the whole set while a different singer took vocal duty for every song. Sharing the mic, which was wiped down after each use of course, were Colin Peterson (Terminal A), Sarah Schimek, Jesse Michaels (Operation Ivy), Gitane Demone (Christian Death), Bonnie Bloomgarden (Death Valley Girls), Emily Rose Epstein (Emily Rose and The Rounders), Heather Crowjane (Egrets on Egort) and Brian Small (The Hangmen), respectfully.
Right from the get-go, it was apparent that just about everyone was here to witness this. How often do so many legends, past & present, get together like this and perform in a small venue?! Almost immediately, the crowd began to shove & push each other, forming the first circle pit of the night. Singing along to their favorite songs, sweating on each other, screaming in each other’s ears. You forget we’ve been in a pandemic for a year and a half now. Each person coming out to lend their voice gave it everything they have. This is equally as exciting for them as it is to the people in the crowd, being fans of The Gun Club as well. Some even being long time fans who found inspiration from TGB in their youth. The backing band, on point for every song. At one point, it felt like a religious experience being front & center for this punk-rock extravaganza. I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other music scene.
Go follow Pretty But Wicked on Instagram for updates on any future shows. They have some really great ones planned already and I’m sure they have some other things up their sleeve before the year ends.