Thursday, October 20, 2011
New York City's "The Nuclears" Fly To Los Angeles
The Nuclears. I’m flying this band in from New York City to Los Angeles. And trust me, they’re worth every dime I spent.
I found out about the Nuclears through the rock n roll nightlife kingpin of New York City, Kelle Calco. He discovered them, booked them for a show, and wrote about them in his blog. I read amazing things about their front man, Nick Vivid. It was an old blog entry that I stumbled upon after the show was over. I felt very unfortunate that I missed the show. I waited for weeks to see if I could catch them again at another date somewhere in the city. Eventually, I caught an announcement that they were playing at Trash Bar, a famous rock n roll dive in Brooklyn. And in that cold intimate New York night, I put a cozy jacket on, walked over the Williamsburg bridge and decided to see for myself if they live up to my expectation.
I reached the gates of Trash Bar. I saw a guy with brown hair and a coat. He’s the guy from the picture in Kelle’s blog. He’s Nick Vivid. It’s weird when you meet someone you anticipated for a while. Nick Vivid isn’t a celebrity, he isn’t an established high selling act, but I got a little starstruck when I met him. It felt like I understood Nick a little more than anyone else in that bar. I trust Kelle Calco, and I trust anyone he vouches for. Meeting Nick Vivid might not feel very special to anyone else, but it did to me.
After a hand shake and a cool conversation, I went inside, had a couple of beers, the lights went dim and the ceremony was about to begin. They started playing, and naturally, when I see any band I’m in my very speculating “critic mode”. Folding my arms and preparing the speech in my head about what they lack and what they need to do to get better. Until they reached a number called “Eclipso”.
The Sabbath-Influenced Eclipso has a very ominous intro. The intro has a powerful and haunting evolution in it’s progression. Then it erupts into a sonic avalanche of chaos and doom that blasts the entire crowd to the wall. After a good fix of that, the song decrescendos into a beautiful outro that mesmerizes you and touches your heart. The outro evolves into a feeling that creates a sense of mission, the guitars arc to a powerful sense of drama, then finally, a climatic resolve.
I really wanted to keep an impression in front of Nick that I was composed, but during that number, I couldn’t help but lose my shit. After the show was done, I went outside and gave the band a huge thank you. Mick Maverick, Brian Maverick along with Bobby Atoms were outside. Very cool trio. “Yeah, we wrote Eclipso after stealing from 10 Sabbath songs”, Atoms joked. We had a cool conversation and I made a bunch of new friends.
I went back home to check out the rest of their songs and live videos online. Nick Vivid is someone who really takes after Iggy Pop. The Nuclears are very rooted in punk and rock n roll. And by rock n roll I mean the Chuck Berry kind. Yes, they’re that rooted. Those roots are very clear in songs like Pay Yer Dues and Fast Cars and Loud Guitars. One of my favorites is the interestingly composed The Hair Stays You Go, with Brian Maverick on Vocals. The Hair Stays has a long and fun jam session in the middle which takes you on a fast ride. I love it when songs are unpredictable like that. Wherever that band is headed, as long they have those roots, they’re on the right track.
I visited New York City again for a documentary I’m doing about the post-CBGBs rock scene in New York. I interviewed The Nuclears to do commentary. I was very impressed by how enlightening and insightful they are. The sense of humor that Mick, Brian and Bobby have is hilarious. And when I visited their apartment, I got to see the enormous “work space” that Nick Vivid built for himself. It’s a huge wall of audio machines everywhere. It looks like NASA. And while Atoms was watching reruns of Star Trek, Brain and Mick were being jolly hosts to their guests as Nick, like a workaholic, presses buttons in front of his NASA station doing god knows whatever the hell he’s busy with.
I can’t even begin to emphasize how rare Nick Vivid is. He airs a 24/7 broadcast of live concert bootlegs on the internet for free. He helps other bands all the time. He runs his own label and his own recording studio. And he’s a smart super literate rock buff. To me, he is one of the biggest assets any scene is blessed to have.
When I came to LA, I met a great parade of diehards that I really wanted to bring together. More importantly, I wanted to bridge the LA and New York scenes together. Kelle booked Hammered Satin in New York City last year. Brett Hellings of the Nasty Souls was in New York a few weeks ago too. Fellow New York Rockers Nathanial John, Jack Nightrain and Davey Dynamite moved to LA earlier this year along with Blitch 66 and myself. And now, The Nuclears are gonna be here for a week to do a show. It’s all coming together. And I see big things happening to two local scenes of two rock n roll capitals that’s stretching out to both sides of the frontier.
Monday the 24th of October, my comrade Blitch booked The Nuclears at The Dragonfly. Along with Nothing Sacred and Blitch's very own project, The Americana Deth Cult. The Nuclears are only gonna be here for a week so don’t miss it. This is one of the very significant events where both coasts are coming together. I want you all to be a part of it.