Live - Lookout! Records 15th Anniversary Weekend Celebration

I arrived at Oakland Airport fresh off the same Jet Blue plane carrying
famed O.J. defense attorney Barry Scheck, only to be met at the gate by
famed O.J.-hater Allison Wolfe, singer for Bratmobile, founder of the
original Ladyfest, and riot grrrl extraordinaire. Quelle clash des
cultures! But this only magnified the fact that I was leaving one world
behind and returning to the enclave of Lookout!-land, a place I know
and love. Started in January of 1988, Lookout! has been a weird, arty,
diverse, poppy, punk-rock bastion ever since. Early bands reflected the
Bay Area's own original and currently inescapable genre: pop-punk. But
what's often forgotten is that the original Lookout! musicians were
reacting against the machismo and uniformity of California hardcore
punk by incorporating Beach Boys melodies and sweet, funny lyrics.
Following the first wave of now legendary Lookout! bands in the 1980s,
like Operation Ivy, Green Day, Crimpshrine, and the Mr. T Experience,
the label worked a second, early/mid-'90s wave of punk bands like The
Screeching Weasel, Groovie Ghoulies, The Smugglers, The Hi Fives, and
queercore stars Pansy Division. From the
late-'90s to the present, the label has become extremely diverse, with
such artists as The Donnas, Ted Leo, Bratmobile, The Pattern, The
Oranges Band, Dr. Frank, The Cost, Black Cat Music, The Enemies, and
many others.

Friday, July 25

Parkside Lounge Private Party, San Francisco

Dr. Frank solo set

The weekend started off with a party at the Parkside Lounge in SF.
Brrr! It was permanent Rime of the Ancient Mariner
up in that Frisco hoss. About 150 of Lookout!'s nearest and dearest
braved the foggy, frigid July evening (don't make
me trot out that Mark Twain quote about the coldest July) to gather,
drink, and watch Dr. Frank perform a short acoustic set. Mike Dirnt of
Green Day stopped by, as did friends from Alternative Tentacles,
Revolver Distribution, Devil In The Woods, Erase Errata, The Aisler's
Set, the Bay Guardian, Cinder and Jeffrey from Cinder Block and Tilt,
and all the staff and bands of Lookout! Dr. Frank, founding
singer/songwriter of The Mr. T Experience, is a gem, among the
wittiest, most amazing songwriters in all of punk. The Trouser Press
entry on MTX begins, "Talk about your unsung heroes..." and Dr. Frank
is that and more. MTX is currently in the studio working on an album to
be released in January, and new faves like "Let's Keep The Freaking Out
To A Minimum" and "Happy Monkeyless Valentine's Day" went over quite
well. The drinking, listening, and visiting, kept on into the wee
hours; then the festivities continued with an after/birthday/party for
Lookout! general manager/co-owner Cathy Bauer. The after-party was
hosted at the Tiki-liscious house that Cathy shares with boyfriend and
Gearhead Records head Mike LaVella. Suffice to say, everyone involved
needed to "sleep in" the next morning.

Saturday, July 26

Great American Music Hall

The Enemies, The Smugglers, Mr. T Experience

The Enemies are real local up-and-comers, with opening spots for
Lagwagon and Alkaline Trio, among others. Their powerfully rocking raw
punk sounds equally at home when played on Live 105 radio or at their
unofficial home, Gilman Street. A super-energetic set had die-hard fans
up front fist-in-the-air-ing it. Jason, or "NIP-PLE" as he is sometimes
known, the Enemies' Young Ones-looking drummer, reminded label prez
Christopher Appelgren of Mike Dirnt, specifically in the way Jason
believes in, loves, and supports The Enemies' frontman, Mike, just as
Mike Dirnt
believes in, loves, and supports Billie Joe. The Smugglers are
Vancouver, British Columbia's rock & roll kings, who
truly put on the most unbelievable show most of us have seen. Their
last release was 1999's Rosie, and most of the audience hadn't seen
them in several years, if at all. But as soon as the music started, the
entire room pushed to the front to dance, dance, dance, yowsah. I went
up to the balcony to watch the shimmying from above. For those of you
who have never been to the Great American Music Hall, it has a
1890s-via-1970s vibe, kind of like "Hello, Dolly" meets a fern bar. So
the carved wooden mouldings of the balcony, the chandeliers, the retro
touches, and the mod-suited, jumping, smiling, screaming, wailing
Smugglers made the performance really timeless. You could imagine
seeing them at any time during the past 40 years since garage and surf
rock collided. Singer Grant Lawrence is a host of CBC's national radio
show, "Radio Sonic," and is one of the very best punk rock frontmen, bar
none; he graciously stepped aside and asked Dr. Frank to join Nick,
Beez, Graham, and Dreamboat Dave Carswell onstage for their cover of
Frank's tune, "Coffee, Tea or Me." He also threatened a Queers cover,
"My Cunt's a Cunt" but stopped short of that; instead they played
"Bishy Bishy" by request, their ode to a personal saga of having
diarreah in Japan. No quarter, no peace. Check out the non-stop royal
badness at But the stars of the night were The
Mr. T Experience, with their two cute new additions, Bobby and Ted.
Bobby's mysterious past includes a WRESTLING PERSONA: "Dangerous Dylan"
(he still has the embroidered "DD" on his Converse to prove it)! Ted
and Bobby added their vocals, keyboard, guitar, and bass to longtime
drummer Jym's backbeat perfection. Dr. Frank started out the set with
his much-debated old-school classic, "Swallow Everything," a metaphor
concerning culture consumption, critics, and oral sex. Mixing in new
songs from the forthcoming album like "She Runs Out When The Money
Does," "London," and "Everybody Knows You're Cryin'," the set also
rewarded fans with the hits they love from past albums like 1995's
classic Love Is Dead and 1997's Revenge is Sweet and So Are You. It was
a packed, triumphant night. After the show, we took a million group
pictures and staggered off to slumber.

Sunday, July 27

Great American Music Hall

Communique, The Oranges Band, The Pattern, Ted Leo

Communique is a new band featuring ex-members of Berkeley punk heroes
American Steel, also Lookout! alumni. Their February release, A
Crescent Honeymoon
, has been gaining attention nationally; look for
their video, hopefully
coming soon to MTV2's Subterranean. They are a special, talented group
and their set showed all their charisma and promise. The Oranges Band
are "The Best Band in Baltimore," according to the Baltimore City
Paper. And despite repeated critical comparisons to The Strokes, they
have yet to display any celebrity attitude or date an "Angel." Roman,
Dave, Dan and Tim were short guitarist Virat the Viruouso for this
show, so their friend Art ably filled in. Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio
was in the house to check them out and, like everyone else, he thought
they were great. Lookout! founder and webmaster for Lookout! and Green
Day, Patrick Hynes, said he liked the live show even more than the
record. Oranges are definitely a pop band of note and substance. Fresh
off their big Siren Fest gig, The Pattern gives Lookout! poobah
Christopher Appelgren and label bookkeepper Andy Asp a chance to feel
the love, always giving much more than they take. Recently named
"Biggest Flirt in The East Bay" by the East Bay Express, Chrisser
shakes his ass like he's lost in a Mystikal video ("Watch yourself!").
I'll never forget Lois Maffeo discussing sexy singers with Molly
Neuman, her sometime drummer/Lookout! VP/Bratmobile drummer/Donnas
manager/Chris' wife, saying, "Um, have you ever seen your husband
perform?" The Pattern dedicated "Finger Us" to Beez of the Smugglers;
their set had all the ladies shaking and the gents clapping. I remember
the first time Dr. Frank ever heard them practice, before they had ever
played a show, much less Reading, Leeds and all the rest they've now
done. He overheard them in their shared practice space and he said, "I
heard Chrisser's new band; it's amazing. It's like The Stooges fronted
by Chris!" Ted Leo is riding a huge wave of critical and popular
adoration after putting in 10+ years of hard touring with a variety of
bands. It's a great time for the New Jersey rudeboy, and his sincere
appreciation for everything Lookout! has done on his behalf shined
through in his performance for the 15th ann. Ted is recording of an EP
of new material including covers by Style Council, The Jam and others
that is set to be released in October. Everyone was blown away by Ted's
consistently intense and personal shows. Jesse Michaels of Operation
Ivy and Common Rider was dancing along with everyone else in the room
as Ted performed all the favorites from his recent album, Hearts of
, named after the Ghanaian soccer team. The floor was shaking from
hundreds of dancing fans as this sincere, unique, hyper-talented artist
closed out the 15th anniversary weekend. Hopefully he will be
performing at the 20th! Happy birthday, Lookout!

Source: Tristin Laughter

Live - Lookout! Records 15th Anniversary Weekend Celebration