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Bloodflowers cut into the first song like it's a Porterhouse, they've all been starving, and all they have is a jagged plastic knife. Like heavy metal, but it's less predictable ’cause it's mostly three times as fast, but it's not speed metal, either. There's a boogie addiction but the playing's more complex than anything spouted by Quo or Foghat. Then there are tunes like "Wishing Well," which could stand with nearly anything from those last two, or from Deep Purple. Nine songs are wound up and spun over the plate with such fierce conviction that nearly every Soda Bar noggin is jamming along. Chatting afterwards with leader/singer/guitarist Rey Hoover, I sense the gnawing hunger he's endured, waiting for the perfect collaborators. It was the same hunger on fans' faces when Bloodflowers pulled the plug.

The mutual appreciation going down between the B'flowers and the L.A.-based Cigarette Bums is sweet. That the former could play multiple circles around the latter misses the point — the Bums are as passionate about pure, delicious mod/punk tones as the B'flowers are about well-oiled, steel-booted mayhem. Charismatic maestro/guitarist/wailer Steven Slaughter rocks a sailor shirt a la Jonathan Richman, and the band's set, which is in process (sax player can't make it and there's a new drummer and second guitarist, Ryan and Heimlich), is greeted with alacrity. Creative chutzpah compensates for any gaps in tightness or polish. Like when Ryan fools me with all his effects into thinking there's a Farfisa in the house and jumps offstage to shake it (the tambourine, his hips) like his own band's one-man booster club. Or like it's ’66 and we're in a scene that got cut from Blow Up, the one that would have been right after the Yardbirds.

  • Concert: Bloodflowers and Cigarette Bums
  • Date: December 30
  • Venue: Soda Bar
  • Seats: Up close
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