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The return of the day of the Locust

Breaking out the bug suits one more time

Bug to the future: The Locust’s 21st-century insect costumes.
Bug to the future: The Locust’s 21st-century insect costumes.

“I just want to change the way people look at music, or maybe just destroy it in general.” That’s The Locust singer Justin Pearson, who also heads up the band’s record label Three One G. The celebrated noise rockers are unpacking their hardly-used 21st century insect costumes for a short California tour that kicks off December 7 in Santa Ana and runs through a December 11 date in Fresno, including a December 8 appearance at downtown’s House of Blues.

The Locust and Sonido De La Frontera

  • Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
  • House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Since 2002, the insectoid stage outfits worn by the Locust have been created by fashion designer Ben Warwas. “The first outfits I did were green, with masks that had mesh over the eyes” he says. “For a while, the eye coverings were white, but they discovered that stage lights would completely blind them, so I made the eyes black. The second set I did was green and red, then I did some white ones, a grey set, and the ones they wear now are aqua and fake fur.”

Warwas says the band occasionally commissions emergency replacements. “A few masks have been stolen at shows. Now I make two sets of each outfit, so they can have a spare if something happens, or if the clothes get too stinky...it gets really hot inside them. They also travel with the previous outfits, in case anything happens.”

For a while, even Robin, the woman working the merch booth, wore the same bug costume as the band. “I received mixed reactions nightly, some more amusing than others,” she told the Reader via email. “I quickly got initiated to a small dose of some of the shit they’ve dealt with throughout the years. In Budapest, a city I wouldn’t describe as sober, a guy grabbed my boobs to make sure I was a girl. There were nights in Europe when the guys were concerned for my safety.”

After their 2007 New Erections full-length, The Locust essentially went on hiatus. Guitarist-drummer Gabe Serbian co-founded a new band in 2009, Rats Eyes, with John Cota (formerly of Hostile Comb-Over), Jason Blackmore (Sirhan Sirhan), and James Armbrust (formerly of Louis XIV). Then 2012 saw the release of Molecular Genetics from the Gold Standard Labs, a 44-track Locust compilation from Anti Records (sister imprint to the band’s one-time label Epitaph Records). Early the following year, having been inactive for nearly five years, they reunited to play I’ll Be Your Mirror, a London music fest headlined by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Grizzly Bear.

In 2014, Gabe Serbian — who’d recently relocated back to San Diego — appeared in the Asia Argento film Incompresa, which included an onscreen role for fellow Locust Justin Pearson, who joined with Three One G labelmate Luke Henshaw to contribute to the film’s soundtrack. The following year, Serbian and Pearson debuted a new band with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, Dead Cross, with Michael Crain on guitar.

The first Locust gig in four years took place at the October 2019 Desert Daze Festival. They also announced plans to debut new costumes and their first new music since 2007, releasing a typically bizarre video for their track “Recyclable Body Fluids In Human Form.” The Locust’s December 8 House of Blues gig will include fellow hometown heroes Sonido De La Frontera, whose album Sonidero Guerrilleros was released digitally in September via Three One G Records, preceded by a single for “Somos Sonideros.”

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Bug to the future: The Locust’s 21st-century insect costumes.
Bug to the future: The Locust’s 21st-century insect costumes.

“I just want to change the way people look at music, or maybe just destroy it in general.” That’s The Locust singer Justin Pearson, who also heads up the band’s record label Three One G. The celebrated noise rockers are unpacking their hardly-used 21st century insect costumes for a short California tour that kicks off December 7 in Santa Ana and runs through a December 11 date in Fresno, including a December 8 appearance at downtown’s House of Blues.

The Locust and Sonido De La Frontera

  • Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
  • House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Since 2002, the insectoid stage outfits worn by the Locust have been created by fashion designer Ben Warwas. “The first outfits I did were green, with masks that had mesh over the eyes” he says. “For a while, the eye coverings were white, but they discovered that stage lights would completely blind them, so I made the eyes black. The second set I did was green and red, then I did some white ones, a grey set, and the ones they wear now are aqua and fake fur.”

Warwas says the band occasionally commissions emergency replacements. “A few masks have been stolen at shows. Now I make two sets of each outfit, so they can have a spare if something happens, or if the clothes get too stinky...it gets really hot inside them. They also travel with the previous outfits, in case anything happens.”

For a while, even Robin, the woman working the merch booth, wore the same bug costume as the band. “I received mixed reactions nightly, some more amusing than others,” she told the Reader via email. “I quickly got initiated to a small dose of some of the shit they’ve dealt with throughout the years. In Budapest, a city I wouldn’t describe as sober, a guy grabbed my boobs to make sure I was a girl. There were nights in Europe when the guys were concerned for my safety.”

After their 2007 New Erections full-length, The Locust essentially went on hiatus. Guitarist-drummer Gabe Serbian co-founded a new band in 2009, Rats Eyes, with John Cota (formerly of Hostile Comb-Over), Jason Blackmore (Sirhan Sirhan), and James Armbrust (formerly of Louis XIV). Then 2012 saw the release of Molecular Genetics from the Gold Standard Labs, a 44-track Locust compilation from Anti Records (sister imprint to the band’s one-time label Epitaph Records). Early the following year, having been inactive for nearly five years, they reunited to play I’ll Be Your Mirror, a London music fest headlined by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Grizzly Bear.

In 2014, Gabe Serbian — who’d recently relocated back to San Diego — appeared in the Asia Argento film Incompresa, which included an onscreen role for fellow Locust Justin Pearson, who joined with Three One G labelmate Luke Henshaw to contribute to the film’s soundtrack. The following year, Serbian and Pearson debuted a new band with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, Dead Cross, with Michael Crain on guitar.

The first Locust gig in four years took place at the October 2019 Desert Daze Festival. They also announced plans to debut new costumes and their first new music since 2007, releasing a typically bizarre video for their track “Recyclable Body Fluids In Human Form.” The Locust’s December 8 House of Blues gig will include fellow hometown heroes Sonido De La Frontera, whose album Sonidero Guerrilleros was released digitally in September via Three One G Records, preceded by a single for “Somos Sonideros.”

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