Saturday Night Special
In a surprisingly sincere comeback bid, the Plimsouls, L.A.'s early '80s suitors to the power-pop throne, played the second of two shows last Saturday at Bottom of the Hill. At the outset, bearded frontman Peter Case sailed into “How Long Will It Take?” in a fitful commentary on the Icarus-like ascendancy of his band's first go-round. “Lie, Beg, Borrow and Steal,” from the Plimsouls' lone recording (1983's Everywhere at Once), gave new drummer Clem Burke (formerly of Blondie) a platform from which to launch his stylish, high-reaching big beat. That song stole the show, but the balding, sportcoat-suited club, er, “kids” in attendance dutifully hooted for “A Million Miles Away” (of the Valley Girl soundtrack fame). Then Case introduced several new songs written “last week”; “Actually, I didn't write it, I just made it up,” he said of one number, showing off the ease with which this corps of gigging veterans has resurrected its act. At one point, Burke took a good-natured potshot at Case's solo career: “We could sit here and quote Dylan for two hours,” he needled. As for other quotes, Case gave a raspy-voiced rendition of “Hanging on the Telephone.” Apparently, fans at the packed Friday-night show hollered incessantly for Blondie songs. Imagine that.

Meanwhile, in other comeback news, Maureen McCormick — aka Marcia Brady — wowed Bunch devotees at the Powell Street Wherehouse on Saturday afternoon, where she shilled her new country album (don't ask). Not that Samples saw her. Samples' other correspondent (me!) managed to miss every event she had planned her humble life around, which included begrudgingly giving up a promised Green Day ticket so an amigo could bond with his new boyfriend as openers Pansy Division rocked the Henry J. Kaiser Auditorium Saturday eve. Ironic, seeing as a bunch of homophobic yahoos reportedly crawled out of the Bay Area's queer-friendly woodwork to harangue our Nine Inch Males. Thankfully, Pansy Division and Green Day both managed to cut them down to size. That same night, at the Kilowatt, Tarnation impressively opened a sold-out show for Japan's Angel'in Heavy Syrup, but the Angels' lovely dream-rock strains (and the sweaty heat) caused a companion to swoon — literally. We left before she hit the floor. So a copy-desperate Samples forced herself out of a sickbed Monday night for George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars, who put on quite a party at Bimbo's: Over 20 costumed musicians onstage … Dr. Funkenstein promising to “lick your funky emotions” … interstellar guitar jams … lots of white guys dancing. Great fun until an apparent Kaiser refugee grabbed Samples' left one and said, “You look how I feel.” Sexist?

By James Sullivan, Sia Michel

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