NIKKI SUDDEN with the WARLOCKS and LINDY at the El Mocambo, April 3. Tickets: $9. Attendance: 62. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
just what you'd expect to hear
from a band calling themselves the Warlocks -- a name previously discarded by both Lou Reed and Jerry Garcia -- these Los Angeles mooks want to meld the Velvet Underground sound with that of the Grateful Dead.
They've ambitiously employed two drummers working in tandem on full kits, and even got their merch person to stand in as their tambourine-tapping Nico to complete the look.
However, in trying to synthesize the best bits of the Velvets and the Dead, the Warlocks wound up with the worst. The world isn't really waiting for morose drones that chug along indefinitely.
Swell Maps survivor Nikki Sudden had a role-playing charade of his own going on, only he couldn't decide whether to be Johnny Thunders or Keith Richards.
Decked out in an oversized salmon-coloured suit that looked like Ike Turner's pyjamas, Sudden was strapped with a copy of Thunders' yellow Les Paul "TV," but his elbow-raising string tickle and crouch-'n'-shuffle choreography was all Richards, right down to the cigarette dangle.
Maybe it had something to do with the venue (the Rolling Stones recorded part of Love You Live at the El Mocambo, as Sudden pointed out) or the Stones book Sudden has been working on for the past five years, but the whole Keef pose became a comical distraction.
Funny as it was, Sudden doesn't need to ride on anyone else's embroidered coattails. He's got his own rakishly romantic junk-rock sound and, as the boxes of Jacobites and solo CDs for sale indicated, plenty of great original material to carry an hour-long Nikki Sudden show.
The encore cover of the Stones' Respectable, dedicated to "Pierre, Margaret, the RCMP and Mick, who nearly brought down the Canadian government single-handedly" was a nice touch, although it would've been better to hear a little more of Sudden at his first, and perhaps last, Toronto appearance.