On Thursday night, September 22nd at the Roxy, charismatic swagger was welcomed back to Rock & Roll and the infamous Sunset Strip by Aussie native Andy Clockwise who mugged for the press photographers, danced dirty with his audience and reminded all of us just what good rock and roll is supposed to do: help us forget ourselves, and maybe also make us feel just a little too powerful and/or sexy for our own good.
What this reporter loves about Andy’s live set is not his music, which stands out against the sonic-scape that is the LA music scene as nothing short of sublime genius nor his epically skilled band (the drummer, Jamie Douglass, deserves massive props and a generous bonus for his energetic performance from the word go, and don’t even get us started on the bassist, Josh Norton’s understated but emphatic delivery) nor even his ability to successfully demand engagement from his audience, which is stupefying here in the land of the LA arm-fold. What this reporter, your girl in music, loves about Andy’s live set is Andy himself. Early in Thursday night’s set, as Andy stared me down, his nose about 1 centimeter from my own, it occurred to your girl in music that she probably was getting from that show exactly what audiences took away from the early DOORS gigs at the Whiskey A-Go-Go down the street, some 40 years ago which propelled the band to super-stardom. Indeed the energy buzzing about the Roxy was electric, both audibly and visibly. At this point, I’d normally run through the song by song breakdown of the set, but I feel a responsibility to avoid that this time, for reasons I hope are evident in the next paragraph. Suffice it to say that Andy Clockwise is Rock & Roll’s Golden God, period. The nice thing is, I sense a bit more purposeful showmanship and maturity in Andy than I suspect Jim Morrison could ever have been accused of, and am confident that he can be relied upon to stay with us for a long time to come, so we need not harbor any reservations about investing fully in his genius.
All in, the gig is destined to find its place among the many mythic concerts in the tapestry of music history. It is one of those nights that music lore is made of and, as early as a month or two from now, all Angeleno’s will become what I call phantom attendees, where – like Nirvana’s NYC gig just before Nevermind took off – far more people claim to have been part of the intimate crowd than the room could ever hold, let alone were actually there. I’ve been waiting to say that about a show since I started working in live music over 3 years ago. For those of us who were there, we’ll know each other by the exhilarated energy that no doubt will spark at any mention of the night, memories of stolen hats, crouching on the Roxy’s floor, losing it on command, “Don’t worry, you still look cool,” and finally Andy’s approval (“I knew I liked you guys.”) rushing back to be relived for another brief but glorious moment. Its something that words could never do justice to, that the best poser could never fake for anyone who was present, and something that one must live through to recognize as truth in another. We were there, but we don’t blame you for pretending you were too.