In the perfect world of my head, the Henry Fonda Theater would now be the Peter Fonda Theater, and Ian Svenonius bands would open for the Mummies and Mudhoney while Jennifer Herrema swung from a chandelier and the cast of Psychomania drove bikes up and down the aisles. Instead, Hollywood fucks flattened its acoustically vibrant interior and replaced its comfy seats with a nasty boxy floor that makes every band sound like Robert Palmer in a racquetball court.
That’s a damned shame, because the New York Dolls could have sounded fantastic on Thursday night. Sure, the dead band members outnumber the living ones at this point, and David Johansen seemed more than a little tired, and Sylvain Sylvain has nearly morphed into a combination of Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. But to their everlasting artistic credit, they insisted on playing half a set of newish material, and that new material was 100% damned good. A few songs sounded a bit like the sweet street-tough material from David Johansen’s solo career, but even tighter and poppier, a little more Lou Reed than Shadow Morton. And they even made sure to evoke their dead brethren by opening “Lonely Planet Boy” with a full chorus of Johnny Thunders’ “Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory.”
However, nothing can replace the gaping hole in personality that was Arthur “Killer” Kane, and it may be his absence combined with economic woes that caused a little bit of a gap in attendance. Still, there was a sprinkling of young drunk glammers, and members of the Leaving Trains, and a liberty spike pompadour on one not-quite-young tough standing front and center, and more than a few young girls accompanied by what I hope were fathers and not sugar daddies. I even saw a few members of Mr. Show, and was finally able to settle an L.A. RECORD score started by Jay Johnston at the Gold Room last year. Take that, Jill Talley!