Hey, dude. You party? On May 10, the notoriously bloody-nosed and Hessian-headed rocker Andrew W.K. brings his brand of incalculably ironic punk/pop/metal to 32 Bleu. Pretty much everything you need to know about Andrew is that the word "party" is used 13 times on the entrance page to his Web site, the tour he's currently on is called "Never-Ending Spring Break Party," and he writes to a fan, "We will party hard and never let down." This is either the marketing division at the Corona corporation foisting its product upon an unsuspecting populace or the most brilliant idea ever, because hey, everybody likes to party.
We, as music fans, have already tolerated a decade and a half of self-conscious rock music: the grunge contingent put the Carole King back in rock with introspective themes backed by heavy music. This has since evolved into cloying adolescent self-pity in n-metal and mall-punk. Andrew W.K. (whose last name/initials have been reported to stand for everything from White Killer to the more probable Wilkes-Krier) exists to reclaim mindlessness in popular rock music with a blend of Detroit anthem rock, punk, metal and dance music that is a breath of fresh, stupid air.
So dumb it's smart, or simply so dumb? With album titles like Party Til You Puke, Girls Own Juice, Party Hard and I Get Wet, W.K. flirts with a gratuitous rock 'n' roll mentality in a way that seems too erudite and tongue-in-cheek to be taken entirely at face value. Back this with heavy guitar-based rock that at times smacks of AC/DC, the MC5, the Stooges, Guns n' Roses and Led Zeppelin and you have a barrage of decadence that is both lampoon and veneration of the rock lifestyle. There's a reason bands like Junior-Senior and the Darkness are enjoying a certain amount of success: fans are flocking back to vapidity, or at least a simulated and ironic version of it, because after 15 years of Limp Bizkit, Pearl Jam, Sarah McLachlan, Dashboard Confessional and the like, they want to have fun again.
And, oh, Andrew will provide. Touring on his newest release, The Wolf, the Detroit-bred and (surprisingly) classically trained rocker is also anticipating the May 22 debut of his own show on MTV2, Your Friend Andrew W.K. One can expect partying, it's safe to assume. (This is the same guy, you may remember, whose cameo in Jackass: The Movie was primarily marked with couch-throwing and yelling.)
Joining Andrew W.K. will be the Locust, a San Diego-based grind/hard-core/art-punk outfit whose sneering, insect-costumed stage show is not to be missed. Their newest effort, the much-ballyhooed semi-major-label release Plague Soundscapes, is both a departure from and pinnacle of the admittedly niche genre they inhabit.
Also on the bill are pop-punkers No Motiv and metalheads Fireball Ministry, both touring bands who will be accompanying W.K. for a few dates of his current tour.
So, you can either stay home and mope with your Cure B-sides or put on your rock face, drop your indie-rock inhibitions and freakin' party. It's your call, kiddo, but I promise that no one will be whipping their shoulder-length hair and inciting a mosh pit in your living room.
-- Aaron Retka
Andrew W.K. with the Locust, No Motiv and Fireball Ministry
32 Bleu, 32 S. Tejon St.
Monday, May 10 at 9 p.m.
$15; 955-5664 or www.32bleu.com