Thursday, November 20, 2014

AntiCurrent Archive Vol 10: Jesse Wagner: Live and Uncut Acoustic

This is the tenth edition of the " Archives", a collection of rare bootleg-albums I'm releasing through this blog. Click here to view all past Archive Albums.

The Aggrolites (2012)
On April 14th, 2007 I attended a small venue in Downtown-Fullerton called The Alley where I saw a band that blew my mind. After a few amazing songs they started into one of their hits, but stopped it 10 seconds in. Then they started into another of their well-known songs, and stopped again 10 seconds in. They repeated this six more times, teasing the audience with one of their favorite songs, then ripping it away and laughing. It was the most amazing musicianship I've ever seen on a stage, the ability to stop and start on a dime like that before blazing into a song is something I’m never likely to see again. That band? The Aggrolites.

It is for this reason why I always insist that The Aggrolites are the best live band in Los Angeles. The band’s self-described style is “dirty reggae” but is akin to the Ska and Rocksteady sounds of Jamaica in the 60’s. (Not familiar with pre-Specials ska? Well I wasn't either but the band happens to be super nice guys as well. I once reached out to their now-former guitar player Brian Dixon about their influences and he offered me a plethora of Trojan Reggae Comps to check out.) There's not enough bands around anymore that transcend the musical scene of their day. The Aggrolites are truly one of those rare bands like The Pogues that can make old songs sound new and new songs sound old.

Bar One Flyer
Flash forward to February 2014, I read that Jesse Wagner (lead singer of The Aggrolites) was going to do a solo acoustic show with none other than Vic Ruggerio (lead singer of The Slackers) at Bar One, right down the street from my house. It was two guys, with two guitars at the top of their game playing in one over-sold little bar, and my wife and I were directly in front to watch. So of course, with booze in hand, we marveled over how fucking cool it would be if we could get them to play our wedding in July. We spoke to Jesse about it, and unfortunately Vic was not going to be in LA at the time, but I added Jesse on Facebook and he told me to contact him closer to the date to see if he would be in town. We did, and he agreed to play our wedding reception.

Now, the benefit of being “in the industry” is always having hands on deck to film important things at the drop of a hat. Enter my buddies Andrew Heaberlin and Matt Rowbottom. On the day of I had Andrew shoot a two camera setup of Jesse’s set and had Matt record the line-out from the mixing board, the result of which I edited into an amazing live acoustic concert that I posted on YouTube. However, the completest collector in me wasn't satisfied simply having video documentation of the show, I also wanted to have an album copy of it, hence this edition of Archives.

Front Cover
Jesse arrived at the show with a list of potential songs that he prepared and had rehearsed to play acoustic. Of course by this point I was hammered and was unable to read without an amount of concentration I was NOT prepared to expend, so I told him to play whatever he felt comfortable with…. and then during the course of the show drunkenly yelled out the songs I wanted to hear. This of course means that he hadn't had a chance to practice some of the acoustic versions of the songs here, but it speaks volumes as to his kindness and his musicianship that he not only attempted every song we requested, he knocked them out of the fucking park.

BAck Cover
Back Cover

A few gems on here for me are “Faster Bullet” (my wife and I’s shared favorite song as it reminds me of her, and quite arrogantly, her of herself ;-) and “White Man In Hammersmith Palais”.  Honestly, in all the bands that have ever covered the Punk Rock Warlords that were The Clash, this is my favorite cover of one of their songs I've ever heard. Be sure to watch the song on the video and see my drunken friends attempting to “dance” to it.

If you ever have a chance, please, please go and see The Aggrolites. They are honestly one of the few bands that can cross all race, creed, and age gaps. As always, this is a free download, but it is not meant to contend with any actual, purchasable album out there so if you dig this, go out and buy something from the band or the man himself. Trust me, you will not regret it as they have yet to put out a less than stellar record.

Download The Entire Album and Cover Art Here:
MP3 Zip Archive

The tracklist is:
01: Faster Bullet
02: Tear That Falls
03: True Love
04: Dream Came True
05: Willow Tree
06: White Man in Hammersmith Palais
07: Don't Let ME Down
08: Free Time
09: Mr Misery
10: Red Wine
11: 54-46 Was My Number