Isn’t it enough to have caught Drive Like Jehu’s reunion show at Balboa Park last year and then get tickets to their Coachella warmup show at the Glasshouse? Yeah, that’s pretty rad but if I’m driving all the way out to Pomona, there are other places I want to go that are nearby.
First stop, Covina Tasty. In case you missed the story I wrote for Giant Robot 65, owner Mark Tsai was running a Tastee Freez and then went rogue and began swapping out all the meat with vegetarian substitutes. Punk rock! The restaurant chain eventually got wind of it and cut him off, but he was such a good seller of frozen treats that they reopened that part of his account. To this day, Mark uses the wildly popular dessert sales to supplement his passion, the vegetarian restaurant side. “I sell happiness and healthiness,” he says.
I was really happy to see Mark behind the counter, and was surprised that he remembers me. I got a banana shake (not vegan) and veggie corn dog (his own creation). What awesome food and what an awesome story. And you should see the signs, murals, and serious paintings around the stand. He’s a fine artist as well as a vegetarian activist!
My wife and I could hear the first openers starting their set when we walked up to the venue and emptied our pockets for security. Wendy had to throw away some nice pens, which are contraband at the club, and I accidentally dropped a mustard packet from Covina Tasty on the floor. The bouncer said, “Whoa! Don’t lose the most important thing!” I’m pretty sure he thought it was a condom.
But back to the bands. The Schitzophonics are a killer live band–on the edge of disaster and giving black eyes to themselves during their super-catchy, garage-rocking sets. Somehow, they emerged unscathed and so did we. Mrs. Magician played the middle set and what great songs they have, balancing the literacy of Elvis Costello and catchy garage rock of The Hangmen.
Drive Like Jehu played a much longer, noisier, and tighter set than they did at their comeback show last summer. Technically it was a way better show but there’s still something about that other show that was more of an event… It was free and full of families and kids, and did I mention a pipe organ? This show replaced all that with chops. They sounded excellent and Rob Crow returned for “Luau.” I think he wore the same suit as he did at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
It’s crazy how the current Drive Like Jehu shows are so much bigger than the venues where I originally saw Drive Like Jehu play back in the ’90s: the old Casbah, the Women’s Club, the Cooperage at UCLA… But they sound amazing and are still ahead of their time and deserve all the crowds they can get–especially at Coachella. And how many old friends have we seen at these Jehu gigs?
Afterward, my wife made a slight detour through Glendora. Funny, the last time I went to Donut Man was after the Descendents and OFF! doubleheader at the Fox. A perfect post-show destination because it’s open 24 hours, but any day is a good day to visit when it’s Strawberry Donut Season. The treats are droolworthy and rightfully famous in foodie circles. Too bad the Donut Man himself, Jim is only there in the mornings. What a cool dude.