Sat May 22
26 SW Washington
Johnny Shitake is a fucker--a leather-panted, dolled-up, makeup-wearing, shit-talking, stripper-chasing, fight-starting, self-mythologizing, 5'3" tall fucker. He is also a genius. As lead singer of Lovely, Portland's most spectacular and ridiculous glam-cock-diva-hard rock band, he howls occasionally factual tales of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, at once aware of and consumed by his meticulously fabricated rock star persona. He is Hedwig, and he is Axl, with an unparalleled array of catwalk struts, arrogant poses, and libidinous gyrations that would even seem grandiose in an arena full of Lovely devotees. But Lovely performs regularly at some of the less glamorous dives around town, so these stadium-styled antics are even more uproarious.
This might be a pleasant spectacle of costume rock, suitable for theme nights at bars and the occasional house party. But Lovely, the band, executes its rock fantasy with musical skill that brings to mind the thick, sexy grooves of T.Rex and the fury of classic Guns 'n' Roses. Guitarist John Guffy seems to have the entire hard-rock canon at his fingertips, playing with the same technical skill of that douchebag at Guitar Center with the ponytail. But his songs are crafted mean, dirty, and flat-out hard.
Perhaps Lovely's greatest asset, though, is their ability to transcend the standard audience of hard rock/metal. Though they haven't yet softened their sound with power ballads, or branched out into more pop-metal territory, thanks to Shitake's charisma, the band appeals to a diverse fan base that extends well beyond the expected "Lemmy for Prez" crowd. Lovely's self-releasing their debut EP The Cock Rock, Electric Shock of... Lovely. While these recordings are certainly well done, to fully appreciate Lovely is to see them live. In an era when The Darkness bring unabashed state-fair-quality nostalgia rock to the Urban Outfitter demographic, surely the uncompromising sound of Lovely will be well received.