Lion Fever
Thurs, July 7
1 SW 3rd

My god, the delusions you people come up with: Poor Lion Fever had a girl singer with some grit in her throat and they used a wah pedal on like two songs, so all that critics seemed to hear was a certain dirtbag trio from the '60s and a certain diva from the '70s. Blue Cher, basically. Which is an insane miscalculation: What we really have here is Patti Smith fronting three Nick Caves, which incidentally is just one Patti Smith away from being Nick Cave's favorite band. For a band that lived in Portland when they released 2003's Lustre, Lion Fever's debut EP had a disorienting Los Angeles sound. Exene on top of Gun Club guitar, mostly, which fed an all-round lack of focus. And that made record reviewers offer a lot of nasty advice about the band. ("The bottom line--and this is truly the very bottom--is that no one needs to waste their time listening to Lion Fever.")

After Lustre, Lion singer/guitarist Jennifer Pearl dumped everything that wouldn't fit into a hatchback--the original Lion Fever roster, mostly--and relocated to L.A., possibly to catch up to the sound her songs already halfway had. They say the Southern California sun does you good--Pearl's Lion Fever yawned back alive with a whole new outlook and a whole new (four-piece) lineup, too. Now they're chasing Horses on their upcoming full-length Haunted Water (Dim Mak/Sweet Nothing), with Patti piano parts to break up their Birthday Party. Incidentally, John Cale found the same promising results when he forced his piano on the savage young Stooges, whose loose bad-news blues bounce around still in Lion Fever songs like "Crowd Pleaser." But don't get distracted. Really, Patti sings and plays guitar and Nick does the rest. And it turns out that he's actually a very solid drummer. So the Blue Cheer part could be right--but seriously, there's no way Cher could handle something this heavy.