I am a huge T. Rex fan. I didn’t discover them until about 7 years ago, which I think made me an even bigger fan because I couldn’t believe I had missed out on such great music for most of my life.
Glam rock is the term thrown around the most — thanks to singer Marc Bolan’s wild outfits and penchance for boas and glitter — but, to me, it’s just straight ahead sexy rock and roll.
When the opportunity came for KCRW to do something to honor the band’s legacy, I was thrilled. And this Saturday it all came to life in one epic event at the Annenberg Space for Photography – on the exact date that T. Rex’s seminal album “The Slider” came out 40 years ago.
Bolan’s genius clearly made its mark on Portland (via Alaska) band Portugal. The Man. You can hear it all over their latest album and, at the show on Saturday, singer John Gourley seemed to be channeling the famed frontman in the best of ways. My first reflection upon seeing them playing for the capacity crowd was that this band was MADE to play for thousands of people.
They simply owned it up there, playing a set of favorites from their own catalogue (“All Your Light”, “Got it All”, “People Say”, “So American”), the Beatles (“Helter Skelter” and a “Hey Jude” sing-a-long to end the show) and, of course, T. Rex (“Children of the Revolution”, “The Slider”).
The show also functioned as the CD release party for our “T. Rex vs KCRW Soundclash” remix EP. It’s not available anywhere else at the moment so there was a rush to get the 500 copies we gave away, with folks lined up outside the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit as soon as doors opened to grab one.
KCRW’s Gary Calamar and Dan Wilcox, who both did remixes for the album, and kicked off the evening’s festivities with DJ sets.
Bringing the full rock experience into this unusual venue really made the evening special. Set in a grassy park beneath towering buildings in an area of Century City that is mostly deserted on weekends (save for the Annenberg Space), it had an almost mystical feeling to it under the cool summer air. I think Marc would have appreciated it.