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Pop Music Reviews : West Hollywood Street Scene A Tuneful Feast

October 19, 1987|JOHN VOLAND

What in the world . . . was this electric smorgasbord splayed out on Santa Monica Boulevard Saturday night? A Creedence-looking quartet of retro-'60s rockers named Divine Weeks whose gear didn't work most of the time, playing cheek by jowl with those quintessentially eerie locals Wall of Voodoo? All this and big-band jazz, techno-funk, nortenos , '50s camp outre and hard-core country to boot?

It was called the West Hollywood Street Festival and, as far as music was concerned, it was a great street-feed. The wide array of booty available in the food (and jewelry, and home decoration) stalls reflected the kind of diverse tunefulness heard on the boulevard. The two-day festival was, as most street things are, a matter of quantity over quality.

Yet--like the eats--some quality was evident, too. Wall of Voodoo contributed 45 minutes of its signature schizoid jungle fare on the eastern (Crescent Heights Boulevard) stage, more propelled by humans than in the past.

Ace the rhythm box was well down in the mix, allowing drummer Ned Leukhardt and keyboardist Bruce Moreland to juice things up nicely. And singer Andy Prieboy sang "The Grass is Greener" while wearing a Ronald Reagan mask, no doubt previewing his Halloween look.

Over on the western (La Cienega Boulevard) platform, the Perines--a coy vocal trio with a rhythm quartet backing them--plowed through several tunes strongly perfumed with sachet and done up in sequins.

Without solid vocal harmonies and an enthusiastic audience, tunes like this would go plop, but the Santa Monica Boulevard irregulars lapped up the campy stuff, and the two women-one man trio gave them some more.

F.L.O.S. rehashed classic '60s AM radio soul after the Perines were done with the western stage, but the aural segue from F.L.O.S. to the pulsating deejayed muck in the dance-music tent was a disorienting one. That didn't stop dozens of West Hollywood denizens from shakin' it with gusto, however.

Earlier in the day (music began around 1 p.m. on both main stages), the festival had played host to the Dixie Belles, Shiva Burlesque, Babooshka, Huayucaltia, the Flips, Whirling Dervish, Lock Up, Lana Wilson, Tanya Anderson, American Patrol, Lucinda Williams and Jack Mack & the Heart Attack. It was non-stop music, but it certainly didn't seem like wallpaper. Street-paper, perhaps.

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