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Pop Music Review

Alan McGee's Radio 4 Gypsy Club a Mixed Bag, With Mixed Results

April 02, 2001|NATALIE NICHOLS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A line of hipsters snaked away from the Knitting Factory on Saturday, and curious moviegoers heading to the theater above the Hollywood nightclub wanted to know who was performing. They all shrugged when told, "It's Alan McGee of Creation Records fame, come all the way from the U.K. to spin some cool tunes and host some cool bands at his new traveling club, Radio 4."

But most of the assorted Brit-philes and other veteran scenesters in line knew that the indie label McGee founded brought us such modern-day rock heroes as Oasis, Primal Scream, and Teenage Fanclub. Naturally, anticipation was high for McGee's local debut of Radio 4, which the Knit plans to present monthly through October.

McGee's club has found success in London with a mix of live music and DJ sets by him and special guests. Saturday's program continued that format, with Charlatans UK singer Tim Burgess among those appearing at the DJ console overlooking the packed main room. It wasn't a bad start, but the momentum was a bit sporadic.

*

Sounds ranged from Rod Stewart to '70s R&B act 100 Proof Aged in Soul to such Creation-associated groups as Live. The special musical guest turned out to be, not members of Primal Scream as rumored, but a brief power-pop set by "what's left of Gay Dad," as singer-guitarist Cliff Jones put it.

A typically fine psychedelic folk-rock performance by Echo Park's Beachwood Sparks gave way to McGee's eclectic hour-plus of spinning. Too bad the crowd had thinned considerably. Still, several dozen dancers gyrated enthusiastically to Neneh Cherry's classic "Buffalo Stance," Madonna, OutKast and snippets of hip-hop, before McGee unexpectedly entered '80s high-school dance territory with AC/DC, Joan Jett, ZZ Top and Led Zeppelin, further clearing the room.

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